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G. P. Brown

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Daughter from the Dark cover art

A Dark and Compelling Tale

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-02-20

I was a big fan of the Dyachenkos' other book The Scar and felt like Daughter from the Dark was a story in a similar vein. Both books deal with similar themes like redemption and compassion and sweep the listener away into a tale that has the feel of a dark fairytale with a melancholy tone but one that, crucially, still manages to retain an undercurrent of hope.

The relationship between Asprin and Alyona and the mystery surrounding her nature and origin proved to be every bit as compelling as the blurb promised it would be and while I would not say this was a perfect story it did succeed at fully sucking me in and in engaging my emotions. I blasted through this audio in less than two days which is always the sign of of good story!

I think Adam Verner did a good job with the audio. He did a good job of conveying the tension and emotion in a lot of the scenes and that helped bring the story and the characters to life.

A Poor Adaptation

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-01-20

I thought this was pretty poor. I'm inclined to blame this on the people who adapted the comics for audio rather than on Joe Hill as I previously read, and enjoyed Horns, by the same author. This one was a bust for me as we just bounced from random scene to random scene with zero descriptive narrative to fill the listener in on where we were or what was happening so it ended up tough to picture what was actually going on. I got the jist of it eventually but it was not an enjoyable experience and I ended up quitting at around the three hour mark as my enthusiasm had just completely died.

I just think this was a bad adaptation of the comics. Without the visuals of the comics to set the scene and provide some narrative this ended up just being a lot of dialogue with nothing much to tie it all together. The people behind the dramatization did a poor job of it. The story premise was intriguing and the quality of the narration was decent.

One of the best LitRPG stories!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-04-19

I bought this audiobook on a whim because the blurb for the story sounded like it had a lot of potential to make for a super fun story and it really did live up to those expectations! The story was engaging from start to finish. The world was a lot of fun, the lead character was one of the more likeable I've come across in LitRPG stories, and the plot was pretty enjoyable. It mixed action and adventure and was never dull.

The best thing about the story was the main characters personal development. There was nothing preachy about his growth as a character. He was simply a guy who got the chance to grow more as a person due to having a shot at a different sort of life he found in the game world compared to the life he left in the real world. I loved how well done that aspect of the story was.

The other good thing about this story was it did not get bogged down in those mindless stats that plague a lot of books in this genre. We got a few to track Chad's progress in the game but nothing that overwhelmed the story or hurt the flow of the action. This is the way it should be. Most of the stat laden LitRPG's are just gaming the Kindle Unlimited system and it never translates well in the audio format!

I felt like Eric Martin gave a great performance with the audio. His general narration was engaging and his character voices were good.

Fun sci-fi

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-04-19

This was the book version of a sci-fi B-movie. It was nothing special but it was entertaining and fun. It was a first contact light sci-fi that mixed action, adventure, humour, and even a tad of romance into a decent story!

I felt like Greg Tremblay did a good job with the audio. It did take me a little while to get used to him but once I did I ended up appreciating the subtle changes in his voice that helped differentiate between the two POV characters in the story.

Fun LitRPG!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-03-19

In a lot of ways this was a LitRPG fantasy with a classic feel to it. It was set in a typical RPG style world and followed the RPG game set-up fairly faithfully. Where it excelled was in its character development and in the fact that the slight twist in the unusual nature of the main character added a bit of humour to the story that made the stats we got a bit more tolerable than usual. It really helped that the main character was as outraged by their presence as the reader!

All in all I found this story pretty engaging and cannot wait to listen to more of Bloodwraith's adventures as he seeks to grow his power and to find out more about the strange invaders to his world.

I was not a giant fan of Bryan G. Lamb's narration. My initial reaction to him was pretty negative but I'm glad I stuck it out as he did grow on me and in the end I feel he did a decent job. He was particularly good voicing Bloodwraith but did struggle a bit with the secondary characters especially the female ones.

Might be YA but it is still awesome!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-11-18

I really enjoyed this opening volume of Sanderson's fun and exciting new YA sci-fi series. It has most of the elements that make his other books so much fun to listen to. Awesome world, likeable characters, tons of humour, shock twists and turns and a real good balance to the story that makes it a compelling listen from start to finish!

I felt like Sophie Aldred did a really good job with the audio. Her character voices were really good and she had a decent ability to voice act so I found myself caught up in the humour and in the tense scenes. It is great when a narrator can really bring the story to life!

An enjoyable fantasy!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-11-18

This was a decent fantasy tale that fell just a tiny bit short of being anything special or memorable. The writing, plot, characters, and world were all good but just lacked that special something to make this book able compete with the very best the genre has to offer. It did still prove a worthwhile and enjoyable read and a good start to a new fantasy trilogy!

It is hard to say what sort of fantasy tale we got in this one. It felt a bit like reading a Brandon Sanderson or Michael Sullivan style story mixed with a bit of Abercrombie style "grit". It felt like Jacob Peppers was a fan of both Sanderson and Abercrombie and was inspired to write a story that was a weird love child of both! It leaned slightly more towards Sanderson than Abercrombie which is probably why I ended up enjoying it as much as I did.

I really liked the premise of the story. Aaron Envelar is a jaded sellsword who's latest commission is to rescue a guy from a group of thugs who captured him. The job sounds dangerous but pays well enough for it to be worth the risk. Things go wrong when Aaron arrives to find the thugs towards the end of torturing his target and way more skilled than described by his paymaster! Things get even more complicated when the guy he is meant to save dies right after revealing he is actually a prince of the realm. As if getting caught up in a massive political assassination scheme was not bad enough Aaron also finds himself lumbered with the Prince's annoying magical companion. Co, a floating orb of light who claims to be the embodiment of compassion, is putting a serious crimp in his style with her chronic nagging at him to be a better man!

The world was a decent one as well. The story was set in a kingdom which has been divided for years after King Marcus died with no clear heir. His children have been warring among themselves since and it has made for harsh times for the people.

The story was a fun one. I liked the mix of action and intrigue and we also got a tiny bit of humor and romance thrown into the mix to keep things interesting as well. Another big success was that the characters were a likeable and/or interesting bunch. The story mainly focused on the jaded sellsword Aaron but he was supported by a fun core group of secondary characters and some decent characters outside the core group as well. Aaron could be an ass at times but he was mostly likeable enough and easy to root for as his job gone wrong got him stuck on the right side of the battle lines. He also showed some positive character growth over the story which I always enjoy.

If I was to point at a flaw I'd say both the romance and the humour could have been a little smoother and better. They were still decent enough but I felt like if Peppers had really nailed both of those then this could have been a 5 star read as this story did have most of what I'm looking for in a fantasy tale. He just never quite put it together in a way that worked every single time. Plus I feel like Aaron's relationship with his nagging orb of compassion companion could have been way more fun that it was! It was fun but felt like it could have been even more fun if that makes sense?

Outside of the Orbs and their magic the story was fairly light on magic. What we did learn of the Orbs (there was 7 of them altogether) seemed pretty interesting and hopefully we will learn even more about them and their powers in the sequels.

A big plus for the story was the way Peppers used tiny flashback scenes to flesh out his characters and give us a deeper understanding of them. This worked mostly for Aaron but Co's magic helped us get a tiny glimpse into a few of the other characters minds as well which I liked.

All in all I enjoyed this one. It might not be super original fantasy but it was fun and I'll definitely be reading the sequels.

Audio Note: This was narrated by Steven Brand. I always feel like Brand is a weird narrator to rate as some of what he does is really good but that he has some big drawbacks as well. He has a great voice for general narration and is easy to listen to but does not voice act for the dialogue at all. I feel like that lack of voice acting can hurt a story when there is a focus on humorous dialogue or a lot of female characters as Brand does not act out the scenes or voice the characters!

3 people found this helpful

Really enjoyable UF!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-11-18

This sucked me in by having a really fun sounding blurb and, for once, I felt like the story really lived up to what the blurb promised! The was a really fun UF. I felt like the author got the balance spot on between the darker aspects of the story and the humour. It also really helps that the main character, Gabriel, was a charming and likeable lead character so it was easy to get invested in his story as he got sucked into some crazy supernatural happenings.

This was narrated by the author, Josh Erikson, himself. That is usually a big no no for me as most authors are TERRIBLE audio narrators. I took a chance on this one mostly because it had such a fun sounding blurb and because I got the audio for a bargain price. It turned out to be a great decision as Josh Erikson might just be the very best author/narrator I've encountered so far. He was not just tolerable but actually good and fairly talented! He did not have the typical deep baritone voice most professional male audio narrators have but he was clear-spoken and affable sounding. He was also good at dealing with both the character voices and the general narration. His voices were great for all the characters in the story and he had the ability to voice act and so could convey the correct emotions into the scenes he was reading. The best compliment I can pay him as an audio narrator is that if I spotted him narrating a book he had not written himself I'd still be happy to buy it safe in the knowledge the audio had excellent narration if nothing else! I'm rarely a fan of authors self narrating but in this case I do hope that Erikson sticks to narrating the rest of this series himself as he did a great job!

Dark Fantasy with a dose of humour!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-10-18

This was an engaging dark fantasy that mixed gritty world building and action with fun and memorable characters and witty hilarious dialogue. I loved following Breed on his misadventures!

My initial reaction to Chris Coxon's narration was a negative one but by the time I was an hour into the story he had won me over. He really got the tone of the story and his performance brought it to life!

A Fun Sequel!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-09-18

Down With the Queen proved a fun sequel to Benjamin Medrano's Born a Queen. This book was not quite so good as the first one but was still an enjoyable read. The story is a nice mix of comic book style action and slow paced romance.

A lot of the elements that made the first book so much fun were back in this story. The characters are likeable, the plot enjoyable, and the superhero world a good one. The world is fairly standard superhero fare as are the superpowers but Medrano makes it work as the characters themselves are good and the tone of the story had the sort of balance I enjoy. I'm also a fan of the fact that a few AI's had roles to play!

The trio of Lilith, Warden (Gina), and Morgan Ley Fey (Rachel) are as easy to root for as ever. There was plenty going on in the story as the evil Destruction Core team were looking to move in on the city and the villain from the last book, Doctor Johnson, was back and up to more of his evil schemes. On top of that Gina and Rachel have to deal with keeping Lilith's true identity from the rest of their superhero team as a result of the kill order issued on Shadowmind's last creation. It all made for and engaging and enjoyable story.

As always Medrano's writing remains a little strange and sedate, even during the action scenes, but despite that I still find it engaging enough.

I felt like there were two minor flaws that held this back from being as good as the first instalment of the series. The first was the pacing in the first half of the story. It was just a bit too sedate. A little more action and intrigue in the first third would have been better. The other flaw was a slight shift in the direction of the romance. I'll not say too much but I do feel like the author has changed his mind and the direction of it and I do not feel like the change was a positive one. It is by no means awful but I definitely liked the previous direction better and it feels a bit weird that got abandoned.

The authors note at the end indicated that this series is going on the shelf for a bit which I feel is a pity as I'm sure there is a lot more fun stories left to be told in this world! The good news is Medrano does plan to return for a future trilogy once he gets some other series out of the way.

All in all this was a fun superhero story.

I feel like Sarah Beth Goer's character voices could be a bit more distinctive at times. She does well with a lot of the characters but a few of the leads sound a bit similar. On the whole I'm a fan of her as she has a pleasant voice and does seem to get the tone of the story.