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Journey to the Black City

Narrated by: Michael Snider
Series: After: The New Earth Series, Book 1
Length: 14 hrs and 54 mins
3 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On an Earth that is very much like our own, the civilizations of ancient man have been crushed; the giant glaciers that cover the northern part of the globe continue, even now, moving ever south, grinding the remains of the sky-touching cities of men beneath them. This Ice Age created warfare between two mighty nations, and in the midst of this mechanized slaughter, a virulent influenza plague ultimately killed most of the human population of the Earth within just one year.

Now, almost 2,000 years later, some of the survivors of that plague have again gathered together in a few vast city-states. In the wild lands between these megalopolises, the individuals who'd chosen not to return to the sprawl of the city-states roam as the Free Tribes in the company of sabretooth cats, mammoths, and dire wolves. In this world there is only a tentative peace; there are those in the Black City of the West for whom only one thing matters: the power to dominate and subjugate; the power to kidnap and enslave children and women into a sexual bondage purporting to save their souls, but in reality to supply wealth to a priesthood whose hearts are as black as the zeppelins they fly.

Into this steam-power world, two young people must journey. It will be a journey from innocence that will carry them from their tribe into the black heart of the basalt city. It will be a journey that will change them forever and bring them closer together than they'd thought possible.

©2016 Waldorf Publishing (P)2016 Waldorf Publishing

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Not what I thought it would be; major flaws

After listening to Shadow of the Fox, I was looking for another fun and compelling adventure story filled with mysteries, challenges, clever solutions, sword fights, intriguing magic, likable developing characters, and a fun-to-imagine world. Based on the description of this story, I hoped that is what Journey to the Black City might deliver. I mean, I thought I was going to hear about shamanic magic visiting a steampunk setting for an epic adventure.

Instead, the looney cartoony druggie murder prostitute Hadria and the somehow not completely ostracized Religion of Horny Abusive Priests of Evil (RHAPE) take over the story and drive out my interest. C’mon, Mr. Mueller, you come up with a cool-sounding world scenario, mix in magic and mystery, and then go off about mostly unrelated rape, drugs, and murder for half the book or more? It wasn’t what I was here to listen about. Maybe I’m not the target demographic, but I probably don’t want to meet someone who is.

The whole Hadria part of this book should have been cut in favor of Kel and Lyria problem-solving and character development. Maybe throw in some epic battle that doesn’t involve insta-win, like in Dawn of Wonder’s tower battle with Liru and Aedan versus the experienced adult swordsman. Expose the world through the main characters adventures rather than in dialogue dumps.

Heck, the only type of climax in the book is the literally hundreds sexual climaxes mentioned. My jaw honest-to-goodness hung slack when the book ended; the epilogue even implies that in the next book we will still hear about the essentially pointless sex and murder psycho Hadria in the following book.

I want the next book to do this imagined adventure justice, but this first book is so disappointing and was such a chore to get through that I couldn’t take going through another book like it. I’ll have to take a look at the sequel’s reviews and get a really positive impression before I consider purchasing the sequel.

I do not recommend this book as a fantasy adventure, I recommend it even less for readers younger than 17 due the bizarrely detailed and mostly unnecessary sex and violence.