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Tales from Ashen Falls

A Prelude to the Eighth God
Narrated by: Damien Brunetto
Series: The Orcslayers, Book 0.5
Length: 1 hr and 26 mins
Categories: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
4.5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Summary

Monsters are on the rise and Gods walk the streets of Ashen Falls in four stories that serve as a prelude to The Eighth God.

"Melress and The Fading Man"

A young half-elven boy is kidnapped by a children's nursery rhyme.

"The Doves Head Inn"

Someone wants to get their hands on The Doves loot, but they have to get past two bouncers to do it.

"Melress Investigates"

Something is killing residents of Ashen Falls, and a young Melress is found standing next to a body. Can the Battle Mage find the real culprit?

"The Scarecrow"

It's a foggy night in Ashen Falls, and soon monsters walk the streets led by a man with one thing on his mind - revenge!

©2016 Paul S. Lavender (P)2017 Paul S. Lavender

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An enjoyable introduction to the series

Tales From Ashen Falls is an interesting collection of 4 short stories which serve to introduce various characters from Paul Lavender’s novel, The Eighth God. The stories in this collection are easy to get into, and each is a small slice of fun. Particularly amusing are the brothers Pock and Cock, who feature in the last 3 of the 4 stories. Their actions and banter make them something of a comic relief, and are ever so slightly reminiscent of R.A. Salvatore’s dwarf brothers, Ivan and Pikel Bouldershoulder (although Pock and Cock are far from dwarf-height and are considerably more foul-mouthed). If you don’t take these stories too seriously, and don’t get your knickers in a twist over the occasional questionable motivation or slight hiccup in the narrative, you should enjoy these stories if you like a bit of mystery, action, magic, and murder. As for the audio narration,
I expect I would have preferred to read the stories rather than listen to them, due to a string of very slight but frequent blunders by the narrator. That being said, the dialogue and narrative delivery did at times shine, particularly in the cases of Pock and Cock, so don’t be dissuaded from giving the audiobook a try for yourself.

Summary: If not for my issues with the narration (possibly subjective), I would likely have given this book 5 stars rather than 4, but it is certainly an enjoyable introduction and sets the tone for the series. The Eighth God is on my listen-to list, and I hope that the narrator has given more polish to the novel than he did to the short stories.

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Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Wizards

This collection of short stories had me laughing aloud one minute and gripped the next. Top notch. The narrator is very good - not so much that he overshadows the writing (as some of the top ones do) but a good range of voices that don’t detract from the great narrative.

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'And not because he had a footlong sub'

So this is the first audiobook I've listened to since I was a kid that wasn't a Postman Pat adventure. Gotta say, I'm extremely impressed, I'm not really one for audiobooks (probably the Postman Pat association) but Lavender's stories kept me gripped throughout. Although I would describe his writing primarily as epic fantasy, I found Lavender's writing to be heavy on the black comedy end of things, and considering the kind of setting for this collection of stories it works awesomely. Humour is extremely difficult to pull off in fantasy, or in any book really, but Lavender does a brilliant job with Tales from Ashen Falls, and I found myself skipping back to listen to certain lines. My favourite was 'The Dove's Head Inn', purely for the banter and dialogue between two characters. In short, this is a collection of grimly hilarious little fairy tale-esque stories that, if you're like me, will have you giggling as you listen to them unfold. The quality of Lavender's humour and writing is astounding, and does a solid job of hinting at the wider world of his work. Also worthy of note is Damien Brunetto, the narrator - very professional reading from him, and it contributes to a well rounded product. So, overall? 5/5, couldn't be anything else, it's been far too long since a book has made me laugh so much.

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  • Al
  • 05-10-17

A Fun Day Trip to Ashen Falls

The author takes us on a road trip to Ashen Falls witj a quartet of short stories from the worldnof his debut novel "The Eight God." He maintains the humour from the novel throughout, while throwing in some decent short stories. "The Doves Head Inn" alone deserves six stars.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sherryl
  • 23-10-18

Loved it!!

Great story line and very lighthearted, can’t wait for the next book.
Loved the comedic content

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  • superstardrifter
  • 22-02-18

A great little collection of stories!

Despite the fact that it is described as a prelude to The Eighth God, I chose to read it afterwards, just so that I had a good idea what the characters were like before I dove in, and I don't regret that decision, though it can definitely be read first as well. These stories follow either Melress who is my favorite character from the series so far, or the bouncers from the Doves Head Inn. Sometimes both. 

In the first story, Melress and the Fading Man, we get a story from the point of view of a 7-year-old Melress who is kidnapped by a nursery rhyme character, the Fading Man, a man who comes and snatches naughty children. It gives a little bit of insight into some of Melress' abilities as a half elf, and just how mature and sensible he is, as a character. It also explains how Melress and Caw, his raven familiar met, as well as how he and Beatrice met. 

The Dove's Head tells the story of two brothers who are the bouncers of the Dove's Head Inn in Ashen Falls. It seemed like a normal everyday night at the inn, and they were just hanging out and playing some cards when shenanigans happen! This was a fun little story.

Melress Investigates takes place when Melress is 13 years old and in battlemage training. He and Caw are wandering Ashen Falls when they stumble upon a body in an alley. Melress, being Melress, decides to help the investigation of the murder. This story had an interesting ending that I didn't see coming at all. :)

The Scarecrow was a neat little story about a man who calls himself the Scarecrow (because they scare birds) and his revenge against the proprietor of a certain inn in Ashen Falls and two certain bouncers that also reside there. The manner in which he attacks is interesting, and makes it quite hard for his enemies to fight back. Interesting story, with some neat ideas in it. Necromancy shenanigans!~

All told, a pretty neat little collection of stories. I may even go as far to say that I liked this little collection more than I liked the book they're based on. :)

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  • Kevin Mikaloff
  • 14-11-17

Entertaining listen

I liked this prologue to “The 8th God” a lot. It is a fantasy novel with some elements of other genres, like horror (zombie children!), and an underlying wit that makes it a fun listen. The narration by Damien Brunetto is very clear and easy to follow. I am interested to see what kind of shenanigans that the brothers, Pock and Cock, get up to in future installments.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 20-10-17

A Great Prelude. Can't wait for the next book!

Loved the short stories. Can't wait to hear the books that they are a prelude to.
The narration was done quite well helping to enhance the world that the author has created.

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  • Nathan Law
  • 12-10-17

Fun, quick, and fantasy-based tales

I have not yet read the Eighth God, but enjoyed these four tales. The stories were well paced and entertaining.

The narration was excellent, with the voices adding depth to the story. I am now looking to continue to read the series. I look forward to the audio version when it becomes available.

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  • Melissa Parker West
  • 10-10-17

Cracking good Grimdark fantasy shorts!

Tales of Ashen Falls drops you into the grimy gutter of Lavender's amazing fantasy world where you get to rub shoulders with heroes, villains and all those unspeakable folks in between.
It's got quite a lot of gritty humor with its action and you can't help but smirk at the characters banter.

Reminds me of a fantasy version of Lick, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and for me that's a very good thing!

Recommended!