“Journal of an Outlaw” is a satirical comedy written by Mick McArt giving the listener a view into the life of a rogue fantasy game character who finds himself in a land called the Unremembered Realms. The book is narrated by Faust Kells who has a few other fantasy type books performed under his name, and I liked his voice and narrating on this book. It was my first time listening to an audiobook by this narrator. If you like stories poking fun at not only other fantasy literature, but also include such items as D&D, social media, along with many modern items, you may find the book enjoyable. For me, I found it to be too disjointed and the humor overall not very whimsical even with fantasy books being my favorite genre. I will say that I liked the artwork of the book’s cover, it drew me into wanting to listen and learn who this odd character was.
The book contains one-hundred and twenty (120) journal entries which the author says are not told in chronological order. Yet, many of the later records reference items from earlier sections and you can feel the progression as the book moves along. These journals entries are simply small vignettes, or snippets, where I would have preferred the story to be told in a more traditional fashion. Although there were a few times where I cracked a smile, I found the flow of the story to be difficult to follow and the humor felt forced and often crude in nature. But, as a whole, the story was quite imaginative and unique in the way it was presented to the listener. It must have taken some time for the author to create all the various quips, puns, and pokes for the various events you will experience in the book.
I liked that the author included many of the known fantasy tropes such as troll and even maintained their known weakness against such things as fire. He seemed quite knowledgeable in fantasy works. A few of the creatures were unique while others were what one expects generally to find in a book of this category. I enjoyed the scene with the gelatinous cube as I have myself faced such a creature in my own role-playing adventures. The characters themselves I found to be rather non-dimensional and flat. I understand that in a book consisting of only journal entries, you will not have a lot of narrative or backstory to fill in these important details. What you do learn of the main character, the author of the journal, is that he is quite the outlaw with very few morals. He is a rather selfish character who is always looking out for number one, even during battles. The audiobook has promise, I would have liked to have had more depth and complexity than simply all humor; understanding this was a piece of satire.
The audiobook’s narration was well done with only a few noticeable audio artifacts; mainly swallowing which was not edited out. Nothing that would prevent you from listening though. The volume of the book was consistent from the start to finish, and I do not recall any other issues with the audio itself. The narrator’s voice was believable as the main character and even the other characters he voiced along the way. I look forward to hearing future narrated books to see if they are as well performed.
For parents and younger readers, as the author himself says, the book is really intended to be listened to by adults. Yet, some of the gaming and fantasy humor will be picked up by younger readers, I think much of it will be over their heads. As stated earlier, some of the humor is rather crude and may not be suitable for younger readers.
In summary, I liked the short chapters (journal entries) as it made consuming the book easier when large blocks of time could not be set aside for listening. I really wish this was told more in a traditional story with more depth and character development than it was. I think one can still have a fair amount of humor and satire told in a story mode than the numerous journal entries. I do have to give the author credit for thinking outside the box and attempting to tell the story in this way.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.