Narrator: Jeff Hays
Series: The Devine #1
on 08 April 2014
Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Buy from Audible Buy from Amazon.comAdd to Goodreads
My name is Landon Hamilton. Once upon a time I was a twenty-three year old security guard, trying to regain my life after spending a year in prison for stealing people's credit card numbers.
Now, I'm dead.
Okay, I was supposed to be dead. I got killed after all; but a funny thing happened after I had turned the mortal coil...
I met Dante Alighieri - yeah, that Dante. He told me I was special, a diuscrucis. That's what they call a perfect balance of human, demon, and angel. Apparently, I'm the only one of my kind.
I also learned that there was a war raging on Earth between Heaven and Hell, and that I was the only one who could save the human race from annihilation. He asked me to help, and I was naive enough to agree.
Sounds crazy, I know, but he wished me luck and sent me back to the mortal world. Oh yeah, he also gave me instructions on how to use my Divine 'magic' to bend the universe to my will. The problem is, a sexy vampire crushed them while I was crushing on her.
Now I have to somehow find my own way to stay alive in a world of angels, vampires, werewolves, and an assortment of other enemies that all want to kill me before I can mess up their plans for humanity's future. If that isn't enough, I also have to find the queen of all demons and
recover the Holy Grail.
It's not like it's the end of the world if I fail.
Wait. It is.
©2013 Michael Forbes (P)2014 Michael Forbes
Balance is a very good and unique entry in the already overly crowded urban fantasy genre. Balance is the first book of a 6 book series (so far, as of 7/16). If you are tired of the same old story of a magic using private investigator, give Balance a try. It is an enjoyable and interesting take on Good vs Evil and explores the possibility and responsibilities of a third party in that two party fight. I can see how there are going to be significant moral quandaries in future installments as one party or another gains the upper hand and the protagonist and his allies return balance to the conflict. It will be interesting to see how the protagonist and his allies handle them these moral dilemmas and where it takes them in their personal development.
Just a few minutes into the story our protagonist, Landon, gets killed. He wakes up in Purgatory and soon learns that he is unique: he is exactly equal parts angelic, demonic, and human and, as such, is needed to represent the cosmic force of balance in the ongoing battle between Heaven and Hell. His mission is to make sure neither party, Heaven or Hell, ever gets the upper hand because if they do, humanity will be the real loser. He is soon thrown, untrained, into the thick of things on Earth and learns that both of the forces of Heaven and Hell agree on only one thing: the representatives of Balance are universally hated and killed on sight. Landon has powers but no idea what they are or how to use them and it is interesting to see how he adapts to his circumstances. Along the way Landon picks up a few allies and their inclusion promises depth and character growth in subsequent adventures. The plot is fast-paced and easily held my attention as I finished this almost 10 hr audiobook in a day and a half. I *greatly* appreciated that the author refrained from making this an angst-ridden novel of “o woe is me, am I Good or Bad?” and had the protagonist accept his role and move on.
The narration by Jeff Hays was superb. He demonstrated remarkable skill with his voice. For example, a 10 year old girl sounded like a 10 yr old girl, not a man trying to sound like a girl (I am still trying to figure out how he did it!). There were plenty of opportunities for him to show off his talents: cultured Italian accented English, demonic and angelic voices of both sexes, rage, grief, remorse. There were several instances of appropriate and intentional overdubbing (for ex, a giggle/chuckle in the background as the character spoke) and several examples of the use of electronic voice modulation as a were-beast or angel or demon raged and it was said in the text how the character’s voice reverberated… This was an excellent example of how an audiobook experience can be more than just a book read aloud. This was simply a superb performance and it elevated a good book to very good status. I have added Mr Hays to my “Narrators-to-be-watched” category and would gladly base a buying decision on his choice as narrator/performer of that audiobook. The production quality was above average and showed an attention to detail that I normally associate with Audible Studios or Blackstone Audio productions; for production quality, a compliment doesn’t get much better than that!
Balance is a worthy entry into the urban fantasy genre and a promising start to a series with unlimited potential. The real stars of this book were the interesting premise and the excellent narration. With a lot of the character development and world building out of the way, I anticipate successive novels will be difficult for the listener to hit pause. I am definitely going to be exploring more of this interesting world and conflict Mr Forbes has given us.
I received this audiobook for free courtesy of Audiobook Jukebox in exchange for a fair and unbiased review and doing so has no effect on my review, positive or negative.
- Guest Review: Cthulhu Armageddon by C.T. Phipps - November 21, 2016
- Guest Review: Imperium by Nicholas Olivo - September 3, 2016
- Guest Review: Beijing Red (A Nick Foley Thriller Book 1) by Alex Ryan - August 2, 2016
- Guest Review: The Nightmare Stacks (The Laundry Files Book 7) by Charles Stross - August 1, 2016
- Guest Review: The Devil’s Detective (Thomas Fool Book 1) by Simon Kurt Unsworth - August 1, 2016