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The First Story

Narrated by: Tucker Dally Johnston
Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Matt lives to write stories. And those stories might be the only thing keeping his best friend alive after school bullies brutally attack him for being gay. At the side of John’s hospital bed, Matt weaves together tales in the hopes of waking him from his coma before it’s too late....

Storytelling itself comes to life in the world of Creativity. When unexpected changes cause chaos there, personified character archetypes known as Aspects must find the source before everything they know is lost. They suspect that someone has stolen the most powerful thing in all of Creativity: the First Story. But who is powerful enough to wield it?

Follow the Aspects as they journey through an ever-changing series of folktales, ghost stories, tragedies, comedies, classic fantasy, and modern science fiction to piece the clues together. If the Aspects cannot trust in reality - or even their own memories - can they work together to find the thief and restore their world?

Authors 4 Authors Content Rating:

This title has been rated 14+ appropriate for teens and contains:

  • Moderate language
  • Intense violence
  • Violent hate crime
  • Brief implied sex
  • Moderate alcohol use
  • LGBTQ+ discussion

For more information on our rating system, please, visit our Content Guide at authors4authorspublishing.com/books/ratings.

©2018 C. Bradley Owens (P)2018 C. Bradley Owens

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Original story telling and great narration.

Have not heard from either of these two before, but am betting I will again. With over a 1,000 audio books in my library, originality is a big plus and this book delivers. Johnston's delivery is one of the best and moves him to that tier where I'll seach him out along with my favorite authors.

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Made my day

Despite the title of this review, I actually finished The First Story over the course of two days, but that's only because I had obligations. This novel is everything I hoped it would be from the description. It's a triumph of worldbuilding, a sort of YA Trump-era update of Sandman but different and fresh enough that I wouldn't pit the two against each other. Essentially, the land of Creativity is populated by sentient archetypes called Aspects, Elements, etc. Each is defined by its own set of stories that play out over and over, but when the titular First Story is stolen, everything is thrown into chaos. That's an almost direct restatement of the back matter, but my point is it plays out in a really neat way. We all know that times change, but this novel attempts to explore on a fundamental level whether Stories can change with them. I think it succeeds in that respect.

The fantasy threads are tied together by a bare-bones framing narrative that still manages to have alot of pathos and be weird enough that you may be tempted to believe that storytelling is a form of actual magic. It kicks off tragically with MC Matt finding his best friend John unconscious mid-gay bash, but this is at heart a joyful novel, and I'm glad I read it.

My only criticisms are sometimes the solutions Owens posits are a little too easy for my taste and that the way he handles the trauma that kicks off the story is a little off for me. I don't think he ever trivializes what he's depicting, but it makes me slightly uncomfortable that the only voice we get is Matt's and I got the impression that when Matt speaks for John we're meant to take that as voice of God. Something from John's perspective would have been, by me, appreciated.

All in all though, this was a fantastic read (listen). Johnston's voice work is masterful. 5 stars all around. Hope to see more from both Owens and Johnston in the future.