Audiobook Review: A Magic Broken

eShamus reviewed A Magic Broken on Amazon:

This book seems to represent a clever marketing conceit: take the tight first five chapters of your book, make them stand alone (include all three acts) and sell it as a novella. This works well here. Yes, it’s a lead-in to a larger book, but it stands alone as both a fulfilling literary meal and an appetizer for more of the author’s work.

I recommend it highly.

The plot of the book is small in scope – appropriate to a novella – but hints at larger machinations, particularly in its conclusion. The story is told from the perspective of two seeming protagonists, a technique that pays off at the conclusion. (8/10)

A Magic Broken’s characters lack some complexity. They are archetypical, which is likely necessary in a novella intended to introduce the reader to an array of types and characters. Despite this, the key protagonist is strong and easily identified with. There’s no wishy-washy uncertainty or hand wringing over trivial issues. Our lead is strong, bold, competent and formidable. The author has skill with the ‘male voice’. It is passé to comment on authors (of either gender) and their ability with the ‘female voice.’ This author accurately captures a masculine hero’s point of view, wit, thoughts, and action. You want a direct, witty, slightly cocky hero? You got him. It’s easy to lose yourself in the character because he owns the traits you wish you’d embody were you in his shoes. This strength outshines the lack of complexity with which other characters may be rendered. Our hero could easily be Nicolai Hel traversing Middle Earth. Beautiful and captivating. How long do you think it would take Nicolai Hel to destroy the ring—or would he? This book opens possibilities that may (in future writings) blow through assumed limitations in fantasy. (8/10)

Scenery/Description is suited for the fantasy world. Pay attention in the beginning because the author seems to take words seriously and descriptions you may skim over will become strategically / tactically relevant soon. There is little wasted scenery. (8/10)

This review is specifically of the audio presentation. In the first 15-20 minutes, the narrator seemed to struggle to find his voice and the voices of the characters. It was the least valuable part of the presentation and hurt the delivery. But as the story unfolded, so too did the reader’s ability. Suddenly characters had unique vocal tics and tone. Accents, range, and emphasis more fully identified the characters. As much as the first 10% disappointed me, suddenly the narrator came to life and it was like listening to Aragorn reciting the history of the Two Towers. (9/10)

Strong writing, good plotting, a hero you will root for, and an audio presentation that grows stronger as it proceeds. I recommend this audio recording.

A common theme appears to be emerging in the early reviews of the AMB audiobook, which is that Nick Afka Thomas is the right man for the narrative job. I’m quite pleased that the listeners appear to appreciate him as much as I did when I first heard his demo reading.