Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Audio Book Review: The Instruments of Control

The Instruments of Control

By:  Craig Schaefer

Publish Date:  April 19, 2015, Audiobook Release November 9, 2015

Format:  Audiobook - 11 hrs 38 mins
Narrated By:  Susannah Jones

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  2nd book in Revanche Cycle series; 1st Book ~ Winter's Reach

First Impression:  The tides are changing, and dangers are shifting.

Livia Serafini must die.

To the Church she is a heretic, tried in absentia and sentenced to burn. To her brother Carlo, she stands as a threat to his corrupt rule and a symbol of resistance. To her new "allies" in the east, she is a pawn to be played and sacrificed as they see fit. They don't hear the whispers that follow her in the streets: whispers of hope, and the name of a long-dead saint.

When Livia rises up to fight, she will not rise alone.

Across the ocean, Felix struggles for control of his family's fate against the crime lord Basilio Grimaldi. Basilio is wealthy, ruthless, and the master of a hundred killers. All Felix has are his wits and his courage. It won't be enough. To break free, and to save the lives of everyone he loves, he'll have to face the darkness that followed him home from Winter's Reach.

And as the Owl's horrific vengeance unfolds, her coven teeters on the brink of civil war. All the dominoes are in place now, lined up from the frozen north to the swamps and ruins of a dead empire, and set to tumble at one man's command. When they do, a world will fall with them.

First Sentence:
Otto Blum often claimed he'd lost his taste for prayer.

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My Thoughts and Summary:
*I requested to review a copy of this audiobook for an honest review from the author.

Livia was able to get the remaining people to safe harbor, but is it safe for Livia? King Rhys and his adviser, Merrion, wonder what Carlo and the Church will give them for Livia's return. Simon's not to go after his only target that got away, Felix. But Basilio Grimaldi was to, and still needs to, die. With Felix marrying Basilio's daughter, Aita, he takes pleasure in thinking how accidents could happen...at the wedding. Felix's worry for his love's safety may have put her in greater danger. Basilio now has hunters looking for Renada. There is something more going on in the city as someone is trying to do what Aita and Felix are planning, kill Basilio Grimaldi. Everything Werner told Mari about the Order of the Autumn Lance is about to be exposed, now that they cross a woman who wants to hire them to find the remaining members of the Order. Is Nessa who she claims to be? But what Werner knows of the Order of the Autumn Lance could be trouble for them...

I am thrilled to say Susannah is back with the second book. I enjoyed her voice and reading in Winter's Reach, and continue to do the same here. I really enjoyed the voice and attitude Susannah added to each character as she narrated the story. The voice differences are slight but you know the difference and who is who. Susannah has the emotion of each character down pat, from the leer of a threat to the shock of learning that you'd just sealed the death warrant of your loved one. She did slight voice differences for each character, differentiating each character for us as she brings them to life.

Susannah's voice coupled with Craig's descriptions gives us, and Susannah the narrator, the clear direction of what emotion is felt by each character. Craig has the right format and amount of description to emphasis the story and draw the scenes around for us. He has me wanting to listen to it all and hear what's going to happen with the characters I've grown to love.

This may not be the high magic fantasy full of Orc's, Elves, and other fierce creatures but the people present in this world are just as dangerous and cunning. We do have witches that bring magic to the world, but the things people put into action and work to get their way... oh I love it. Death, lies, backstabbing, it's all here! I'm drawn in with Craig's masterful imagery with words. The world and the characters past are used to highlight the characters now, then, and the world we are currently in. All are touched on in few words yet drawing a huge picture.

I love how the tides change and the dangers turn from person to person. Craig is skillful in crafting the schemes that the characters create and how they turn to bring death to the doorstep and threats from others. Where we saw the characters in the beginning is not where the characters are in the end. They have evolved in the events happening around and to them. Mari, Felix, Aita, Renata, Livia, all of them and more have grown in so many ways. No one is safe in this world, anywhere.

We lose some characters in this book, which can be expected. However! It's the manner of which they die. Some are unexpected and by the hand of those we wouldn't have expected. I love it!

We get to see the witches at work here. Their way of things start to be divulged to us. Interesting as they are hiding something too! And what we experienced in Winter's Reach is starting to be explained here. Oh what the world has to offer. The witches are more important than we saw in Winter's Reach. They start to come out in this book with the events that happen and lead them to where they are, for revenge, self defense, and accidental usage.

A mind catching fantasy read. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series!


Blodeuedd said...

Ohh, sounds good

Unknown said...

Fantasy is fantasy, even if this doesn't have the usual, it sounds like it's well executed

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Oh, Blodeuedd. These have held my attention and I love the stories here. I think you could give these a try. I'd be curious to hear what you think.

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Talk Supe, you are exactly right! And it is very well executed. :)