Friday, December 03, 2010

Audiobook Review – Garro: Oath of the Moment

I’m still not quite finished with Greyfriar, but I should definitely be able to have a review up for that book by next Friday. Fortunately, in the meantime I was lucky enough to have the chance to listen to another of the Black Library Warhammer 40,000 audio dramas - and I’m ready to give you my thoughts. This story takes place during the Horus Heresy, a millennia before WH40K, where the status quo of that era is explored by revealing the history of how things came to reach that state. In this era, some of the cybernetically enhanced humans called Astartes begin to rebel against their God-Emperor – a Heresy never before witnessed. And as these battle lines are drawn, former brothers-in-arms find themselves on opposing sides. Garro is one such soldier. His Legion betrayed the Emperor, but instead of following them Garro chose to uphold his Oath to his Emperor and reveal their treachery to him. But without his brothers he struggles to find a place for himself, until one of the Emperors trusted advisors gives him a new purpose. He will gather others like himself, and they will form a new Legion – this time one of Ghosts. His first recruit is to be found on the homeworld of the Ultramarines, where they are under Siege. Garro must get past the lines of battle and find Rubio – another soldier who has been forced into a role where he must choose between oaths. Rubio has psychic powers, but he has been ordered not to use them – even though it means watching his brothers die. As the enemy draws closer, forcing the Ultramarines into a losing position – Rubio will find himself torn between his oath to defend his brothers at all costs, and his oath not to use his powers. And when he ultimately betrays one oath for the other, he will become a Ghost too. As always, the production value of this production are top notch; between the reading itself (where the author uses different voices for different characters, seemingly creating an entire cast – like voiceover work in an animated production) to the music and sound effects – I’ve said many times, The Black Library has ruined me to anything but their audiobooks. I only wish every publisher did it this way. The story is a mixed bag. The best of these audio dramas have at least one memorable scene, and I can remember them clearly – in this case, I didn’t come away thinking the same about anything in Garro. The author also uses flashbacks to show how Garro came to be tasked with his mission, interspersing those scenes with ones showing his mission to find Rubio – but the problem with these flashbacks is within the context of the audio drama it’s hard to tell that’s what you’re now listening to. There were no audio cues (for instance: “Garro remembered when…”) to let the listener know this kind scene change had happened – and it happens a few times during the course of the book. But at the same time, I fully enjoyed listening to Garro: Oath of the Moment as well. The story is engaging, with plenty of action and just enough story to make anyone feel at home in the Warhammer 40,000 setting. I am still a relative newcomer to this line of books, having only read one book so far and listened to a number of their audiobooks, and I have had no trouble following along and understanding what’s going on. My kids are young, but I plan on holding on to these until they get older – knowing how great it’ll be to put these on during a long car ride. If you’ve ever thought about giving an audiobook a try (and you can sample the unabridged audio drama of Horus Rising here) I highly recommend any of The Black Library’s offerings, including Garro: Oath of the Moment.


SQT said...

I have read so many good things about the Warhammer books. It's not something I would have thought to pick up on my own, but all these reviews have me intrigued.

Jamie Gibbs (Mithril Wisdom) said...

I'm a big fan of the Black Library, but I've yet to really get into audio books (I've only listened to some Doctor Who audio novels), but based on this review I'm tempted to give it a go. An audio book for me would need to be more than just someone reading words on the page out loud, and The Horus Heresy seems to tick all the boxes for me. Thanks :D