Big Sneaky Barbarian, written by Seth McDuffee, at times had me snort-laughing. Embarrassing to admit? Yes. Do I care? No, it was totally worth it. This was a low-stakes romp following an apparently dim-witted human transplanted into another world where he chooses to become an Orc barbarian that specialised in being sneaky. Loon, our hero, isn’t the most likeable character at first, but his outlook and take-no-shit attitude does grow on you quite quickly.
The world-building is thorough where it needs to be and skimpy where it doesn’t. Not heaps of wasted time on superfluous exposition. The side characters are well-rounded in their own right. The humour and storytelling are right on point for what I wanted. There wasn’t much in the way of an apparent main story arc (beyond the obvious getting back to earth) for a big portion of the story, but I don’t think it suffered.
There is something larger going on that we eventually find out about, but a big chunk of the time was getting his feet under himself and working out the new world. It was nice not being totally embroiled in a massive plot from the get-go. Gave us and the main character the time to breathe.
The story progressed from scene to scene in a way that made sense yet seemed haphazard at the same time, giving it a feel of authenticity as that’s what the main character feels like he would do. Bumbling about from one thing to the next and somehow failing his way up the ladder of success.
Johnathan McClain was 100% the correct voice for this novel. His comedic time and acting are next-level, delivering heartfelt lines when needed yet flying off the handle in others when the plot demands it. There’s a treat at the end, too, with a few minutes of outtakes where you can peak behind the curtain and listen to him flub the lines. Quality was top-notch too, which if you’ve seen a recent review of mine of another book by Podium Audio was a nice return to form.
Not too heavy on the stat blocks either, which is nice. Yes, we do occasionally get a full character sheet, but they are few and far between. I appreciate the reminders, just not jammed down my throat.
I’ll be following this author on Audible, so I can get alerted the second the next one becomes available. I have a feeling I’ll be a fan of this series for a long time to come. An easy five-stars all the way down the line.