Blademage Beastmaster by Deck Davis
Narrated by J. Scott Bennett
“He thought about lying, but it was pointless. It all came back to “protecting the ego”; that is the only reason for it.”
I had been looking at the cover for this book for some time now. Eagerly anticipating the day I am to be given the opportunity to review it. At first look the cover speaks to me of fond memories in my younger literary world. Perhaps I have mounted this particular work a bit too high for my expectations.
First let me just say, overall, the book is good. Not great, but not really bad either. It definitely has some peaks and valleys however, which median result into just that; average. The story is simple and one fans of this genre have heard time and again. A man is brought into a fantastic video game world by one or several gods.
The pivotal pantheon player here is the unlikely source of divine power in; The God of Corn. Shucks, what an earful you’re going to get in unraveling this tale indeed. In its entirety, the first chapter explains why the gods are meddling in the the affairs of mortals. It would seem our lowly valued, but highly charismatic “God of Harvests” is tired of being the low man on the totem pole. Wishing to have more ability to impact the lives of his worshippers; he seeks employment in a different category of work. Being denied the job he applied for, yet still loved by a few other gods. He is given the chance to shape the life on an individual in a video game world to which will neither harm the human’s reality or give the God much room to fail.
This is where the book started to completely lose me, which isn’t good as I have stated this was the first chapter. Moving along we follow the human “Charles” on his adventure and exploits into this video game fantasy world. A lot of the elements to the book are the same archetypes as usual however being put into interesting new skins. For instance, he meets a spear wielding-alchemical practicing-half gnome female almost immediately upon entering his first dungeon. That character sounds so cool in theory; it just fell flat for me.
This is the recurring theme to this book, unfortunately. There are many ideas given to which sound good on paper, ironically, do not work in practice for a book; at least not written this way. The use of language Deck Davis employs is actually pretty good, however, it reminds me of a teenager’s first attempt at writing. That feeling of “I’m going to be so different, it is bound to be original!” rings very loudly throughout the narration.
As an avid fantasy reader, I can appreciate the attempt to shine light on some of the more overlooked races and class types found in some of the older roleplaying games. They just do not work in this instance. Take the title of the book “Blademage Beastmaster” right off the bat, I as the reader, am expecting an awesome sword wielding spell slinger who can control animals. What we get instead is a lacklustre dagger friendly character who just likes animals. Like I said, it falls pretty flat.
The narrator chosen for this book has a lot of the same going for him. I really liked his voice, but not for this book. All through my time listening, I was constantly thinking that J. Scott Bennett sounded like a joyous Father Christmas who was sharing a bedtime story with his tired worker elves. In fact, the book even put me to sleep, twice. That is quite the accomplishment. I spent twice the length of this book, listening for and double checking my opinion on the material. Through both listens I kept an open mind and prepared for plenty of notes. I was rewarded with a short, restful nap and the same opinion each time; meh.
I honestly will have forgotten this book by next week, as such, I can say definitively that this book is safe to avoid. You will not feel any less accomplishment by not adding its title to your purchased works. With that being said, if you read this review and fancy yourself an audiobook reviewer then please give it a go and tell us what you think.
Once again to reiterate; I enjoyed J. Scott Bennett as a narrator; not for this book, however. The writing was good, but nothing noteworthy or outstanding. The characters tried really hard, but ended up getting nowhere. The book lasted a lot longer than I think it should have; yet somehow seemed to get nothing done. Give it a whirl, maybe it is just me, somehow I doubt it, however.