Audiobook Review: Acheron by Bryon Morrigan

3 02 2012

Acheron by Bryon Morrigan

Read by Joe Barrett

Audible Frontiers

Length: 8 Hrs 4 Min

Genre: Horror

Quick Thoughts: Acheron should appeal to fans of Brian Keene and others who cleverly twist the Zombie subgenre making it more than just cannibalism corpses preying on small groups of survivors. While it has some flaws, it makes up for it with an engaging first person protagonist.

Grade: B-

We all have done that mental exercise were we decide things that we would do differently if we could go back to our high school days with the knowledge we have now. Well, I think we all have, unless I am more of a freak of nature than my sister insisted I was back in those same days. One thing I would change is I would choose to study more cool thinks in my high school and college curriculum than I did. I spent so much time in classes that I "should" take, and not enough time learning things that actually interests me. I wish I would have taken more history classes, and classes on mythology and the like, because, when it comes to the mythology of ancient civilizations, I really don’t know all that much. When I read books that are full of mythological creatures, I am fascinated by the variety of belief we as a species have had. Growing up in a pretty strict evangelical family, religion was pretty much set in stone. There really wasn’t much comparative religion going on, besides ridiculing other belief systems for their crazy superstitions. Even in my public high school we briefly touched on Egyptian mythology and Greek mythology, and it basically ended there. While I highly doubt that my increased knowledge in mythology would have given me any real world advantage, at least I would have some cool stories to tell at parties.

I downloaded Bryon Morrigan’s Acheron a few months back, but for some reason, no fault of its own, it kept on getting pushed back in my "to be listened to" pile. Yet, last weekend seemed a good time for some zombie killing action. Acheron piqued my interest because it didn’t seem like the typical zombie tale, and for someone who consumes as much zombie fiction as I do, I like to find something a bit different from time to time. I mean, honestly, how many brains can one lifeless corpse devourer before it’s tempted to try some entrails? Acheron is a first person tale of Army Captain Nate Leathers in Iraq, who after being captured by the enemy and held in a dungeon like cell for a while, escapes to find himself in a strangely changed world enshrouded in a green fog. As Leathers travels the dessert, he encounters monsters and the living dead. Acheron is non-stop action, full of monsters both human and mythological. It’s an interesting twist on the zombie genre, but when really makes it stand out is its protagonist. Captain Leathers is a fascinating character and not you’re typical military scifi or Zombie survivalist hero. I like how Morrigan used the mythological aspects of the story, but to be honest, during the major mythological sequence, specifically dealing with the underworld inherent in the title Acheron, I become a little lost. It was an evil that just didn’t resonant with me the same way his evil human characters did. Leather’s dealing with the rogue, fundamentalist mercenaries was the heart of this story, and the other aspects the flavoring. Morrigan’s Acheron is an intimate Apocalyptic tale taking place around Basra, yet giving only speculation on what may be going on in the rest of the world. Acheron should appeal to fans of Brian Keene and others who cleverly twist the Zombie subgenre making it more than just cannibalism corpses preying on small groups of survivors. While it has some flaws, it makes up for it with an engaging first person protagonist.

Joe Barrett has always been a mixed bag for me. Some of his narrations have been excellent, while others are sort of “meh.” Here Barrett finds the perfect voice for Captain Leathers, and his narration goes a long way to what makes this character so engaging. Barrett’s pacing was a little off at times, I felt that his action scenes came off a bit rushed, and I found myself having to rewind at times because I felt I missed something. Yet, overall, due mostly to the soft southern accent he used for the main character as well as the voices for the peripheral characters, I enjoyed his performance. Acheron may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but for me, it was a fun quick listen that was perfect for a busy weekend.

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