Author: Gail Z. Martin, Larry N. Martin
Narrator: Neil Hellegers
Length: 12 hours 27 minutes
Publisher: Tantor Audio⎮2018
Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy
Series: Storm & Fury Adventures
Release date: Oct. 30, 2018
New Pittsburgh, 1898 - A crucible of invention and intrigue. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood, and earthquake, the city is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the swarming streets, people of a hundred nations drudge to feed the engines of progress. The Department of Supernatural Investigation was set up to take care of those things that live below, that go bump in the night...those odd cases that go beyond 'standard' investigation. Nicknamed 'Storm and Fury', Mitch Storm and Jacob Drangosavich are two of the more creative agents working in New Pittsburgh and obeying the rules - when they have to. A collection of short stories and novellas set in the world of the Iron & Blood novels and the related Storm and Fury Adventures.
**I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Gail Z. Martin. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.**
While the stories themselves were interesting, I didn't love this collection. Not only did I find the characters to be a little flat and cookie cutter, I was also beyond irritated at the format the authors chose for distributing review copies. I listen to audiobooks via the Audible app, so when you send me something that requires me to go to antoher site, download a zipped folder, extract the files, upload them to my device, then have them cluttering up my music player, I'm not a happy camper. And for that reason, I did not listen to the entire thing. Sorry not sorry.
So, with that little rant over, let’s talk about the book. This collection was a nice introduction to the characters and universe for those of us who are completely unfamiliar with them. Just enough backstory and scene-setting was done to minimize any possible confusion related to that unfamiliarity, but not so much that the stories got bogged down by it. Storm and Fury, as they're often referenced, were ok characters, though a bit too stereotypical detective noir for my taste. There was so much room for them to be unique and fresh and surprising, but they often were not and that was disappointing. The secondary characters were utterly forgetable as well, which didn't help.
I enjoy the occasiona foray into steampunk and while this wasn't the most satisfying of them, I did enjoy that the stories were just short to keep from losing me and the paranormal aspects were really intereting. The action scenes were also well written and engaging.
Neil Hellegers was a perfect choice for narrator and he's what kept this from being either a DNF or a low-star review. He managed the Slovak accent when it was called for without mking it feel fake, forced, or overpowering. The characters were distinct and fairly easy to tell apart, though there was the occasional scene when I got confused as to who was speaking (it happens when the cast is primarily one gender) but it wasn't a frequent occurence. The audio quiality was professional, clean, and free of any distracting sounds, pauses, etc.
Bottom line: It’s hard not to drop stars due to the utter inconvenience of listening, but since readers will be purchasing from Audible, it’s a moot point for them. “Storm and Fury” was an interesting collection and a nice introduction to the universe.
Gail Z. Martin writes urban fantasy, epic fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing and Darkwind Press. Urban fantasy series include Deadly Curiosities and the Night Vigil (Sons of Darkness). Epic fantasy series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and the Assassins of Landria. Together with Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of Iron & Blood, Storm & Fury (both Steampunk/alternate history), and the Spells Salt and Steel comedic horror series. Newest titles include Tangled Web, Vengeance, The Dark Road, and Assassin’s Honor. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance, with her Witchbane and Badlands series
Larry N. Martin is the author of the new sci-fi adventure novel Salvage Rat. He is the co-author (with Gail Z. Martin) of the Spells, Salt, and Steel/New Templars series; the Steampunk series Iron & Blood; and a collection of short stories and novellas: The Storm & Fury Adventures set in the Iron & Blood universe. He is also the co-author of the upcoming Wasteland Marshals series and the Joe Mack Cauldron/Secret Council series.
Neil hails from the green hills and not-so-busy streets of River Vale, NJ, where he divided his time between theatre, literature, percussion, and policy debate. He is happy to note that he has managed to maintain this balance for the entirety of his adult life. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, PA, with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and a Minor in Psychology, Neil acquired a M.F.A in Acting from the Trinity Rep Conservatory, in Providence, RI. He returned to NYC in 2003, and, since then, has made a career of theatrical performance, percussion, theatre education, and audiobook narration, and is currently living in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife, rambunctious son, and their mutt! Starting his professional acting career working at festivals and and international tours performing Shakespeare opened his mind to the sweeping potential of theatre in performance to inspire and delight, a sensibility he has carried into contemporary theatre, new play workshops, film, TV and commercial work, and audiobook narration. Neil also has sought and developed educational opportunities, considering teaching as a means of advancing the craft of both student and teacher, and also a vehicle for social and political change. Neil has played drums in a wide variety of bands and musical groups, from punk, to prog, to jazz, to folk, and in theatrical performance, most notably for the Philly-based-90s-progressive-instrumental-rock-band, Lexicon. As an audiobook narrator, Neil specializes in fiction, genre and non. A voracious reader of science fiction and fantasy, Neil strives to bring the same thrill of the possible to the actual, with non-fiction ranging from self-help both spiritual and practical, history, and cultural studies. Recording at home from a Studiobricks One Plus, he is an Audible Approved Producer, and has worked for numerous publishers, including Tantor Media, Penguin Random House Audio, Blackstone Audio, Audible Studios, Deyan Audio, Spoken Realms, and more. He is a proud member of SAG AFTRA.