Let’s face it – if you’re at book seven of a series, you know what’s going on by now. I’m rather glad the whole Earth-centric story arc of the past three books is over and done with. While okay, it wasn’t what I went into the books liking. Back in an alternate version of Earth, the long-promised monster surge finally lands, and the Builder cultists ratchet everything up a notch. Jason is finally back to where he should be, and to paraphrase the Blues Brothers, he’s getting the band back together.
In the time between finishing the book and writing this review, I’ve pondered on the story so far and am seriously wondering if the whole Earth arc could be removed and if the story would still make sense. Much like the bonus epilogues at the end of the last audiobook, his whole time away could be rewritten into a chapter or two, and we could pick up from where we left off at the end of book three with virtually no pause.
I suspect when the time comes to give the books another go-around, I’ll likely skip books four, five, and six for this very reason. Yes, there were plenty of good moments and laughs, but nothing I’d miss on a second read-through.
With book seven, though, we’re back where it all started (sort of). Jason and Farrah make their way back through the astral, bringing the start of the monster surge with them. The great astral being known as the Builder is using this to stage an invasion of his own, as we’ve previously found out in the earlier books.
This, for me, was a return to form. Maybe it’s just the setting, but Jason and his team fighting monsters and annoying the higher powers is just so much more fun. We get to see more of this new world and its people, meet some interesting new characters, and watch as Jason continues to grow and move towards his destiny.
He’s broken and seriously messed up in the head, but he’s getting through it. Sort of. He’s got more of a chance now he’s back where he belongs.
I’d have liked more of the team-based adventure, though. Rufus, Gary, Humphrey, Clive, Niel, Sofie and the rest have survived without him, and the reunion has been a long time coming, so I would have liked to have seen more of them. Maybe in the next book!
Heath Miller was again excellent in his style and delivery. Production quality had dropped off again, with obvious retakes, a few background noises and one place where the end of the sentence cut off and went into the next. I thought I’d had a stroke or something, but on a relisten, it was definitely a production issue. Given the book was released last year, and it wasn’t fixed, I can only assume the production company – Podium Audio – isn’t going to fix it.
This deep in… of course I’ll be continuing with the series. I do hope I get some of what I’ve been missing for the past few books and that the production quality gets sorted out. I mean, I’m going to listen to it anyway, but half-assing the post-production doesn’t engender any love for the brand.