Audiobook Review: Firestorm by Taylor Anderson

10 11 2011

Firestorm by Taylor Anderson (Destroyermen, Book 6)

Read by William Dufris

Tantor Audio

Length: 18 Hrs 2 Mins

Genre: Military Fantasy

Quick Thoughts:There is a lot going on in Firestorm, yet Anderson never lets the various plots of the series slip away from him. Firestorm offers us new perspectives on old enemies, new tactics and weapons while also providing the characters, situations and feel that made us fans of the series in the first place.

Grade: B+

With many good science fiction/fantasy series there is an obvious progression of scope. The first book in a series is usually the most intimate tale, dealing with an individual of small group of people as they experience the author’s world. Yet, as a series progresses, and the author continues to build upon the world he has created, the issue grow, more people become affected and the world expands, and with this we often lose a lot of that intimate feeling. Often times character’s that are major players in the early part of the series, get moved to peripheral roles, or disappear completely. The action becomes spread out, and so much of the book get’s taken up in exploring the expanded world, and the logistics of the universe. Sometimes, an author can lose focus of the book, letting the world he created dictate the pace, and leaves the reader with the feel that the books are just padding to keep the series going. This is were readers can become frustrated, feeling as if nothing really moves forward in a book, and the series begins to stagnate. Yet, sometimes authors embrace the grandeur of their larger world, introducing new twists and building on characters and relationships and keeping true to their original concept. Firestorm is Taylor Anderson’s sixth novel in his Destroyermen series, about a group of WWII soldier sucked into an alternate version of earth full of dangerous creature and warring species. Luckily for fans of the series, Anderson’s focus remains strong, giving us another exciting edition of his series.

If there was a theme to Firestorm, it would have to be adaptation. While the Human and Lemurian Alliance’s war against the Grik has changed from a defensive battle to offensive, in the east, the shaky new alliance between Matthew Reddy’s force and New Britain begin to take on the twisted forces of the Dominion. While improvement in technology has again given the alliance an edge on the Grik, new Grik leadership has began to develop actually military tactics. Anderson has created a carefully plotted game of one-upmanship between the Allies, and their changing enemy. It’s fascinating to actually begin to see the Grik as more than a mindless horde as individuality and innovation become more prized traits. With the changes n the Grik philosophy Anderson has added a new element that allows what could have become a tiresome formulaic plot to remain interesting. Taylor also continues to impress with his use of the strange fauna of this new world. These creatures are not just curiosities, but have direct and often drastic effects on the movements and battles taking place among the various sentient species. Another element that has contributed to keeping the series fresh is the new enemy, the Dominion. It’s interesting to see an enemy as viscous and single minded as the Grik, yet being human. There is a lot going on in Firestorm, yet Anderson never lets the various plots of the series slip away from him. Firestorm offers us new perspectives on old enemies, new tactics and weapons while also providing the characters, situations and feel that made us fans of the series in the first place.

The audiobook opens with a memorandum of sorts, outlining the locations and logistics of various Alliance Forces. William Dufris reading of this memorandum is a perfect example of what I love about the way he narrates this series. Dufris reads it in an almost poetic manner with the Lemurian emphasis to the words, giving old place names a new ring. Dufris has to take on tons of characters in this series, and he does it so very well. From the reptilian Lawrence, to Silva’s bravado each voice hit all the right notes. Dufris brings so much to the series, and really makes it a joy to listen to. If you have yet to experience this series or Dufris narration, I highly recommend checking out Into the Storm, the initial entry into this world. If you already are a fan, then Firestorm will not disappoint.

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