Narrator: Stefan Rudnicki
Series: Harbinger of Doom #1
on 17 August 2016
Length: 6 hrs and 59 mins
Genres: Fantasy, Horror
Source: Author, Submitted
Mad wizards wrenched open a gateway to hell on Eotrus land. A gateway that's determined to stay open.
What is the young knight, Claradon Eotrus, to do when he discovers that the man he recruited to help him close that gateway is either the greatest hero the world has ever known or the devil himself, thrown down from the heavens by the gods in olden days? Is he out to save Midgaard or destroy it? Does he serve the Norse gods: Odin, Thor, and the rest, or did he slay them? And if he's truly the harbinger of doom, how can Claradon stop him? How can he even survive him?
Claradon's Midgaard is a world filled of valiant knights, mysterious sorcerers, ruthless bounty hunters, complex political intrigues, and monsters of myth and legend: the undead of this variety and that, gods and demons, and otherworldly evils so frightening you dare not listen to these books before sleep. But most of all, it's filled with stories that you will always remember, and characters that you will never forget.
©2014 Glenn G. Thater (P)2016 Glenn G. Thater
ABR received this audiobook for free from the Author, Submitted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the audiobook or the content of our review.Buy from Audible Buy from Amazon.comAdd to Goodreads
Gateway to Nifleheim opens with a group of would-be heroes about to do battle with some unknown dangerous screaming foe. Mighty warriors alone may not be enough to take down this deadly antagonist. Luckily, they have a wizard and a holy man. However, we learn with this first scene that even their powers aren’t enough to get this band of heroes out of harm’s way. It’s dark and suspenseful, getting me hooked right away.
The story then switches to the walled city and castle of House Eotrus. Claradon Eotrus awaits the return of his father, King Aradron. Alas, he may never see him since there is an unknown villain outside the walls in the nearby forest. The howling is driving the dwarves mad since they have extra sensitive hearing. Plenty of candle wax is put to use stopping up ears. Men, dwarves, and gnomes are about to face monsters from Nifleheim and they have no idea what they are in for. Except for the enigmatic warrior Angle Theta and his friend of many years gone Gabriel Garn. Once that six legged horse-like beast crashes through a window, then the rest get an idea of what terrors they face. I really liked that scene, by the way.
Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed this book. And now I will tell you that I love it despite it’s one big flaw – no women. Yep. There are zero female characters in this book. A few of the men sometimes think about their moms or a woman they were romantically interested in but there are no female characters in the book. The Hobbit was the same way and I still love that book. You can love something even if it’s flawed.
This story pulls together these strands of heroes set out on a specific task and yet they may end up saving the world, unknown villain(s) with unknown desires, and these two superheroes that have some tucked away knowledge on what the group faces. The whole story feels like it’s happening in a thunderstorm. It’s gloomy, grey, and constantly has the potential for the application of deadly force. I loved it. I wanted to listen to this book late at night during a rainstorm.
Claradon has to finish growing up fast as a group is assembled to seek out his father’s group of warriors and potentially kill whatever is out there making all that racket. He joined a religious group of knights and this task takes on a spiritual quest feel to it. He wasn’t my favorite character and I would have been OK with him making some big sacrifice to save another.
The dwarf Ob acts as the grumpy older guy and chief counselor to Claradon. I liked his gruff ways tho sometimes he used phrases that would be more at home in an old Western than in this Nordic-inspired monster hunt. Perhaps twice in this book, his odd phrases catapulted out the story as I said, ‘Huh? Why is that phrase there?’ but then I was quickly pulled back in by the tale.
I was most intrigued by Theta since he has this mysterious air to him. He comes from afar when he’s needed most. His old friendship with Gabriel raises an eyebrow or two with Gabriel’s fellow warriors since Gabriel has never mentioned Theta. Then there’s the few scenes involving worship or invoking the blessings of this deity or that. Theta doesn’t really take part and has some enigmatic things to say about the gods. Could he be Odin on walkabout? Perhaps, but I would have to read the rest of the series to find out for sure.
The story winds up with a big fight between the monsters of Nifleheim and this band of warriors. The monsters had this Cthulhu feel to them. Yes, there was at least one tentacled monster. There were also man-like creatures that wielded arcane weapons and magic. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if anyone from this group was going to make out alive. It was edge-of-the-seat action as the fight went on. In the end, I had a satisfying conclusion to this tale while leaving it open for Book 2, which I’m looking forward to.
The narration by Stefan Rudnicki is amazing. He has the perfect voice for this story that is so full of suspense, action, and Save the World theme. He had a softer, more contemplative voice for Claradon while also having a wonderfully gruff, edgy voice for Ob. I liked his confident warrior voice for Theta as well. Once the monsters appear on the scene, Rudnicki had a variety of voices for them as well.
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