Audiobook Review: Corruption
Author: Adam Vine
Narrator: Kevin Meyer
Series: Corruption Cycle, Book One
Length: 13 hours 57 minutes
Publisher: Lilydog Books
Released: July 18, 2017
Genre: Dark Fantasy
A dishonored swordsman running from his past.
A city shrouded in dark magic.
An antihero born.
Daniel Harper was champion, until a single mistake destroyed his fencing career forever. With nothing left to lose, he flees to Eastern Europe, where he can start over... where he can be someone else.
In the exotic, lantern-lit crevices of a nameless city, Daniel meets two people who open very different kinds of doors than the ones he is searching for: the troubled flower girl Kashka, who holds the key to a nightmarish otherworld; and the enigmatic street magician and self-professed love tourist Ink, who has the power to bend others to his will.
As Daniel plummets into a downward spiral of hedonism and dereliction, he is tormented by macabre visions of a frozen world in endless darkness where an evil tyrant has stolen the sun, where humanity's remnants fight to scrape out a cruel existence underground, and wandering spirits inhabit the bodies of the recently deceased. Daniel is doomed to return to this Night Country every time he falls into a deep sleep. But the longer he spends there, the more Daniel realizes his curse is anything but an accident....
Adam Vine was born in Northern California. By day, he is a game writer and designer. He has lived in four countries and visited thirty. He is the author of two novels and many short stories. When he is not writing, he is traveling, reading something icky, or teaching himself to play his mandolin. He currently lives in Germany.
Kevin Meyer is a devoted Midwesterner, raised in rural Wisconsin and transplanted to Tulsa, Oklahoma over three decades ago. A career-long voice-over and music radio guy, his iPhone playlist ranges from Alice Cooper and Waylon Jennings to Twenty One Pilots and The Zac Brown Band. Favorite reads are dominated by political biographies (Lincoln, Truman, Kennedy)... and Stephen King.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Adam Vine. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
I had a hard time getting into this story at first, the purposeful leaving out of place they were in when they were in the real world and using City or Country kept throwing me off. It felt jarring to me, and if it had been something I just picked up to listen to I may have stopped. Which would have been sad because it is a fantastic book and once I got past that I got into it very fast and missed a few bedtimes.
The Night Country seems to be such an interesting place, I found I enjoyed that story a lot more when they were there than I did when they were in the real world. Which makes sense because I am quite fond of fantasy worlds. Plus the characters just seemed a lot more relateable in the Night Country than they did in the real world.
When Daniel and Kashka took the tour of the concentration camp I found the descriptions to be particularly vivid and disturbing. It was excellently written, as was the rest of the book, but that particular scene will stay with me for a long time.
I look forward to the second installment of Corruption.
This is the first book that I have listened to that has been more of a narrative than a performance that has not put me literally to sleep. (I have a copy of Sherlock Holmes that can put me to sleep in under 10 minutes) At first listening to Kevin Meyer's voice and the lack of any changes from character to character I was quite worried about that but by the third chapter though I had gotten used to his style and grown quite fond of it. There are parts of this book that would have given me nightmares if read in a different style.
Q & A with Author Adam Vine
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
- No. I’m an independent author, so audiobooks are a “nice to have” rather than something I consciously plan on during the writing process. The audiobook for my first novel, Lurk has been successful - in large part due to the blog tour I did through Audiobookworm! - so doing another one for Corruption seemed reasonable.
- How did you select your narrator?
- For my first book, I received a bunch of auditions and chose the guy who had the best voice for the job and seemed the most professional to work with. Since I had a great experience with him the first time around, I didn’t hold auditions for my next book. I reached out and asked if he’d be interested in working together again, and he accepted.
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process?
- Quite closely, but I don’t micro-manage. He went through the manuscript and we did a feedback round. Then he recorded the book, and I listened to each completed section and noted a few pickups needed, mostly technical errors, as I want my narrator to have as much creative control as possible over their part of the project.
- Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
- Not so much the characters, but because Corruption is a fantasy book based in Eastern Europe that draws heavily from Slavic and Northern European mythology, we did agree on a “pronunciation canon” before recording.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- Yes. I’ve spent about four years of my life living abroad outside the United States, with three of those years in Eastern Europe. The name of the country Corruption is set in is not given - it is simply referred to as “the Country” - mostly because I wanted the authorial freedom to change things or play around with the setting as needed, but also because I wanted to make it clear this is a fantasy novel - it is not an autobiography. However, certain aspects of the story were inspired by things I experienced during my Eastern European excursions.
- If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
- I would go back to my childhood and start the disciplines I am pursuing now much earlier.
- If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
- I would want Dan Harper, the protagonist of Corruption to be played by a handsome everyman type of guy - maybe James Franco. For Kashka, I would choose a native Polish or Ukrainian actress, and select for one who could play up the more toxic aspects of her relationship with Dan. For Zaea, I would choose an actress who is both regal and vulnerable. Emilia Clarke would be my first pic. Not sure who could play Ink.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- I say they’re not living life. Why read one book when you can read one book and listen another? Double your efficiency, haters.
- How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
- I went out with my friends for a beer. I currently live in Germany, so we do this even when there isn’t a reason to celebrate.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Write one to two thousand words every day, five days a week, and don’t stop to tinker until you finish the story.
Adam Vine's Top 10 Favorite Dark Fantasies
- The Book of the New Sun - Gene Wolfe
- A Song of Ice and Fire - George R.R. Martin
- Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov]
The Black Company - Glen Cook
The Inferno - Dante
The Heroes - Joe Abercrombie
The Witcher Saga - Andrzej Sapkowski
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
The Vagrant - Peter Newman
Kings of the Wyld - Nicholas Eames
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