Audiobook Review: Redemptor by Seth Skorkowsky
I received a review copy from the author. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Horror
Series: Book 4 of Valducan
Publisher: Audible Studios (January 30, 2018)
Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
Narrator: R.C. Bray
Redemptor is another fantastic addition to the Valducan series, becoming the fourth book to be published in the sequence, though I think any of the novels can be enjoyed as a standalone. That said, while each of the first three books have featured a different protagonist, this one breaks the pattern by swinging the focus back to Matt Hollis, the demon hunter whom we first met in Dämoren. Prospective readers who wish to get the full picture may want to tackle that one first, since Redemptor contains quite a few characters and references from book one.
Our story begins approximately three years after the events of Dämoren, which saw the defeat of Tiamat’s Cult at Matt Hollis’s hands. Matt is now married to Luiza, a fellow Valducan Knight, and they even have a daughter. But still, the war on demonkind continues, as does the hunt for more sacred weapons to add to the Valducan arsenal. These sentient weapons are the only things capable of destroying a demon, and the knights who wield them are also bonded to them for life, their minds, bodies, and souls becoming one with the angelic spirit within.
Understandably, everyone is concerned when grave news emerges from South America that someone has been trying to steal holy weapons from museums across the continent. An evil buried long ago has suddenly awakened, leaving a trial of death and destruction in its wake. Now even the paladins of the Catholic Church have stepped in to join the fight, offering to put aside their differences with the Valducans in order to help stop their common foe.
So far, each book in the series has expanded upon the world-building and mythology of holy weapons, and Redemptor was no exception. We also get to find out more about the inner workings of the Valducan. In the years since Dämoren, Matt has become an important member of the order, hunting demons with a team instead of being the lone wolf he once was. A bigger cast of characters opens up the book to multiple perspectives, giving the reader a fuller and more detailed picture of the relationships between the various knights, as well as the roles they play. I especially enjoyed the sections featuring Mei and her training sessions with her master, highlighting the importance of trust and friendship among the ranks. No matter who they are or where they come from, the members of the Valducan are like one big family.
But unlike the earlier books like Dämoren or Hounacier, which mainly followed a single hunter, we don’t get to know any one character as intimately in Redemptor. It’s also a very fast-paced and action-oriented novel, so there’s not as many opportunities for in depth characterization—another reason why it might be best to start this series from the beginning if you are a newcomer, so that you can get the foundation for Matt’s character from the first book. Existing fans, however, will most likely find this one to be the most exciting and action-packed installment yet. Matt and his friends are up against the most powerful and dangerous enemy they’ve ever faced, and once this plot gets going, it doesn’t stop.
This book also introduced Felisa, a formidable female paladin of the Vatican, and she was probably my favorite character. Religion tends to be a contentious subject in sci-fi and fantasy, and often, I find that the Church or religious figures in many of these stories are set up to be scapegoats or strawmen, which to me is just lazy writing, and then there are the blatant stereotypes of the zealot. In contrast, it was a breath of fresh air to meet someone like Felisa, who is a strong, positive force—merciless when dealing with demons, but who also has boundless compassion and support to give to people like Luiza’s mother, whose faith is a beautiful and integral part of her life. I hope this won’t be the last we see of Felisa, especially since I’m very interested to see how the partnership between her people and the Valducan will play out, now that the Catholic Church is an ally.
I’m sure I sound like a broken record by now, but simply put, this is a fantastic series and perfect for readers who enjoy their urban fantasy with some darkness and grit. Redemptor was another action-packed sequel featuring compelling characters and topnotch world-building. I can’t wait to read more Valducan.
Audiobook Comments: Certain narrators who make books a better listen than a read, and R.C. Bray is definitely one of them. I’ve been an admirer of his work ever since I listened to him read The Martian, and I love that he is also the voice of the Valducan series. He’s the kind of narrator who can adapt to anything he’s reading, and once again he was excellent with Redemptor, capturing the atmosphere and mood of the story, delivering a pitch-perfect performance.
More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Dämoren (Book 1)
Review of Hounacier (Book 2)
Review of Ibenus (Book 3)
Interview with Seth Skorkowsky
Guest Post: “You Can’t Hide Everything…So Don’t” by Seth Skorkowsky