This book is James Bond meets Percy Jackson meets Harry Potter meets Iron Druid meets Rachel Morgan meets really big book of clichés. If it wasn’t for the profanity and sex references, I would have said this is a (very) young adult book.
The plot is minimal and the characters are very flat and two-dimensional. I came close to returning this book, as it was too far contrived, both in the writing style and the story. I continued listening because it was mildly intriguing, and I had hoped it would improve. Sadly, it did not.
Most of the characters have silly or stupid names: Subway Sue, Janissary Jane, Mr. Stab, Girl Flower. They sound more like temporary names used while writing and were never replaced with something not awful. Quite annoyingly, the name was used in full every time; for example, it was always "Janissary Jane,” instead of simply, Jane, throughout the entire book. Tedious!
The story was also repetitive, with the same thing happening over and over (I’m trying to not give away spoilers). It wasn’t the exact same thing, but first he goes to one enemy, then to another, then another, and basically the same thing happened. Then he went to one rogue, then another, ad naseum. There was very little progress of the plot during these times.
The dialogue was off. Characters would say something that didn’t seem to fit well into the current situations. Often, it was out sync, meaning what was said first should have been said second, and the second should have been the first statement. if you’ve ever seen a poorly written B movie, it was much like that.
I also became very weary of the main character going on and on about how something was impossible, only to have it happen in the next paragraph. For example, “My armor makes me invincible, noting can get through my armor,” and then, something got through his armor. Again, too tedious to really enjoy.
The narrator read the story reasonably well, but was a terrible match for this story. The protagonist is in his 20s, but the narrator makes him sound like someone in his 50s. The cadence, rhythm, and inflections were totally off for someone of this age. Not to mention, the narrator can’t do a woman’s voice. Most of females voices were lower than the male voices, and terribly unattractive sounding.
I hate writing reviews but this book deserves one. It reminds me of 'A Hitchhiker's Guide' with all it's quirky characters and situations. Highly recommend.
Expect cheesy fun
I can understand that it was inspired by James Bond with a supernatural twist. But it really isn't like a Bond book, because the story stands on its own with original ideas and story execution. It is far more a book about its supernatural aspects than about the secret agent aspects.
Stuart Blinder seems to have trouble with female voices, especially the one that has an American southern accent. All of his female voices sound like the hoot that comes when you blow air over the opening on a bottle. What would I change? I'd have Stuart Blinder learn to do female voices that sound a bit more normal and pedestrian.
As the book came to its conclusion, I found myself really on the edge of my seat. The last hour or so was pretty darn exciting. And I was really looking forward to understanding the mystery that the story was centered around discovering. Once uncovered, the mystery was appropriately heavy.
A car chase relatively early in this book becomes over-the-top CHEESY! But don't let that discourage you. In the end, the cheesy part is really important to pushing the story forward. And though more cheesy parts occur throughout the story, they are all in good fun and thoroughly enjoyable.
This is my first Simon Green book, and I very much enjoyed it. It was fun fantasy, a creative plot, and likeable heros. I've had a lot of dreary tasks to contend with recently, and this book helped me get through them with a smile. Stuart Blinder was a perfect reader for this. I will be looking for more books in the series.
Currently a local truck driver who has hours to listen to my audio books. I am hooked, some of my fellow drivers enjoy them also
We don't have time for print books
The connection with some of the night side people
Mr Blinder is a true artist he did a great job will listen to him again
I liked it when the found out what the diamond really wanted of the Drood family
Look forward to the next one.
The Origins of the Drood Clan and the rise of Eddie Drood. Good story, narration was as well done as could be expected from a male who encountered several female roles. Simon R. Green has provided a story that is gripping, funny, and a definite theatre for the mind. Well done, bravo!
I have long been a fan of Simon R. Green and his graphically horrific Urban Fantasy series "The Nightside", and I love his new novel "Ghost of a Chance", so I decided to give his "Secret Histories" series a try. I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. Green's masterfully blended elements of the macabre and urban fantasy shine through in this series as well as it ever does in any of "The Nightside" novels. The only thing I regret is that I waited this long to start on the "Secret Histories"! As far as the first book of a continuing series goes, you can't get much better than "The Man with the Golden Torc". The one thing I especially like about this book is that in addition to the urban fantasy element, Green manages to deftly add a touch of the spy world. I definitely give this book the full 5 stars!!!
Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.
I am so excited to read/listen to the rest of this series. I have been a fan of the Nightside series for a while and a friend recommended that I try this series next. I was not disappointed. It was an engaging and exciting and really held my interest. I loved this narrator too. Excellent accent, I could listen to him read the phone book.
Shaman Bond is not John Taylor of the Nightside series and the narrator here is not Marc Vietor, but rather is the more than capable Stuart Blinder, who has his own distinctive style. If you enjoyed the Nightside series, you will find much to enjoy in this series of audioworks.
The other difference is that the stories in the Secret Histories are much longer than the Nightside stories. The Man with The Golden Torc has a running time of over seventeen hours compared to just under six hours for Something from the Nightside, the first book of that series. That does not mean a more leisurely pace as this story positively gallops from scene to scene, and within each scene as well, barely allowing the listener to catch his breath!
I said that Stuart Blinder is not Marc Vietor so I was curious as to how he came to do voice work. This is his illuminating answer:
"I've done VOs for commercials and TV shows but have most fun in audio books. Got the theater bug in the UK but spent most of my career acting being a manager in the corporate world! Been in the US 22 years, the last 4 professional VO actor. Heard George Guidall give a talk on his art and caught the bug. Asfor voices, I try to get inside each character, identify a defining voice element and then think of people I've known or heard that would fit."
He certainly gets into each character, like Marc Vietor, with a great deal of fun. And it's worth noting that The Man With The Golden Torc is a rather successful attempt to mesh together the spy genre with the supernatural which means that some of the characters are fresh spins upon old themes. The bottom line is that for any lover of good contemporary fantasy, The Man with The Golden Torc is a must listen. I certainly found it to be even better than I expected and I expected it to be very, very good.
Cat Eldridge / Green Man Review
Great story, but the narrator just isn't appropriate for the material. It isn't that he's a bad narrator. It's just that he sounds like he's reading for a Disney cartoon instead of a hard-bitten supernatural detective novel. He totally fails to capture Green's dry wit, and his female voices sound like a Monty Python skit.
I still recommend buying this book, and I will definitely get the rest of the series. I just hope the reading gets better with the change of narrators in book 3.