Audiobook Review: Moonbane by Al Sarrantonio

8 05 2011

Moonbane by Al Sarrantonio

Read by Kevin Readdean

Crossroad Press/Spring Brook Audio

Genre: Horror/Science Fiction

Quick Thoughts: A fast paced, unique Apocalyptic Tale told smoothly by narrator Kevin Readdean.

Grade: B+

Just when you thought you have read very type of Apocalyptic scenario. You see, I love Apocalyptic novels. In high school I read The Stand twice, and The Stand: The Complete & Uncut edition 3 more times. By my last count, I have read or listened to over 125 post apocalyptic books, and it’s been a few years since I actually counted. I have read books about the end coming from virus, economic collapse, peak oil crisis, killer insects, zombies, vampires, nuclear war, alien invasion, alien space bats, astronomical catastrophes, man eating plants and the breakdown of the laws of physics. In fact, I probably have read each of those scenarios multiple times. Yet, I have never before experienced a book about an apocalyptic event caused by werewolves from the moon. Well, until now. Al Sarrantonio’s apocalyptic werewolf novel was originally published in 1989. It’s nice to see some passed over horror/science fiction novels be given the audiobook treatment. Luckily, small audiobook publishers have been producing a lot of old school style horror novels that the bigger name production companies overlook. Hopefully, these productions will find success, allowing for more forgotten gems to be given a chance in this format.

As for the book, Moonbane is a fast paced action filled apocalyptic novel. The action begins from the first moments of the book, and doesn’t relent. I found the main protagonist, Jason Blake, to be the ideal type of apocalyptic participant. Blake is an everyman type, a poet, who brings no type of special skills to the fight, beyond his humanity. There is a tendency in some tales of the end, to favor the prepared. The survivalists, or gun nut, who saw the end coming for a long time. While this perspective has its merits, I find it hard to relate. I personally don’t own an arsenal, nor am I skilled at the martial arts. I don’t even keep my nuclear fallout bunker well stocked, well because I don’t have one. So, Jason Blake must take on the legion of werewolves by himself, and later with a small group of survivors, with just his wits, since he really isn’t that good of a shot. There is a lot to like about Moonbane. It’s a short novel (roughly 5 hours) and its action is nonstop, so the time just flies. As with a lot of apocalyptic novels, there are grueling and heartbreaking moments, and a lot of tough choices brought on by the extreme situation. Yet, what makes this novel stand out is the unique and well orchestrated ending. Sarrantonio doesn’t broadcast his intentions for his finale, but allows the pieces to fall into place before turning things on its head.  For fans of B-Movie horror, yet with a poetic twist, I recommend checking out Moonbane by Al Sarrantonio.

One of my concerns whenever considering something by a smaller publisher is narrations. A lot of times, especially with horror novels, it seems that the narrator cast for the production has a deep, monotonous voice. Yet Kevin Readdean, the narrator of Moonbane, has a nice, conversational tone that works well with the novel. He handles the rhythm of the book well, slowly describing the escalating action, instead of trying to rush through it attempts to create a false feeling of suspense as some narrators do. Readdean isn’t going to blow you away with his characterizations, he chooses subtle tone changes, with appropriate accents with his characters. The book isn’t big on character development, because of its brevity and fast pace, so this style works well within the scopes of this book. It will be interesting to see Readdean’s narration evolve with something that requires more range and vocal character building. All in all, I found this to be a fun, quick listen, and one of the better productions coming from the smaller production houses. 


Note: I would like to thank narrator Kevin Readdean for pointing out this production to me and providing me with a review copy, knowing full well that if I didn’t like it, I would say so. You can purchase this production at Crossroads Press (for a reasonable price of $9.99) at this link: Moonbane by Al Sarrantonio



One response

9 05 2011

can you make a list of the books please.I am a big fan of the genre and read all the usual suspects would love to disocver new ones.

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