Fascinating First Foray into Fantasy
Last week I had the pleasure of listening to Narrator Alix Nicole's performance of my friend C.D. Tavenor's first foray into fantasy - Legacy of Light. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Tavenor to produce First of Their Kind last year & its sequel, Their Greatest Game (now waiting for him to listen to it & get me any edits before it goes live on Audible.)
I love when one author can capture such different styles so well. With FOTK & TGG, Tavenor takes in some instances an extreme birds eye view, peppering the story with news bytes from more than 2 centuries. In Legacy of Light, you still get a story drawn out over a more extended period of time, but it is highly personal. The only thing that - were I not already aware that it was the same author - might have tipped me off as to it being by the same author, is Tavenor's again challenging his readers preconceived notions about humanity & what makes us think of something as "normal."
The book is essentially 3 stories & generational in their progression. Each tale is told in first person from the person on whom the People of Light's present & future hinges.
In the first two stories, I found myself wondering, "HEY, Why didn't you call ME to narrate this?" Not that Alix Nicole did an inadequate job as a narrator, but because the person in the story narrating is most definitely male (and, I believe, Orc). Nicole's narration for them is pretty good, and as a male who has narrated female characters, I'm sure some people may take issue with my "female" performances.
When I got to the 3rd storyline in the book, revolving around Ermo, Grandaughter of Maripes (Narrator for story 1), & daughter of Mono (Narrator for story 2), it became apparent why he wanted a female narrator. Ermo is where the story comes to a climax & I'm assuming will be the heroine of forthcoming books in the saga, so it makes sense to have a female narrator.
I enjoy in both this book & in the Chornicles of Theren series, how Tavenor presents his stories in a way that lets the reader stand back & make their own choices about what is right or wrong in the story, though it is apparent that he has his own opinions. In this novel, the usual archetype of Orcs as the bad guys & humans (or elves, or hobbits etc) as the bad guys is turned on its head a little. He teases us in this book with 2 civilizations - the Holy Empire, and the People of Light.
Only one character in this book really has much development, Ermo. The journey she takes is believable & I liked her character progression.
This book is obviously just the start of a series & in some ways really seems more like a teaser than anything else. Some folks may not like that, but I found the world Tavenor has created & Alix Nicole's performance of it engaging enough that I want to know what happens from here & am looking forward to it. Understanding a bit of his writing methodology - I'm sure he's got a long term plan for this world he's created. Maybe I'll even get to narrate some of it. :)
So... Rating it: Plot & General writing - 4.5 stars. It's a little slow at times, but intriguing enough for me to bump it up another half above 4 stars. Narration - 4 Stars. I liked the accents she used for the folks from the Holy Empire. I could have used a little clearer differentiation between other characters, but she still did an admirable job, especially seeing that it looks like this is her first foray into Audiobook production. . I think her first shot beats my first shot. Good luck to her in the future. Maybe we could work together on a dual narration down the road? ;)
And overall... Probably 4.5 stars here too. I was left wanting more! I do kind of wish there had been just a little more in this particular book too. That would have bumped it up to 5
I do kind of think this book might have benefited from dual narration - At least for the first 2 stories, but it didn't really detract for me at all, and Nicole's performance for the Empress of the Holy Empire was excellent. I just wish we got to hear more of her before... well... spoilers..
(I did receive a promo copy of this from C.D. Tavenor, but my opinions are still my own. Thanks. Fun book!)