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During my formative years I remember fans at an AC/DC concert chanting “Angus, Angus, Angus” in homage to their guitar hero as he strutted his stuff on stage. While AC/DC weren’t huge favourites of mine I always remember the warmth, affection and excitement pouring off the crowd for their man. Well that came back to me as I listened to Angus Watson’s first trilogy, “Age of iron” not so long ago. He drew the crowd in with an excellent opener, crossed the tricky minefield of keeping it going in the second book and rounded it off with a thudding wallop of a closer. And now he’s at it again!
You Die When You Die is a genuine fantasy series but once more Watson has based it loosely on real geography and history. This time it’s some Vikings in the Americas of all things! In terms of plot it’s also a long way from the “Iron” books. Our “hero” is Finn and he’s no Gus that’s for sure. He and some friends are forced on an epic journey pursued by the fantasy equivalent of Charlie’s Hell's Angels and running into all kinds of different tribes and problems along the way.
That said, this delivers in very firmly in the same style as the Age of Iron series. Great fun characters who are defined as much by their failings as their strengths or mighty deeds. Watson delivers their inner child with great aplomb and for anyone who worries about such things much swearing. There’s a strong argument that it is reminiscent of Abercrombie but I think maybe now we should avoid such comparisons because Watson is forging a style of his own.
This is an author delivering my kind of contemporary fantasy with a narrator who is definitely up there near the top. So, go on shell out a credit for this one and join me chanting “Angus, Angus, Angus” as messrs Watson and Barret take us on another great ride!
21 of 23 people found this review helpful
Author is brilliant. I don't often take time to write a review and I've read a LOT of books, this author is my favourite. I feel very lucky to have stumbled upon him by accident with the Age of Iron series. Age of Iron is by far the best book I've ever read, but this is also a great read. The characters are well developed, they are endearing, (even the evil ones) and the author is a master at making the funny ones funny, particularly little girls. I'm waiting patiently for the next book now and I'll listen to this one again straight away.
Angus Watson, if you ever read this, thanks for putting pen to paper. You big badgers bollock.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of You Die When You Die to be better than the print version?
I did not read the print version. Young kids, a growing career, etc. make it harder than it used to be to sit down and read print. So I pipe the audible book through my car speakers on the daily commute. And bask in the awesomeness of Angus Watson as he spins out another spellbinding tale!
What other book might you compare You Die When You Die to and why?
You Die When You Die isn't directly comparable to any other books I've read. The closest author I can think of that leaves me feeling the same way would be Joe Abercrombie. The unpredictability of the storyline, the depth of the characters, the wild mix of fantasy and humor. It's a delicious goulash of wit, fantasy, rawness, and fun.
What does Sean Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
My imagination could not create the vast array of character voices and emotions that Sean Barrett brings to the stories. It's like sitting by a crackling fire as grandpa reads out a great yarn.
Any additional comments?
Angus Watson caught my attention immediately after reading his first book, Age of Iron. He creates these wonderfully complex characters that lack the superhuman features often found in other fantasy books. They have their strengths, don't get me wrong, but they also have their weaknesses. And sometimes, they get killed. It's the constant surprises that Angus throws at his readers that makes his books hard to put down. Villains show a sign of goodness, and heroes occasionally fail. You just don't know what's in the next box of chocolates you open. Other than you can count on a wonderfully complex story, with complex and creative characters, and many chuckles sprinkled throughout. Keep it up Angus!
I have like 10 million audio books and anytime an author can keep me interested and make me smile/laugh I give high regard. I hold Joe Abercrombie in a special place and this does not have the satirical genius of Joe or King Lear, it does spark some fire in my bones. (I just put Joe Abercrombie and Shakespeare in the same sentence. I am sorry I am not sorry)