Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Audio Book Review: Legionary by Gordon Doherty

Be sure to see below for giveaway info!

Legionary by Gordon Doherty, audiobook review

by Steven A. McKay

I'm sure many of you reading this are sceptical about audiobooks. When I read a novel I like to do it at my own pace, providing the narrator and characters with my own internal voices. The idea of someone else providing those voices, especially for a book I've already read before, didn't seem like a good one.

So, when Gordon Doherty released his excellent Legionary in audio format I decided to sign up to Audible and give it a try. I'd read the Kindle version a year or so before – it was, in fact, my first ever ebook purchase if I remember correctly – and I knew it was a good read, so I wondered how this Roman historical fiction would translate to the new medium.

I'm happy to say it works a treat.

The narrator, Simon Whistler, is good, reading at a natural, relaxed pace, building tension or bringing a light touch when it's required. I wasn't 100% sold on the dialogue, as some of it came across as a little old-fashioned or even twee but that's just me – I like my soldiers to swear like, well, troopers, but other people won't care or actually prefer the lack of earthy language. It's just a matter of personal taste.

The action moves from place to place and is most effective when the main character, Pavo, is around. The political sections without him can move a little slowly, as they did in the ebook, but there's always the option to speed up the reading so if certain parts aren't as exciting as you'd like you can raise the reading speed to x1.5 without losing too much of the atmosphere. 

Overall, this audiobook is a great listen. I do a lot of driving at work and sometimes I get sick of hearing Radio 5 Live or Slayer or Jethro Tull CDs, so it was a very welcome change of pace to have this on as I drove around the west of Scotland every day. It's also good value, lasting for quite a few hours, so don't let the price tag of these things put you off – a lot of work goes into this!

Whether you've read this book before or not, you won't be disappointed when you download the audio version. Give it a try. Doherty's writing has improved since this, his debut novel, so future audio versions of his books will be even better. I've just completed Legionary 3 – Land of the Sacred Fire and I'm looking forward to hearing it read by Simon Whistler, so...bring it on Gordon, we're waiting!

Gordon Doherty has so graciously offered a free copy to gift one lucky readerer, listener!! For your chance in the draw, simply comment below or at our associated Facebook thread.

Buy the Legionary audiobook here.

Steven A. McKay is the bestselling author of Wolf's Head and The Wolf and the Raven. You can find more about him at his Amazon author page and blog/official website