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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.

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Review: After The End

After The End
After The End by Melissa Gibbo

Originally posted to Audiobookreviewer.com

I’m a big fan of post-apocalyptic stories, especially those featuring Zombies, and was excited to discover there would also be vampires. Though I had never read any of Melissa Gibbo’s work, nor listened to Piper Lewis’ narration, I was anxious to jump in.
One night while sitting around a fire with some new friends, a stranger approaches Squirrel and her companions with a free meal and an offer. In exchange for food he would help hunt Zombies and protect the group. The catch? The stranger, known as Cal, is a Vampire and blood is the sustenance he requires. Seeing no better option for survival the Nova Nocte is born. Over the course of the following months; the group sets up a base with walls and cabins, meets a new vampire, welcomes in new survivors, and even rid themselves of some.

This was an enjoyable Post-Apocalyptic tale. Though the story doesn’t bring a lot of new ideas, the book was well written, nicely executed, and never felt too tired. The main character was pretty good, though perhaps a little too trusting. However, you can see a change in that character trait over the course of the book, which was a relief to me. I’m also a big fan of Cal, a former member of the Roman Legion turned Vampire. I really hope Melissa Gibbo adds more character to an already intriguing persona.

The audio quality of the book was very good. The narrator, Piper Lewis, who is also new to me, did a pretty good job at telling the story. She was easy to understand, read clearly, and did a decent job of giving the characters individual voices. My only complaint with the narration is the tone of the reader. Her voice was monotonous and she did not display much emotion in her reading. That being said, I would not hesitate to spend a credit on her works.

Overall, a pretty interesting audiobook for anyone who may be a fan of Post-Apocalyptic stories. Good storytelling with an intriguing ending and, from my limited research, a fairly new narrator with plenty of potential to be great.

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Review: The End Has Come and Gone

The End Has Come and Gone
The End Has Come and Gone by Mark Tufo

Orignally posted to Audiobookreviewer.com

I love what Mark Tufo has created with this series. During the fallout of the Zombie Apocalypse, caused by tainted H1N1 vaccinations, Mike Talbot and his family battle against humans, Vampires, and of course Zombies. Despite having made a mortal enemy of an ever powerful vampire named Eliza, Mike fights his way to his family. He makes it but his adopted son Tommy is abducted by Eliza, it turns out they are siblings. His best friend, Paul, and a few others split off to find their own families.

Mike, Justin, Travis, Tracy, and Gary decide to set out and find Tommy. Two days before they leave Mike’s older brother, Ron, shows him a shoe box with some thing his grandparents left them. Included in that shoe box is a mysterious locket with a picture of Eliza. Even though nothing happens when Ron holds, every time Mike touches the locket it feels ice cold and pricks his finger, drawing blood. Where did this locket come from and why did his grandparents have it?

Shortly after heading out from the Talbot household, the group come across a small group of children. After a debate and a heartfelt goodbye, Tracy decides to take the children back to Ron’s house. Along the way, Tracy runs into a some familiar faces and a couple close calls. Meanwhile, Paul and a group of survivors get trapped on the roof of a furniture store surrounded by zombies. Their only hope of rescue was Mike Talbot, who somehow got an odd message to Marta, one of Paul’s group.

Along the way, Team Talbot comes across three more survivors that join their ranks, later regrouping with some people close them. Now back to a full roster, save Tommy, Mike and the others make it the furniture store to learn that Tommy and Eliza are both there. Upon making it to the roof with his friends, Mike Talbot discovers there’s only one way to save everyone’s life. Can he make the sacrifice and save everyone, or was the price too high for even him?

This is by far my favorite ZF story so far. It’s full of twists and surprises, dark humor only friends can share, and a lot of heart. There was plenty of feeling in this story and the narrator made it even more engrossing. Sean Runnette IS Mike Talbot, period. He brings the dialogue to life in such a way that becomes the characters. His reading, mixed with Tufo’s dark yet hilarious interactions and inner monologues, makes you feel like your there with them, part of the family. I often found myself having to pause the book just so I can pay attention to work, or more accurately, stopping work until a climactic scene passes. (Please don’t tell my boss). Completely addictive and engrossing. I’m going back for more.

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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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Review: The Wake of the Dragon: A Steampunk Adventure

The Wake of the Dragon: A Steampunk Adventure
The Wake of the Dragon: A Steampunk Adventure by Jaq D. Hawkins

Originally posted to Audiobookreviewer.com

I have very limited experience with Steampunk books. I’ve only read 2 or 3, one of which I loved, while the others I barely finished. That being said, I really love the concept of steampunk in novels and enjoy it in other mediums, so I keep trying. This book seemed more in the fantasy Genre than the others I had read, which is why I decided to give it a try.
The story opens on an airship with Captain Horatio Bonny behind the wheel. The Pirates had just stolen crate upon crate of opium. Having taken on too much weight, the airship loses altitude and is forced to land on a farm. Promising coin and to take the farmer’s daughter, Anne Bardwell, away from the family, the Pirates leave half their cargo stored in the Mr. Bardwell’s barn.

Meanwhile, Zachary Wyatt arrives at his warehouse to find all of his Opium missing and his night guard unaccounted for. Furious, he sends his Clerk, James Dudley, to investigate the crime in hopes of finding some clues. Along the way he comes across and vagabond named Thomas, with whom he ends up jumping onto an airship and volunteering.

This is pretty fun book with multiple points of view. It starts off a little slow but it picks up pretty quick. The story is a little hard to follow, via audio at least, as there are times when it jumps from one character to another, without pause or warning, and it takes a minute to get acclimated. That being said, Ms. Hawkins puts together a entertaining tale of piracy, deceit, greed, and even a little self discovery.

The audio in this book had a little echo too it however, it wasn’t bad enough to take away from the performance of Kevin Marchant. Mr. Marchant has quite the talent for voices and did a great job narrating this novel. I look forward to hearing more from him.

Though it wasn’t my favorite audiobook, it was a fun listen. I would suggest it to anyone interested I steampunk or sailing/pirate novels. I plan to keep my eyes on more of Hawkins’ work in the future.

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