Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Review of Mudman by James Hunter
Author: James Hunter
Pages/Length: 440 pages/ 13 hrs, 57 mins (audio)
Publisher: Shadow Alley Press
Release Date: March 8, 2016/ August 2, 2016 (audio)
Narrated by Armen Taylor
I will say first off that I am a huge fan of of this author's Yancy Lazarus urban fantasy books, so when I heard there was a spinoff in the same universe, I just had to check it out. I am glad I did, because this one went in some wild directions even Yancy Lazarus doesn't go! I am now a huge fan of this character as well, and hopefully, you will check it out and discover how good it is!
Levi Adams is trying to be a good person. He goes to church, tries to live a simple Mennonite life, and keeps under the radar. Unfortunately, he has an unfortunate addiction: murder. Well, not just any murder. You see, since awakening in a shallow pit grave in a death camp in Nazi Germany, Levi, who is a stone golem, has been killing bad guys ever since, starting with the Nazi scum murderers. Levi just want to live in peace now, to atone for his "sins", but sometimes he just needs to kill bad guys. To do that, he goes into The Sprawl , the secret home of the supernatural. There, he can find monsters aplenty doing evil deeds they need to be killed for.
While doing a little seasonal cleanup by murder of some Kobocs, some evil little blue skinned monsters, Levi, also known as Mudman, comes across their shaman about to perform a human sacrifice. The sacrifice, Sally Ryder, is on deaths doorstep when Levi uses his own blood, the elixir of life, to save her. After a hair raising escape, Levi and Sally are off to try and figure out whey Sally was being sacrificed. The answer is terrifying. Someone is trying to break a hugely powerful biblical baddie from the ancient high tech prison in the far end of the Sprawl's wasteland. This does lead to the origin of Atlantis, which was a great shock of a scene. After Sally is recaptured and the ritual is then attempted, Levi and some new allies break in to attempt to stop what will basically lead to an apocalyptic event. Levi also discovers who his creator was, and it is not at all who he expected, although if you have read the Yancy Lazarus books, you will know who it is. Levi has to make some sacrifices if he want to have any chance of stopping these threats, and its a close run thing. Levi has to determine if he will be what he was truly created to be, or if he is a free thinking creature, regardless of instincts. The climactic battle basically determines Levi's course for the rest of his existence.
Like all his book, James Hunter really lavishes attention on his characters. Well described and drawn out, you can really get into their thoughts and motivations. Especially with Levi, you can feel his struggle to fight his instincts to be a monster killing machine, that he feels true guilt and remorse for all those he has killed since he was created. OK, maybe not the Nazis so much, but the others. Their physical descriptions are also top notch. You can really see Levi in his multiple forms in your head, as if he was standing right next to you, as well as Sally, or Dr. Hogg.
The setting, the world building, is an extension of the Yancy Lazarus books, taken in new directions. The prison setting was especially creative, as were its guardians. The underground Koboc Warrens are well described, and not something you'd see in the Lazarus books, because no way would a human, even a mage, want to go down there. Levi, though, can go where others can't. All in all, an excellent addition to this universe.
The narration was handled by Armen Taylor, who also narrated the author's Viridion Gate LitRPG series. He brings a real voice to the monster that is Levi. Speaking without a lot of inflection without becoming monotone is tough, but he hits just the right notes bringing Levi to life. His voice work with the other characters, whether it be Sally Ryder, Dr. Hogg or even the
villain, was all spot on, and really got you into what the characters were doing. Definitely a top notch effort.
If you have read the Yancy Lazarus books, this book should have a familiar feeling, while bringing in all new elements that flesh out the universe. It hits all the right notes, and makes you want to see what comes next, something every author should hope for. I can't recommend this book highly enough.