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.
I saw this book in my recommended titles and figured I'd give it a try. It sounded interesting and it was to an extent. The huge variety of different magics and cultures was quite fascinating but the constant reminders our how powerful and nigh-immortal the main character was got old quickly.
Its fitting and very human for him to keep reminding himself of the "truths" that being broken down but we the readers already know it and only want to hear it so many times.
Another issue I had with this book was the extreme usage of the term supernatural. Obviously this book is full of things that are supernatural but I am convinced the author uses it as a catch-all term when he doesn't wish to explain something. As in "supernaturally strong" and "supernaturally fast" and while this isn't bad its used far too much.
The last thing that I didn't enjoy about this book, sadly, was the reader. His voice was perfect for the main character but I found nearly other characters voice choice to be annoying and distracting.
The story of the book was quite intruiging meandering between fantasy, sci-fi and politics covering innumerable types of each and giving us a whole slew of cults and characters a few extremely unique and with some jaw-dropping descriptions but these are sadly not the majority.
I was torn between giving this book a 2 or a 3 it almost seems unfair to rate a book but the person reading it, but since its an Audio book that's a huge part of the presenation and he made it a trying experience. In this case I would recommend just picking up a paper copy so you'll get your own voice.
I don't know what killed the book really.
The women in the book all sound like pre-op transvestites as well as slightly retarded.
that for me made it really hard to listen to.
The story may have been easier to swallow if the narration wasn't so bad but i don't know.
I find it hard to suspend my belief when he is attacked by living cars, Elf lords on dragons and flying saucers all with in about 10 min of each other in one scene. its like he is trying to
fit every known creature into this story just by shoving them in there.
kinda like name dropping for mythical creatures.
Oh yeah he is freaking invincible so there is never a moment of worry.
Anyway Sorry didn't mean to rant, but WTF.
This audiobook has good sound quality. That's the only good thing to say about it, and its a shame that the quality wasn't lower. If there was some distortion, it might have masked the terrible writing and the horrible voice casting.
The writing in this book might appeal to a pre-teen, as long as that child has not read many books. I've seen better writing from high school classes.
The voice actor is terribly miscast for this role. Either that or he made some very bad choices about the character.
The narrator was absolutely awful. His voices were a distraction and were either flat or overly melodramatic. I only finished the book to see if the author would fill in the plot holes (no such luck).
But, that said, if you like Piers Anthony, I think you'd like this story. The cadence and puns/naming conventions are very similar.
Green is a masterful writer of this genre. He should rank up there with Gaiman and the like. It was difficult to put this down a real "page turner." Green adds just enough humor to the intrigue to have you feeling more than one emotion at a time, well done! The narration was spectacular as well, looking forward to book 2.