Author – Zack Argyle
Pages – 380
Format – Audiobook
Thanks to the author for providing me with an audiobook copy of Voice of War in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Voice of War by Zack Argyle is a fast paced story, fully of lively characters in an intriguing world, with a fun and exciting magic system.
After buying some wireless earphones my audiobook listening time has gone through the roof so I was able to bump this review request up my list, and I was not disappointed!
The best and sometimes the worst thing about opting for a book still gathering its first 50 reviews is that you never know what you’re going to get. The book could be anything, so it was great after trying and giving up on a few books recently that I enjoyed this one so much.
I don’t think it’s fair to rate a book based on your enjoyment of the narrator in audio form but I just firstly want to touch on how awesome the narration is from Adam Gold, if you do pick up the audiobook copy. It was like listening to the softly spoken gravel of Iain Glen’s Jorah Mormont, but also nailing so many different voices that it felt like a multi-cast production. You knew which character was speaking without being told, and Gold’s technique really helped enhance the immersion.
The magic system is something that has a strong influence on the plot and the world – magic users are called threadweavers for their ability to manipulate the (invisible to some) threads that make up the world. Your ability is based on the colour of your eyes – sapphire threadweavers can push the threads, emerald threadweavers can pull them. To add a twist to this, couples have a 2 child limit. If a third child is conceived, and it is not born a threadweaver (brown eyes) the child is brought up by the priesthood and taken from the parents. If this wasn’t brutal enough, being unable to see your baby again, they are blinded in a religious ceremony, taking away their sight forever. It is quite brutal in places though I wouldn’t call it a grimdark book by any stretch; it’s more epic fantasy. Voice of War is filled with political manoeuvrings, mystery, swords, weird & wonderful creatures and beings – chromawolves being my favourites – and plenty of action.
We have 3 POV characters – two of them (and both introduced later in the story) are hard to describe without at least giving some parts of the story away. We spend perhaps the most time though with Chrys, who is a high general with a dark past. He’s feared by many for the way he helped end a previous war – hinted at early on being caused by The Apogee – a chaotic voice in his head, willing to be let out to cause destruction. Chrys despite the past that is hinted at is an easy protagonist to root for, with good morals and protective values – he will do anything to defend those he loves.
I mentioned that there are mystery elements – threadweavers possess unique blood – consuming threadweaver blood can bestow the gifts of threadlight for a short time period and so it is highly coveted with a growing black market. As such, threadweavers are abducted against their will and their blood harvested – this plays a large part in the story with Chrys given the task of finding these Bloodthieves, but there is also so much more to it, with pieces being moved into play both behind the scenes and in full view, leaving you guessing about the characters’ motivations.
The ending was really good – but of course, I can’t really talk about that because of spoilers. To me, the 3 character POVs worked really well, the world building and magic helped create that well rounded feel, and I cared about the fates of many of the characters.
Sometimes you can’t exactly put into words a specific aspect that you loved about a book the most or one prominent reason that people just have to read it; sometimes the best recommendation is to tell people how it made you feel when reading/listening. The whole time I was enthusiastic, intrigued, immersed. Listening to Voice of War, I really felt at home, and usually this is a feeling it takes a couple of books for an author to achieve.
Voice of War is one of this year’s SPFBO finalists, fully deserved in my (emerald threadweaver) eyes. It’s also on Kindle Unlimited, which is great news if you have a membership and want to give it a go to see whether it’s for you.
Thanks for reading.