Monday, August 21, 2017
A review of The Wanderer Awakens: Warden Global Book 1 by Ken Lange
Author: Ken Lange
Publisher: Ken Lange
Release Date: Nov. 15, 2016 (ebook)/ Jan. 4, 2017 (audio)
Length: 242 Pages/10 hrs, 56 mins (audio)
Narrated by Marlin May
Most urban fantasy lately has been the usual wizard/mage/witch/warlock/druid, what have you detective/shop owner, etc protagonist. The Wanderer Awakens is not that book. In fact, its a pretty unique universe, which intersects fantasy, sci fi and a touch of time travel and Norse mythology. Sound intriguing? It should, because this is one creative, not run of the mill book.
Victor Warden is a leader in a secret society whose mission is to stop the forces of darkness from taking over the world. That includes a vast assortment of monsters and magic users. The problem is, the society's founder hasn't made an appearance in years, and the leader left in charge while he is gone, The Gatekeeper, is a power hungry scumbag. He starts a power play, all while a new threat to the entire world has come out of Victor's past to haunt him and the world. A dark evil Sorceress name Gulveig with a connection 15000 years in the past to Victor. That's right, I said 15000 years. Victor is far older than he appears, and has powers and abilities commensurate with that, all brought about by unique alien tech.
Victor, his daughter, Victor's powerful ex wife must deal with the Gatekeeper's plan to kill them all, while trying To also deal with Gulveig's plan to take over the world, as well as betrayal from within their circle of allies, which includes a Federal Marshal, an FBI Agent, and various leaders in the society. Gulveig will stop at nothing to fulfill her plan, killing whoever is in her way. Even Victor and his crew might not be able to stop the uber-powerful deathless sorceress. You'll have to listen/read it to find out how it turns out.
Victor has been unable to access more than the basics of his power, like strength, speed, and creating a body force shield, ever since his last run in with Gulveig 15000 years prior. After a pivotal event, Victor's mentor Mimir is released and starts repairing Victor's systems so he can access his full abilities and memories. The flashback scenes are first rate as he regains his memories, adding a sense of depth to the story.
The story takes place in New Orleans, which is a great setting for it. The city is rich with culture, history and tragedy, and the author utilizes these to the fullest, from scenes in the old US Mint, to various landmarks and even the final climactic scenes in the abandoned Six Flags amusement park. The setting is like another character, and it's very well drawn out.
I mentioned Norse mythology. Well, several of the characters, such as Gulveig, Mimir and Victors true name should be familiar to people who know Norse mythology. Some of the cosmology is different, but stories change over time. Victor's true identity actually surprised me. I thought I had it, but missed it. Great little touches with it though.
As narration goes, Marlin May did a very good job. He gave each character a unique voice, and really kept the story moving along. Great pacing, and good flow throughout. All in all, this is a book I would recommend for anyone looking for something little different than another Dresden Files or Iron Druid clone.