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Review: Dark of Night – Flesh and Fire

Dark of Night - Flesh and Fire
Dark of Night – Flesh and Fire by Jonathan Maberry narrated by Ray Porter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*I received a free copy of this audio book for review via AudiobookJukebox.com*

I cannot get enough Jonathan Maberry, so you could imagine my enthusiasm when I found out about this book. It takes three of Jonathan’s worlds and melds them together. Joe Ledger, from his bestselling thrillers, meets Des Fox of the Dead of Night series. That series leads into his run of hit Post-Apocalyptic zombie tales, Rot & Ruin. Rachael Lavin makes her debut as well laying out the adventure of Rachael; a cosplayer who, out of necessity due to the new world in which they now live, turned real life superhero. Having read virtually all of the books from those three series, save maybe a novella or two, I put this at the very tip top of the queue. I also was very excited to see how well Jonathan and Rachael work together. I have very high hopes as Jonathan Maberry is a proven editor, and exceptional one. These ingredients mixed with Ray Porter performing is a recipe for a hit.

The story starts off six months after the events of Fall of Night. Des Fox sets off in hopes of finding somewhere more secure for her people and ends up running into some major trouble, Joe and his dog are doing their best to save a girl from some thugs and ends up running into a situation he may have been better off avoiding, and Rachael sets off to find more survivors to bring back to her base and ends up coming across something only a hero can handle. In a world where the word “safe” has almost no meaning, the three take seperate paths as they battle their way through the dead and the living culminating in a thrilling and intense conclusion fit for a Maberry novel.

Jonathan Maberry’s writing was never in question of course; the man knows how to tell a story and tell it extremely well. Not to mention the fact he can write a very intense and completely enthralling fight scene. Rachael Lavin’s debut was a home run in my opinion. She has a very similar style of writing to Maberry, probably due in part to her time in his writing program, Writing for Teens. That said, she absolutely has a voice all her own and she knows how to use it. She channels her inner hero, intertwines it with her apparent love of comics, through her writing and delivers an enthralling tale. For any that may be concerned with jumping into this book without having previously read any of his other work, do not be deterred. The author does a great job of including backstory and easter eggs for his characters through very well done dialogue. Dialogue delivered with precision by Ray Porter.

Ray Porter is without a doubt my favorite narrator. Every book is a stellar performance. Despite the fact that he reads his books cold (he does no prereading, just jumps in), or maybe because of it, he reads with passion and precision, and speaks as if he knew the characters personally. Very few writer/reader combos can compete with Maberry and Porter; I’m convinced Ray is in fact Jonathan’s “writing voice” come to life. The fact that Rachael Lavin has such a similar writing style to her predecessor made for a seamless and stellar narration of all points of view in the novel. For fans of Jonathan Maberry and/or Ray Porter this audio book is an absolute must have. It brings the authors world together in epic fashion and explores new facets of the characters. It’s an outstanding debut for Lavin and a collision of awesome for Maberry.

More by the narrator    More by the author

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Review: The Strain

The Strain
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

This book has been on my short list for quite some time. It kept getting moved back for no reason in particular. Other things I was more excited about took precedence. Beyond the fact there are vampires and it is now a TV series, I didn’t know much about this book. I enjoy a well imagined vampire, so I jumped in with hopes high.

An international flight landed at JFK and, before pulling up to the gate, goes completely dark and stops moving. After repeated attempts the contact the pilot, they finally manage to make their way onto the dark, ominous plane. Upon entering, they discover it to be full of bodies. There was no sign of a struggle and all the victims seemed completely drained of blood. Officials quickly contact the Center for Disease Control in hopes to discover and, if need be, contain whatever caused the deaths. Dr. Eph Goodweather of the CDC Canary Team, soon discovers the terrifying truth of what they face. Vampires are real, and they are ruthless.

This story is a slow burn. It starts off with some excitement then quickly slows to a snail’s pace. I understand that there is almost always a lull at the beginning of a story, events and characters needs explained and introduced. However, this was hard to stick with in the beginning and it’s not until a little over halfway through that it really started to get exciting. Once events really start to unravel, it more than makes up for the slow start. The liberties the authors take on their view of vampires is pretty cool and a little different. I will say, these are vampires I wouldn’t want to meet.

I really like Ron Perlman, he is Hellboy after all. That being said, I did not care for his narration as a whole. He has a great voice that fits the narrative perfectly, and he reads smoothly and is easy to understand. His dialogue however is a different story entirely. While he did a great job with the Romanian vampire hunter and Eph, most of the characters sounded the same. I often found it hard to distinguish between his readings of male and female characters. There were numerous occasions I found myself thinking one character was talking, when in reality it was a completely different character.

All said, I enjoyed this book and plan to read the next one. If you like vampires, read this story. There is plenty of blood-draining deliciousness to sate your appetite.

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Review: The Godling Chronicle : The Sword of Truth

The Godling Chronicle : The Sword of Truth
The Godling Chronicle : The Sword of Truth

by Brian D. Anderson

Read by Derek Perkins

Gewey has always been a God, only he didn’t know it. Found by Lee Starfinder, who is a half-god, when Gewey was only infant; He was raised as a man by a simple farmer. An ominous Enemy known as the Dark Knight has stolen the Sword of Truth, thus putting the world in danger and the young God is the key to victory. Though it’s a fairly unoriginal story, it’s engaging and the storytelling is very good. I really enjoyed the story and where it was going. It’s sort of a blend between Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth, and the Hercules mythos.

I’m a fan of Derek Perkins, the performer for this novel. I’ve enjoyed all the works I heard by him, his voice fits the genre very well. There’s never any echoes or background noise, and he very well spoken and easy to understand. Look very much forward to hearing more from the man.

It’s a shame book 2 isn’t included in Amazon Unlimited or their Whispersync service, if it were, I would go on to book 2. However, the ubrupt ending, or lack thereof, ruined what was a great book. I am an avid believer that every book should have a complete story and conclusion. This book left a brutal cliffhanger, leaving me with no satisfaction or closure whatsoever.

I will note, they now have an Omnibus edition on Audible that includes books 1-3 that may be of better value, and with less open ended frustration. If you are a fan of Fantasy, I say grab it if only for Perkins’ performance.

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The Fold – Another enthralling tale by Peter Clines

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Meet Lelan “Mike” Erikson, a brilliant man with an eidetic memory who has dedicated his life to teaching high school literature. This may seem odd for a man with Mike’s gifts, but he just wants a normal life. His normal life was going pretty well, too, despite his best friend continuously trying to recruit him to DARPA. Until the day came that Reggie Magnus, the aforementioned best friend and big wig at DARPA, offered him a job on a secret project to which he could not say no.

Enter the Albuquerque Door, the secret project that is up for a renewal of funds from DARPA. It is Mike’s job to ensure Reggie the door works and is worthy of all the financing. The Albuquerque Door project uses a homemade supercomputer to run equations that opens a “fold” in dimensions, which they are using to travel instantly from one point to another. Mike was awestruck by the things he saw in his short time with the project, and everything seemed to be working as advertised, though he did suspect the group did not actually understand how it worked. Then the day came when one of the members of the team took his 85th trip through the gate. Upon stepping through the “exit”, something went terribly wrong; he was deformed and in pain, had a recent stab wound in his side, and had injuries a year old that he did not have when he entered the door. They feared the worst. They suspected that instead of you stepping through the door, you actually step into a separate reality and that reality’s you steps out. Rest assured, Mr. Clines explains that in a much more elegant way than me. Things go from bad to worse, and in a hurry. Objects are doubling, the gateway is staying open by itself, green cockroaches with an extra appendage are appearing, and a surprise visit from an old friend the group had thought “lost” forever.

This enthralling tale was made all the more engrossing with Ray Porter’s narration. The man commands attention when he reads, I willingly and gladly give it. He speaks with passion and voice that is second to none. If you haven’t experienced Mr. Porter’s exceptional skills, do yourself a favor… Listen to anything he has done, I promise you won’t be sorry you spent the time.

Between the thrilling storytelling by Peter Clines and exceptional performance by Ray Porter, I couldn’t take the earbuds out! A great audiobook that will be revisited again, at least once. An exciting story with surprising twists and quantum donuts, I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading or listening.

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Review of The Academy by Vincent Trigili

I previously reviewed THE ENEMY OF AN ENEMY, book 1 in the The Lost Tales of Power series for Audiobookreviewer.com. You can find that HERE.

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The Academy by Vincent Trigili, Read by Jack De Golia

As a member of the Imperial Navy stationed on the Dragon Claw, James played a very important role in The  Great War.  Now that he has resigned,  all James has left of that time are the nightmares. With the opening of Grand Master Vydor’s school, the  Academy,  James decides to apply. Despite not liking the odds with several million applying every year  and only one thousand accepting,  he made the cut.  Shortly after arriving,  James was made a leader of his own team of Prospects — the lowest ranking at The Academy — which he took very seriously. Over the following seven years, his team ranked among the top of the class and broke many records. Upon discovering why the school teaches the way they do,  James was quickly promoted to Apprentice Wizard.  As part of the graduation from prospect to student,  all those moving forward are told what their mastery is.  James was a Spell Weaver,  the rarest of the magical focuses. Being the only other Spell Weaver other than Vydor,  he was the next in line to be Grand Master. As such,  he became a huge target for the rival and want to be conquerors,  the Sorcerers. Things escalate quickly for Shadow Weaver,  the name James  takes upon learning his power, and his friends. Patti, also known as Flame, a woman whom James has been in school with for 10 years invited him to visit her planet and meet her parents. It turns out Patti’s mother was under the influence of an evil creature, all to get Shadow Weaver. That’s when everything falls into place and the story really gets rolling. There’s  kidnapping, attacks on planets,  unlikely heroes,  and hooded and mysterious Magi who seem to know  more about the Spell Weaver than he knows about himself, and they seem to have put some major events into motion.

Jack De Golia took the helm as narrator for this story and he did a great job. Again,  I was pleased and impressed at his talent for voices, every single character is easily recognized. His reading of The Academy was more fluid than what  I remember from The Enemy of an Enemy, which was my only complaint about his previous performance. With such an improvement in just one book,  I will definitely be keeping my eye on Jack.

Overall,  I really liked this audio book. While I enjoyed the first book, this one is definitely an improvement in both writing and storytelling, and in the narration. I would also like to add that Mr. Trigili did a great job of mixing the magic of Fantasy and the interplanetary space travel of Sci-Fi together. It never seems out of place when someone is wielding wands in a star ship landing bay, or others are throwing fireballs down hallways. Give this a go, it’s very entertaining and the world being created by Vincent Trigili gets more and more intriguing.

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