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Christopher J. Abbott

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An adventure you won’t soon forget...

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-14-19

It had been a long time since I had last read The Errant King, not long after its original release in paperback. So when I had the chance to read these fantastic books again in preparation for the long-awaited self-published continuation of the story, I jumped at the chance. Batson’s work is never to be missed and always to be enjoyed, and that’s especially true here.

Dave Cruse’s voice makes for lovely accompaniment to such a massive fantasy tale, and his voices are often precisely on point for the characters as the text represents them. His deep voice and nuanced accents breathe life into even the most nonhuman of speaking roles, but as with his narration of Sword In The Stars, the female voices tend to feel just a tad awkward or cringe-y at times. But that is more than made for in the description of the thrilling action scenes, which are more than plentiful here.

Dark, yet hopeful; sorrowful, yet triumphant; humor and mirth, but with murky clouds swarming the horizon. That is The Errant King in a nutshell, and if you want to pass such an experience by...well, I guess there’s no helping some people!

An Engaging Transference from Page to Ear

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-29-18

I read Sword in the Stars in its native form several times before being given a copy of the audiobook to review just recently. I was very pleasantly surprised that a similar level of immersion with the story was possible in audio as with text and imagination. Batson has long been among my favorite authors and Sword in the Stars shows him at the peak of his art, with engaging characters, a wealth of world-building, and colorful dialogue. This isn't a review of the novel so much as the audiobook, however.

The reader, Dave Cruse, brings a number of things to the table: a nice, even reading speed that makes the scenes easy to follow even if you're multitasking, and without becoming boring; a deep, sonorous voice that lends itself very well to the fantasy genre; and a welcome variety of character voices. That last does have a slight caveat, however - because of his deep voice, Cruse's interpretations of some characters (especially the young or female) can sometimes miss the mark. But he more than makes up for that with his delightfully boot-shaking renditions of the villains. Rarely does a reader make a book's antagonists truly menacing, but Cruse does so with ease.

If you're a fan of allegorical fantasy - especially the kind that doesn't slap you upside the head with its parallels - then Sword in the Stars is the perfect purchase for you. A deeply spiritual world that feels bigger than the pages which spawned it comes alive through the magic of narration, and if you pass this one up you'll surely regret it!