Narrator: Kevin Meyer
Series: Corruption Cycle #1
on 18 July 2017
Length: 13 hrs and 57 mins
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy
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A dishonored swordsman running from his past.
A city shrouded in dark magic.
An antihero born.
Daniel Harper was champion, until a single mistake destroyed his fencing career forever. With nothing left to lose, he flees to Eastern Europe, where he can start over... where he can be someone else.
In the exotic, lantern-lit crevices of a nameless city, Daniel meets two people who open very different kinds of doors than the ones he is searching for: the troubled flower girl Kashka, who holds the key to a nightmarish otherworld; and the enigmatic street magician and self-professed love tourist Ink, who has the power to bend others to his will.
As Daniel plummets into a downward spiral of hedonism and dereliction, he is tormented by macabre visions of a frozen world in endless darkness where an evil tyrant has stolen the sun, where humanity's remnants fight to scrape out a cruel existence underground, and wandering spirits inhabit the bodies of the recently deceased. Daniel is doomed to return to this Night Country every time he falls into a deep sleep. But the longer he spends there, the more Daniel realizes his curse is anything but an accident....
©2017 Adam Christopher Kennedy (P)2017 Adam Christopher Kennedy
This story was a bit different from what I normally read. First, you have Daniel Harper, an ex-Kendo champion, who has moved to an ex-Soviet country to work for a publishing company translating local works into English. Then you have the Night Country, a post-apocalyptic world that is dark, grim, cold, and cluttered with scary creatures where the Vermin (the last true humans) do their best to survive underground. Then we have a few bits about a very talented masked swordsman called the Rat Catcher, a nemesis of the Vermin.
This story is full of opposites and it caused opposite feelings in me. I was totally engaged all the way through and yet I don’t really like Daniel. Still, I found myself rooting for him; I want him to pull it together and become that hero this story is crying out for. The ladies at first are all sex objects and silly, one-dimensional things. This does change about 4 hours into the book with the Vermin. Those ladies can take care of themselves and then some! So, at first I was a little turned off the story but once we get some gender balance going on, I really started to love this story.
Let’s talk about the two main story lines. First Daniel is laden down by guilt over the death of his past girlfriend and this colors all this relationships. He seems to have given up on steering his own life and he’s willing to take guidance from anyone, including these two questionable guys he meets at the bar. Ugh! I just wanted to slap Daniel so many times. It’s like he’s ghosting through his own life, not really attached to it. I wonder if this is what Adam Vine wanted the reader to feel about Daniel.
So Daniel starts drinking too much on a regular basis and he asks any woman who gives him the chance if she’s French, because that’s the pick up line he was told to use by his new buddies at the bar. Yep, Daniel is not your typical hero, is he? Anyway, eventually he meets Kashka (who has her own issues) and he spends the rest of the book breaking up with her and getting back together. There’s also the Blot! Hahahaha! I’m surprised that’s the only thing he picked up.
Now to the Night Country. Daniel wakes up in clothes not his own in the freezing cold and right away he has to do a fight to the death with this eyeless hulk of a beastman. Then he comes across Zaea, a woman who also wonders how she got here to this frozen world. I loved the Night Country! Though Daniel takes his sweet time becoming an active participant in his own fate even in this messed up world.
The biologist in me reveled in the beasties of the Night Country. There’s giant mites! Not cat sized, not pig sized, no, they are house sized! Aaacchhhh! Run away! And the Vermin do, taking Daniel and Zaea prisoners as they flee. Now Zaea at first isn’t much more than a pretty face and someone for Daniel to ponder on how to flirt with. Later on she also comes into her own, demonstrating her skills.
The Rat Catcher and his overlord kind of tie everything together with this mystical spiral and some weird traveling and what not. I don’t understand it all yet, but I don’t think I’m supposed to. It does give a magical way for Daniel’s soul to travel between his humdrum translator job and his hopeful hero role in Night Country.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this book. It’s a bit of a mystery as to where it’s going but I like that’s it’s not your typical quest fantasy story.
I received a free copy of this book.
The Narration: Kevin Meyer was a decent choice for this book. The volume was steady all the way through and I think there was only one repeated sentence in the whole performance. He makes a really great Daniel. However, his female voices were lacking femininity. Also, he doesn’t have a wide range of voices and didn’t use accents, so sometimes the characterizations weren’t distinct and I had to listen closely to keep track of who was saying what. I don’t know why he didn’t use accents for Daniel’s friends and colleagues in the ex-Soviet country, but perhaps the author asked him not to. He was really great at portraying Daniel’s emotions throughout the story. His narration definitely added to the suspense and the gravity of the tale as needed.
This review first appeared on Dab of Darkness.
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