4.5/5 A Deliciously Dark Fantasy
Disclaimer: I was given a free audio code by the author. He did not ask me for a review but I will be providing an honest one.
This is my first audiobook so I was keen to try it out and see what all the fuss is about. It took me maybe half an hour of narration before my mind kicked in and I no longer heard the narrator, just the characters and the story she was narrating which was a bit of a revelation in itself. For me, it will never beat a book but I enjoyed my experience immensely and can see the popular appeal.
The book was narrated by Cari Scholtens and she did amazing work. Our eponymous hero is male and many of the stories are male-centric yet she did an excellent job of distinguishing all of the characters giving each a distinctive inflexion. The highest accolade I can give her is that I did not notice her after my brain had adjusted to the medium.
So the story or stories – These are a collection of short stories giving depth and background to Soloman Pace. I am not a short story reader by and large but this collection I did not mind because they were all about Soloman Pace. It gave an intriguing and beguiling look into the history of this character. Is he evil, egomaniacal, brutal in the extreme, uncompromising? Yep, pretty much all this and more. He likes to operate in the shadows pulling the strings but at the same time is not above getting his hands bloody and even takes a perverse pleasure in it.
Soloman is no Nightwalker (Vampire) but he evoked the menace of Vlad the Impaler to my mind. Self-confident (overly so in many cases) but he was so much more than someone inherently evil and each story added another layer of complexity to the man. Yeah, he was bad, but he was never bad just for the sake of it. His actions always had a purpose and he was willing to do whatever was needed to achieve it and at whatever cost (mainly to others but hey-ho he is a badass).
Soloman Pace did show glimpses of compassion. Not much and never on open display but it tantalised in several of the stories, enough to know he possessed some, even if it was buried pretty deep. I particularly liked the last story, I thought it was artfully done and very clever because it seemed, almost, an antithesis to what had gone before.
I’d like to thank the author, first for giving me a free code because it introduced me to his work but second for writing his stories. I know what a great effort it takes, oft with little reward and even less recognition. Alan Scott, you are not only a good writer, but you’re also a great storyteller. For me, it doesn’t get much better than that.