Audiobook Review: A Chorus of Fire by Brian D. Anderson
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Book 2 of The Sorcerer’s Song
Publisher: Tantor Audio (November 24, 2020)
Length: 14 hrs and 54 mins
Narrator: Gildart Jackson
Reviews to sequels can be tough sometimes, because I find there’s only so many ways to say, “If you enjoyed the first one, then it’s a safe bet you’ll like this one too.” But this is exactly the case with A Chorus of Fire, follow-up up to The Bard’s Blade. As the second novel in the trilogy, it acts as a bridge, but there’s no “middle book” syndrome here as we’re pushing full speed ahead with the plot threads established in the first volume while also seeing a lot of development in the overall series arc and characters.
The story opens soon after the events of the previous novel. Lem, a once humble bard from Vylari had to become someone else to survive the harsh and cruel conditions of Lamoria, the world beyond the veil. Time and training has transformed him into a hardened assassin—the Blade of Kylor. He has killed in the name of a god he doesn’t believe in, more times than he can count. All of it was done to save Mariyah, the woman he loves who had followed him to Lamoria, only to become captured and imprisoned.
But unknown to Lem, Mariyah is far from helpless, nor is she truly the prisoner as he believes she is. Like him, she has been learning to survive, becoming a practitioner of magic. She too is doing everything she can in order to be granted her freedom and be reunited with her love, even if it requires challenging the boundaries of their relationship.
What’s clear is that our protagonists are no longer the innocent and untroubled youths we first met in book one. They’ve both been through so much and had their eyes open to hardship and pure evil. They have lost their idealism and sheltered views of the world. However, what remains unchanged is the strength of their bond. This is a tale of two people trying to find their way back to each other, and while it is a trope as old as time, it remains popular because the audience loves a couple they can cheer for. And when it comes to Lem and Mariyah, it’s even easier to root for them because they’re both so likeable and relatable.
Speaking of likeable and relatable, I have to give a nod to Brian D. Anderson’s effortless, flowing writing style. There’s nothing fancy about the prose, but it’s so easy to fall into. It almost does the story’s contents a disfavor, since we get deeper into the history and the politics of the world, and at times the details come across as overly simplistic. But given how rare it is to come across a good, accessible epic fantasy, The Sorcerer’s Song trilogy may fill a much-in-demand niche for readers who are interested in the genre but are looking for something lighter.
There’s also much to be said about the classic quest narrative. I love how both Lem and Mariyah’s storylines follow similar trajectories, but each one has their own unique challenges. The musical motifs remain strong throughout, as evidenced from the book titles as well as events in Lem’s chapters, while Mariyah’s mostly focus on magic. There are moments where I think the dialogue border on cheesiness, but somehow they don’t feel as objectionable or too out of place among the old-school vibes.
I said this about the first book, and I’ll say it again with A Chorus of Fire: For pure escapism, it doesn’t get any more perfect than this. We’re not talking about anything flashy or a series that will revolutionize the genre, but much like the idea of comfort foods, some books simply serve as great comfort reads. This very much describes The Sorcerer’s Song, which I’ve settled into like a warm, cozy blanket. The last time I felt like this was probably with Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations, so if you like that style of traditional fantasy, I highly recommend also checking out The Bard’s Blade and A Chorus of Fire. I really hope these trends will continue into the final installment, and I’m looking forward to see how the trilogy will conclude.
Audiobook Comments: There’s a certain charm to Gildart Jackson’s confident, engaging narration. It appears he wasn’t the narrator for the first book, but nevertheless, he seems to have gotten a pretty good grasp for the characters which is impressive. I liked his voices for both Lem and Mariyah’s chapters, and overall it was a great performance.
More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of The Bard’s Blade (Book 1)