Fear Of the Dark(e) – The Legend Of Drizzt Audiobook Review

TLOD coverMy man Darke at Atonement Records throws in a guest review of the new D&D audiobook series, serialized as free downloads from Tor and narrated by a bizarre selection of celebrities from David Duchovny to uhhhh Ice-T??.

Despite being an unrepentant Morning Again apologist, the lad knows his way around a fantasy realm or two so he’s always welcome to spout off here. Follow the Patrick Bateman of UKHC on Twitter @Atonement666 for insightful metal talk, 80’s yuppie obsession & occasional cynicism. Over to Darke for the review then……

This review, much like the audiobook it is focused on, is going to fall into a number of literary pitfalls. Although, it is worth mentioning at the beginning that the complete book of 14 stories, all with celebrity authors is available for free from Audible.

Firstly, it’s going to jump around a bit and risk of becoming incoherent. In the interests of having this completed in a timely fashion, I jumped straight to the section of the book narrated by Ice T, so I can’t comment on whether my praise/criticisms of this section apply to the other stories or narrators;

Ice T clearly has no frame of reference here (through no fault of his own via not everyone being into nerd things) and his delivery of the text feels as if he stopped at the end of each line to ask what it was he’d actually said.

Secondly, there is quite a lot of exposition. Which is very helpful especially jumping into a collection of 14(I think) stories on the eighth book but it is quite jarring and prevents a clear narrative being forged. A good comparison would be interjecting a biography of Ice T at this point and a little critique of the new Body Count album as his best musical work and his role in Tank Girl being the pinnacle of his acting career playing the part of a mutant, kangaroo, freedom fighter. Really.

The story itself and it’s telling of the tale is far from stellar. It’s a passable tale (I will be going back to hear the whole story when time allows and I certainly wouldn’t grumble if this was holiday reading beside a pool especially because it was free) but even for Fantasy literature it’s pretty hammy at points. I do have concerns I have no idea what actually happened 20 minutes after listening to it.

There was a particular interesting section discussing the potential existence of “good” Orcs. It’s handled broadly but still not something you’d get in a typical Tolkien or Anne McCaffrey novel. I’d like to think people interested in this sort of thing don’t all subscribe to the Burzum-esque interpretations of racial representation in fantasy but it is nice to see an author challenging these generalizations. So it is not all bad.

In conclusion there are plenty of flaws here; Ice T really doesn’t sell the story but it’d not be an easy sell for anyone and his involvement is fair from the problem. If you are more experienced with D&D novels or just want 6 hours of Orcs & Elves for free this may be for you and you may enjoy it more than I have but it was a swing and a miss for me.

Just not the hilarious farce you may well expect from the “gangster rapper reads a Dungeons & Dragons audiobook” scenario. I dread to think what the Michael Chiklis story is like.