Thursday, January 7, 2016

Audio Book Review: Nightblade


By:  Ryan Kirk

Publish Date:  August 3, 2015, Audiobook October 16, 2015

Format:  Audiobook - 13 hrs 18 mins
Narrated By:  Andrew Tell

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  1st in Nightblade series

Impression:  The return of a power in the people that was kept as shamed and guarded.

Ryuu is a boy orphaned by violence at a young age. Found by a wandering warrior, he learns he may have more strength than he ever imagined possible.

A quiet child, Moriko is forced into a monastic system she despises. Torn from her family and the forest she grew up in, she must fight to learn the skills she’ll need to survive her tutelage under the realm’s most dangerous assassin.

Young, beautiful, and broke, Takako is sold to pay for her father’s debts. Thrust into a world she doesn’t understand and battles she didn’t ask for, she must decide where her loyalties lie.

When their lives crash together in a Kingdom on the brink of war, the decisions they make will change both their lives and their Kingdom forever.

If they can stay alive.

First Sentence:
I am crawling, silent as a shadow, through the tall grass, each prolonged moment bleeding into the next.

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My Thoughts and Summary:
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request.

Ryuu, Moniko, and Takako are young children in different parts of the kingdom that have a touch of the sense. Each is sent on a different path in life. Ryuu watched his parents killed by bandits and is rescued by a man skilled with a sword. Ryuu follows Shigeru home and finds a father figure in the man while he learns the ability to use the sense strong in him along with the sword, growing into a powerful Nightblade. Moniko is found by the monks to have the old form of the sense and she's taken to the monastery to life under the thumb of the Abbot, in solitude with others like her. Moniko is different than those here and is taught by Herochi to be a Nightblade. Takako's father can't take care of all in his family and sells her to a brothel. Takako's kind soul struggles with all that happens after meeting Ryuu and the friendship they have when Ryuu comes to save her from the Generals cruel son. Their lives cross as time moves on, causing fear of the Nightblades to rise again.

This is the first for me listening to Andew as a narrator. He does subtle differences for a few characters, but this story doesn't seem to have as much dialog as it does thinking by the characters. Before I knew it, I thought there were notable differences for the characters, even when doing a drunk speaking. The chapters are set in each characters POV so it's easy to differentiate who's who. Andrew's work is clear and easy to understand as a narrator. The audio is clean and smooth. There were no distractions from his voice as he told the story. Andrew started to become the voice of the story and characters for me, long before half way.

There is a magic, of sorts, present. It's referred to as The Sense. Only some people are born with it. It seems to have changed in the way it works over the generations since the Great War. But there are a few that the power of the old ones is present, and strong. It seems this is the power that the Nightblades and Dayblades held, and could be what is feared by those of standing in the kingdom as they blame the Nightblades for the fall of the Great Kingdom. We start with seeing the Sense as a way to sense others or things around them. They can feel more keenly than others, beyond the natural five senses, and sense what move would be next in battle.

I really like the way Ryan leads us to learn of the Nightblades and Dayblades, and that there is a slight difference between the two. Through the lessons of these three kids as they grew to adults, we learn the different stories and history Nightblades and Dayblades have to the land.

Our three main characters start young and age through the book. The world searches for those of the Sense, but don't always find the ones of the old ones power. Ryuu is a perfect example of this. He's saved by Shigeru when his caravan returning home is attacked by bandits. Moriko is found by a monk that tests all the young children, only because of touch. She is spared from death by the Abbot to become like Herochi, a Nightblade that can track others of his kind, which the Abbot wants in his command. Takako is a gentle soul sold to a brothel by her father. She doesn't want fighting and death, but she's stuck in the middle watching it happen around her.

The world has those that are strong with a blade yet have a strong honor and restraints on themselves. A sort of with power comes great responsibility, and consequences when it's used. Then there is the opposite of the mindless cruelty and abuse of power and revenge. The book did have me thinking on how peace would be nice to have as the characters spoke their thoughts, and some listened to what was said.

There's not much dialog early in the book. Feels as though thoughts and telling of the world through events the characters live through. We start with a prologue. I could go either way on this, keep or not. It's here as a catcher to draw you into the story. I wondered for a good bit of the book when we would learn where it was from. I think I did finally place it, but it wasn't referenced in the same manner as where I thought it fit. As we get into the book and meet our characters, I felt like there was over explaining of family and family history. My mind started wondering in these moments, which is like skimming when reading. But as the book moved on, this became less and less and we got more of the current events and worries.

There is a strong sense of Oriental influence in this story from the dress to the manner of descriptions by characters to the honor of sword battle. I loved this feel to the book.

I found that I rather enjoyed the story here. There were some slow moments in the beginning but the story finished strong. I look forward to continuing the series.


Blodeuedd said...

This sounds good

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh this one does sound good. I really like the sound of Ryuu and Takako.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Blodeuedd, it is. It's a bit slow at first, but it picks up and makes up for it in the end. :)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Melissa (B&T) Yes, the names are very original here. I like that! :D

LilyElement said...

Glad you enjoyed even though it started slow.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Thank you LilyElement. In the end, it was rather worth a listen. :)