Though Quirt’s name is little-known, his skills as a gladiator are quickly obvious and hard to match. In Aureity, noblemen battle in the arena circuit, using their powers of teleportation and telekinesis to prove their breeding and strength. The prizes at play are not only silver and bronze but also the chance to rise amongst the nobility and mate with the ruling class of women.
Older than most players, Quirt still manages to draw attention and awe through his mastery of the games. Some of that attention comes from Humate, a brash young competitor with unbelievable power and little patience or control. To him, Quirt is a mystery he can’t resist.
However, that mystery soon proves much bigger than all of them. Ancient crimes, struggles for status, romance, vengeance, duty - Humate has a lot to learn from the world-wise Quirt. As the secret of Quirt’s true identity and past unfolds, Humate and Quirt race to bring justice to the murderer and madman whose blood links the two gladiators together.
With Ill Met in the Arena, award-winning fantasy author Dave Duncan creates yet another new, fully-realized world filled with complex cultures and brisk adventure. Intrigue, politics, action, humor - this audiobook will grab you from the first moment and not let go until the final word.
What would have made Ill Met in the Arena better?
Another performer. Definitely.
Has Ill Met in the Arena turned you off from other books in this genre?
Not at all. Didn't turn me off Dave Duncan either, and I'd give the book another chance in written form. I love his Pandemia books, and most of the others.
What didn’t you like about Peter Ganim’s performance?
His reading is like a slow monotonous swagger. I sped up the playback to 1.25x and it was a bit better, at least I didn't fall asleep. To me, it sounds like Severus Snape disdainfully lecturing on the driest parts of Potions Theory. It absolutely doesn't help that the story is written in first person and starts out full of descriptions of world building, persons and situations.
It is most likely personal taste, but I do recommend other readers to listen to a sample. I disliked the performance after only a minute so any sample length will help you decide whether you like it or not.
What character would you cut from Ill Met in the Arena?
I didn't get that far. I gave up on the book after 22 minutes, in the middle of chapter 1.
Any additional comments?
Please listen to a sample before purchasing it. Especially if you purchase with a credit, since the return policy doesn't cover those books. I learned that the hard way. This recommendation of course goes for any audiobook, and I wish someone had told me how much the performance style can yuck up the listening experience.
Please disregard the rating of the story. Since I stopped listening in the middle of chapter 1, I can't really rate the book itself.
I generally do not write reviews and this is not my usual genre. I feel like this is a well done tale with good narration and production.
The story has Castles, Nobles, and Common Folk but is nowhere near a typical feudal society. It has psychic powers; mental for women, physical for men (of course! Right?). The Caste style social structure is familiar with unique elements that work very well.
It didn't take long to become well invested in the characters and plot; so much invested that when a major, long flashback came along I was, at first, a bit miffed at having to wait for the current plotline to continue. The flashback was very much worth the wait and is a big part of the plot. It dredged a pretty good emotional response from me - the kind you only get from good story telling. I rarely have that strong of a response.
I didn't care much for all the blood-line connections. I was, however, able to follow it well enough to glean the impact it has on the plot (This is more of a personal thing since after my grandparents, I don't have a clue. My wife and sisters keep up with the family connections - they are my cloud storage and extended memory systems).
The conflict comes to a rather satisfying conclusion.
I was well entertained and in the end, I felt like they all just might live happily ever after - which is what I prefer in fiction and hopefully, life.
To all involved, Job Well Done!