“The Fall of an Overlord” is the first prequel book in the “Calamity” series and the only book currently available in audiobook format at the time of this review. The book is written by Kevin Potter and the narration is performed by Scott Allen. “Rise of The Overlord” appears to be the first prequel (author confirmed it is the second in the series) to this prequel series of books. However, it is not yet available in audiobook format; currently only Kindle or physical formats. This book is a rather short novella at just short of two-hundred pages and shy of three-hours of total audio. Overall, I enjoyed the story and this is why I gave it an average rating. The book was not exceptional so I am unable to give it anything above an average rating, but I also did not feel the book was deserving of a lesser one. If you are someone who likes stories of magnificent and powerful creatures called dragons, I think you will enjoy many parts of this book. I would suggest you wait for the first prequel book in the series prior to picking up this one.
Fall of an Overlord is properly titled as this is really what this book is primarily about. The story takes place centuries in the future after the demise of the human race. Many dragon families, or prides, living across the land are oppressed by their long-time dragon overlord who in many ways is a dictator and often violates the code of the dragon to get things he wants. He takes what he wants and rules with an oppressive thumb, and as the saying goes, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The dragons under this oppression need to build a resistance that is powerful enough to reclaim the throe of power. It is a good story where much of the actual action takes place at the end of the book. Yet, the author is able to capture and hold the listeners attention by using suspense and tension as the book progresses.
For animals often thought to be in solitude, this book gave us a view into a complex and structured dragon society. We often think of these creatures buried in treasure and sleeping alone for centuries, whereas this book gives us a quite different view. I’m not a dragon purist, so this different telling may upset some who are. I liked that there were many different types of dragons than simply the well-known colors from fantasy tales. The descriptive writing style helped me to better visualize the beauty of these creatures and just how grandiose they would have been if they existed today. It was also important for me to know and understand the nature of the handicap of one of the main characters. Being able to overcome these challenges was central and important to the theme. I also liked the author’s addition of sibling rivalry and broken alliances.
I found it interesting that the author decided to release two prequels of the series prior to releasing one or more of the books first. I am also unsure why the prequels are broken in to two separate parts instead of being combined into a single prequel book. I suspect some of this comes down to economics. I also felt it a bit odd that what seems to be the second prequel audiobook was the first to be released (author confirmed this was the first book) in this format prior to the initial one. I would have liked to have been able to start the series with the information from the second prequel giving additional details and backstory of the characters which may have increased my rating.
The book’s narrator, Scott Allen, is newer to the audiobook scene with a total of four books available on Audible; at the time of this review. Do not let his number of narrations turn you away of his works. This is the first work I have listened too, and I found his voice to be deep and rich which gave the dragons that grand feeling. He also seemed to have a good understanding of the character’s personalities as each felt unique and different. Overall, I enjoyed the book’s narration. However, I believe a few of the female characters were voiced much higher than I would have preferred. I understand how difficult it can be for a male with a deeper voice is to narrate female characters, so I can overlook such while listening.
For parents or younger readers, I do not recall the use of vulgar language while listening. There are a few scenes that deal with sex or sexual overtones, but they appear to be used more for giving a feeling of oppression and despair. Note, there are a few anti-religious pokes or jabs along the way such as when the dragons discuss the human’s fictional god, etc. If any of the above offends you, I suggest you find another series to listen too.
In summary, if you are looking for a new series about dragons, I believe this may be the start of something worth picking up. It is difficult to see the direction the author is going when the listener is dropped into what feels like the second prequel before being able to listen to the first; which is really the second. The world is well developed, the story is well written, I would have liked to have had more to better understand the overall story direction and more scenes of action to told my attention even more.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.