Friday, February 18, 2011

Audio Drama Review: Garro - Legion of One by James Swallow

On a desolate shell of a world ravaged by the war between the factions of humanity, the small group of cybernetic warriors Garro has brought together find themselves on a mission to uncover the last of the clues which will set them on their new Ghost Legion's calling. Among his group are Garro and Varon, both the only men from their own former Legions to remain faithful to the Emperor when all else turned traitor, as well as Rubio, who found himself outcast from his own Legion after using his physic powers to defend them. The world they find themselves on has suffered every kind of fallout; from nuclear, chemical to biological, and at first there's little more for them to find than the bodies of fallen comrades and the trinkets they've left behind. But soon they come across survivors, mostly made up of a group of soldiers lucky, or unlucky, enough to have been protected from the results of the battle - only to find themselves marooned on a world that cannot support them. Garro and his men decide the only course of action is for them to save these survivors, but first they will have to battle a mad creature called Cerberus. Cerberus hunts down anyone who remains, which is just the kind of fight these Astartes soldiers have been hoping for. But there's are secrets yet to be revealed on this world, ones which will turn everything on its head for Garro and his men. Garro: Legion of One takes place around a year after Garro: Oath of the Moment, though it is not necessary to have listened to that Audio Drama in order to enjoy this one. I did appreciate the connection though, as I felt I knew the characters of Garro and Rubio better because of it - though ultimately I felt Legion of One was the stronger story overall. There are a number of reasons why, though I'll warn that I'm going to reveal some of the secrets from above should you want to avoid those spoilers. First there's Cerberus - actually another Astartes cybernetic warrior, who was betrayed by his own brothers and left to die on this world when they turned traitor against the Emperor. He has gone mad from all that has happened to him, forgetting even who he was and living only to kill. But his targets are more than they seem as well - for the soldiers who were escaped the initial destruction have actually been infected with a disease of Chaos, the otherworldly energies which give magic-like powers and form demons and the like. This infection has turned them into undead creatures, not the innocents Garro and his men first assume them to be. Which puts them in the position of having to quickly move past their initial plans to kill Cerberus - a brother-in-arms, to working alongside him to destroy these creatures of darkness. And ultimately, they bring Cerberus back to himself - allowing him to see that the only traitors are those who would kill a brother, thereby setting a standard to live by for their own Legion. While I usually talk a bit about the sound-work in these dramas, I'm going to talk specifically about a few scenes that stood out to me in Legion of One. First, when Garro and Rubio seek out Cerberus in an abandonded cathedral, the echos of the large spaces and the dripping of water add such a depth to the scene, it completely immerses you in the telling of the story. Then, when the cathedral collapses and Varon and the soldiers are witness to it, as a large rubble-sandstorm races towards them - the sounds of the wind continue to build upon the previous scene. Finally, as the lost soldiers reveal their true nature as undead creatures, peeling off their skin, the moaning is so creepy as to make your skin crawl. It all added up to a great listening experience, earning this Audio Drama a place among the very best that I've listened to from The Black Library. As always I highly recommend these as great entertainment, even if you've never read a Warhammer 40,000 book, these are the kinds of things a fan of excellent science fiction would enjoy - and you'll never look at an audiobook the same way again afterwards.


Charles Gramlich said...

Oh wow, an audio drama eh? These sound really interesting.

Toyin O. said...

This sounds amazing, thanks for sharing.