Narrator: Fred Wolinsky
Publisher: Thorstruck Press (2015)
Length: 10 hours 24 minutes
The world as we know it no longer exists. The boundaries with Hell have fallen and a variety of demons and mutated humans run amok. London has taken drastic measures to protect some of its human population by building a big wall around the inner city. Plenty of humans, mostly the poorer ones, have been left on their own. Now Roman leads a band of disgraced and hardened convicts on a suicide mission to thwart the demi-god Demiurge.
This book had a lot of potential. I dived into it thinking it would be a great hit. On the surface, it has a lot of elements that I enjoy: mutated humans, supernatural forces, suicide mission, questionable heroes. But as I got further into the book, I realized this one wasn’t for me.
Let’s start with the questionable heroes. Some of these guys, and one gal, had interesting jobs, like bounty hunting, that got them in hot water and then incarcerated. Some were incarcerated for rape and murder. So it is a pretty interesting mix of ‘heroes’ for this book. Because some of these guys have impulse control problems coupled with a violent nature, they often made sexually violent remarks to the few women. At first, this added to the flavor of the book and gave me a few characters to hate. But these remarks, and later actions, became so common place they outshone the plot.
There is a lot of threatened, implied, and carried out violence towards women in general in this book. It was not balanced out with strong, competent female characters. I’m not a squeamish reader. I enjoy books with cussing, violence, sex, and the occasional terrible event that defines our characters. However, the author chose to put our female characters in skimpy hot pants for the fighting. Yep, hot pants. Who in their right mind wears hot pants to a suicide mission? None of the men did. Also, we were often told how awesome the few female characters (I recall 3, but there might have been a few more) were instead of shown. Much of their awesomeness happens off stage and we don’t get to live through their great deeds. Plus they often have to be rescued. Also, nearly all the plot decisions are made by male characters.
I will say the pacing was fine and I kept getting sucked back into the plot hoping things would even out. Many of the characters have some sort of super power and those were fun to explore. There’s a touch of romantic feelings between Roman and Eden (they use to be on the same espionage team until Roman got thrown in prison and Eden captured while on a mission). Yet despite the individually interesting characters, the action-packed plot, and the Hellish setting, this book was dud for me. It started off strong but then devolved quickly with the overboard gender-biased violence.
I won a copy of this book from the publisher via the Beauty in Ruins book blog.
The Narration: Fred Wolinsky did a fine performance. He had strong voices for the demons and other monsters and had a fine, commanding voice for Roman. He had quite a range of characters to perform for this book and he did them well.
What I Liked: The cover art; the story’s premise; mutated humans; Hellish monsters; suicide mission; questionable heroes.
What I Disliked: Overboard with the gender-biased violence; weak female characters; much of the women’s accomplishments happen off stage and we don’t get to live them; while the women get skimpy outfits, the men are dressed appropriately for the mission.
What Others Think: