Dominion of Blades by Matthew Dinniman
Narrated by Andrea Parsneau
Lit: I was hesitant at first to pick up a copy of Dominion of Blades, being a fan of “super sexy cover art” this one did not strike me as such. I found out how wrong I was; after hearing just the intro and first chapter. Matt Dinniman does a fantastic job in telling that great LITRPG story we all know so well.
One player is stuck in a game, either on accident or not; unwillingly becoming a pawn in a much bigger and more devious plan than they could ever imagine. The evildoers for this set of books so far, are far from your classic Bond villain however. Often the wolf hides in sheep’s clothing throughout Dinniman’s book, keeping even veteran readers like myself on our feet. Where this story differs from the majority is that Dinniman loves to include some really wacky, bizarre, and hilarious twists to his literary chemistry.
Seriously, who sits down at a keyboard and thinks “7 year old girl barbarian, who cries lucky charms and is inhabited by the consciousness of a 40 year old man”? Thankfully, Dinniman does.
For the most part the characters play out like you see in any other LITRPG. You have: the unknowing protagonist, the total know it all friend/ally, the side kick and laugh track, insert random bad guys here; do not forget the twists! Every one of these basic character archetypes are chewed up and spit out by the sadistic and sarcastic witt that is Matt Dinniman.
RPG: As it turns out, Dominion of Blades is the name of the video game all of our characters seem to be stuck in. Further reading of the book details exactly what, how, and why they became stuck; the story growing with the characters.
All around the story however is this magical word that Dinniman has built, using (at first glance) the basic building blocks of any good Fantasy book. Dwarves, mages, monsters, questing, gear upgrades, new skills and special abilities; all of these are found within the digital covers of this book. Again however, we must take note to the Dinniman twist on all things seemingly “normal”.
For instance, an epic battle ensues near the start of the book between a horde of rampaging evil gnomes; and the village that fights them off religiously. As the quest to dispatch of the gnomes becomes more and more complete however, new and more dreadful steps are added in order for the quest to ultimately be finished. Somehow, some way, Dinniman’s brain was able to take something like “an evil gnome raid on a village” and make it end with “the gigantic demon exploded into a billion pieces and killed everybody”.
Yea, that’s right, you read it correctly.
Audio: This was my first real listen to Andrea Parsneau. Having received a copy of this book to try after my conversation with her had included me saying “I just haven’t heard any good female narrators before”.
This book is peppered with amazing talent by both Dinniman and Parsneau. The voice of the characters are portrayed by both author and narrator in this amazing spot light, it seems as if each voice is deserving of it’s own background story (which happens often!). Andrea brings some amazing talent in her work with this book as well. I have heard many Male narrators try to pull off the rolling dwarven brogue of a town smithy; few actually succeed. Andrea not only pulls that off, she also pulls off: south African hippogriff, British voiced beaver-noids, male and female roles believably, a haughty demoness, 1 pompous king, sadistic mercenaries, and, of course…Poppy.
With the combination of these two astounding artists for both of their crafts, this book is surely NOT one to miss. Do yourself the favor now, and read this book.