Set in the far, far future, Steel Traveler Of Urth is a wild combination of The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (the sunburned landscape, the characters who take it for granted that everybody's out to cheat and/or kill everyone else as they vie for treasure)and The Road Warrior (the hard-to-kill hero has suffered so many losses, he's trying to be as big a bastard as everyone else, but he keeps being tripped up by his own innate decency). The heroine may or may not have a heart of gold, but she definitely has a long, fluffy tail; the hero's best friend and worst enemies are all giant, sentient insects. (If you suffer from arachnophobia, this book may work as therapy for you.) The action ricochets from one vivid landscape (sun-blasted desert, frozen mountains, arcane laboratory, eons-dead city) to another, just as the characters' relationships ricochet from business to pleasure, from love to hate. The author has a wild, cinematic imagination.
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A diamond in the rough
The myriad of voices played by a full cast was just amazing.
Well, I have to say Leena has a sultry voice... but I loved all the wild and fantastic characters. I think the Caloptrian scarab-men were my favorite species, though. A close second would be Blackavie.
I enjoyed the wasteland trek immensely but the final confrontation was the most exciting part.
The garden song was haunting and chilling, and the scene very well done.
First, I have to say:
This. Audio. Book. Rocks...
...But it is rough. You can tell the author produced it himself (his afterword says as much).
However that being said, it makes up for the shortcomings by having a truly amazing cast and a fascinating world. The voices are GREAT (even has a truly haunting song), the narrator/author keeps a good pace, and the story stands up well. The battle scenes are great fun as well. I can see the comparison to westerns and mad max, it definitely has those elements. The mix of magic, technology, and bug-people come together to make one of the most creative worlds I've seen in quite a while! The world feels reminiscent of the old RPG "Rifts."
While the insectoid races, timekeeping system, and different types of magic and technology are alot to take in at first, the author leaves plenty of time for it to sink in, and has some clever ways of revealing these details.The only criticism I have is that some of the voices were hard to understand, especially Ajitron the Guardian.I only listen to audiobooks in the car, and this book left me actually looking forward to my commute, so I give it 5 stars overall.
- Trevor Gregg
- Christopher Fox