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Nathan and his younger adoptive brother are very close. With the only parents they ever knew both dead, Nathan protects Luca whilst Luca just tries to make his brother happy. Both are students, and though Luca has an interest, it seems, in just about everything often switching courses, Nathan wants to write books, be an author. But he has felt cursed for almost as long as he can remember, bad things happening not to him but to the people close to him. On the way home one evening the brothers see graffiti painted on the ground at the entrance to a lane they were about to enter, then, stepping into it, everything changes and they fall into a different place, a different world, one where magic and gods exist in everyday life. And Nathan's life is forever changed.
Book of Names is an extremely well written story, often very humerous (especially in the first half), with excellent main protagonist characterisation and conversation. It is a gentle mystery and thriller with unexpected twists and the world building is visual. Yes, there's magic as Nathan learns of his potential and starts training to control the powers he never previously knew that he had. But it is far more than a story of Wizard's and spells, it is about relationships, perception and trust.
As always, J.Scott Bennett's narration is excellent,. his perfectly paced reading expressing the wonderment and terrors inherent in the story. He is the voice of the often bemused Nathan, whose love for his brother is paramount. All characters are distinctly and subtly voiced, also, and his performance overall greatly adds to the enjoyment of the book.
I am rarely a fan of fantasy and magic, but this one is special for this reader. Combined with the empathy instilled for the two transported brothers, and Nathan in particular, there is also a shifting of perceptions, a re-evaluation of the character of others and the consideration in basic form, of what constitutes right or wrong, good and evil, or are these "only differences of opinions"? Simply written, easy to read, this is a book I am happy to recommend to anyone.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Book of Names again? Why?
Yes. Probably as a refresher once the rest in the series are released.
What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?
Was a nice performance, although the narrator didn’t distinguish between a lot of the characters as well as some other narrators I’ve come across.
Any additional comments?
This is an unbiased review of a free review copy. I can’t wait for the rest of the series to come and was disappointed when I got to the end to realise there wasn’t yet a follow on.
This is a story about two brothers we get transported to a world where magic is real and they might fight to save it. While this might be a typical story in fantasy nowadays, you are right. You've probably read a dozen fantasy books about people from Earth sucked away to a mystical land. BUT, you've never seen a world like this.
The magic system here is pretty cool, and while true names have always been a thing in fantasy, the way that real and secret names are used is pretty cool. Also, unlike most fantasy styled books this has an Egyptian flair. that helps to make it tonally different from standard fantasy tales.
The book sucks you in quickly, and keeps your attention with a series of twists and turns that you don't see coming. The main character has to make a lot of hard choices, and his last decision is a killer.
The narration is solid, performed well, and does not detract from the story at all. I've gotten some older audiobooks, and there the important thing was to just enunciate clearly. Bennett does the story and characters justice. I will certainly look for other things he has done.
I actually got this book after I had gotten the second in the series. I haven't listened to that yet, but will start it soon. That said, if I hadn't known there was a sequel I would have been very satisfied with how the book ended. It could have been a solo stand alone novel and worked just as well. In other words, in spite of knowing there would be a sequel, Oxford tied up his story lines, and I appreciate that a great deal. I hate books that leave a lot unclosed, but takes years for the next book to come out.
Get this book, you will be happy with everything, and once you are sucked in you will want the next book in the series.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
If you've listen to The Sorcerer's Saga, this is a great spin off of the series. Many of the characters we have met in that series are also in this one.
If you haven't listened to that series, this is a great stand alone series. There's action and fantasy. A perfect blend of it for me. If you pick this one up and like this one, do yourself a favor and also get The Sorcerer's Saga series. It's worth it.
I loved the family dynamic that Oxford developed in this book. I kept questioning what would happen in the book because of the brotherly love that was in the book. I can't wait for more in the series.
Also, Bennett does an amazing job with this book. He has got to be one of my favorite narrators of all time.
This review copy audiobook was provided by the author/narrator/publisher free of charge.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful