He Who Fights with Monsters 3, written by Travis Deverell, is a great addition to the HWFWM series, with boatloads of monster-fighting and loads of story arc payoff. But here’s where the “but” comes in. The characters have ranked up a lot, and the magic system that gets explained… over and over gets tedious. While in book form, I’d skip over these parts, but it’s a bit harder in audio. Time and again, we get to hear all about a skill, its casting requirements, its iron rank abilities, its bronze ranked upgrades abilities… and in the middle of a fight scene, this really bogs down the pace.
As I said, there’s a lot of payoff happening in this book. What we’ve been building towards with the Builder Cult, the astral universe, and all that jazz come to a head with Jason and his team battling monsters and the cultists for much of the book. The fights are excellent, but their pacing is often broken while the mechanics are explained.
The eight (yes, EIGHT) epilogue chapters at the end, while filling in a lot of “behind the scenes” information and setting up the plots for the next book were a mixed bag. I think we could have done without half of them. It seems to me that making them part of the next book, either as-is or woven into the storyline, would have worked better. It made the “real” end of the book feel a little cheaper.
Narration by Heath Miller was once again top-notch. He’s easy to listen to, and I’ve got no issues at all with the narration style or overall quality of this audiobook. I did occasionally hear a few background clicks that escaped proofing, but otherwise an excellent production.
Overall, I’ll be continuing with this series, but I might be a little easy with the skip-ahead button if the magic system keeps getting explained in such great detail. This book could have easily been at least four to six hours shorter without the extraneous explanations and fewer epilogue chapters.