“Obligations Incurred” is the second book in the Delvers LLC series. There are currently three books available on Audible; at the time of this review. Each of the books are written by Blaise Corvin and the audiobook editions are all masterfully narrated by Jeff Hays. This book is a continuation of the events from the first book and overall it felt like a young adult (YA) contemporary fantasy storyline with the addition of gods, demigods, and many of the mortals who serve them. If you can put up with the weak, immature, and rather dimensionless writing along with the heavy use of vulgar language and humor, you may find the book appealing. For me, the book was difficult to complete as it seemed more like someone simply writing a stream of consciousness rather than a well-crafted fantasy tale. I am unable to highly recommend this book to anyone. However, based on the overwhelming positive reviews, I understand that I may be in the minority.
I want to say up front that both the narration and audio quality is exceptional and it was the main reason I was able to complete the book. Had it not been for the wonderful performance by Mr. Hays, I would have marked the book as “Did Not Finish” (DNF) and moved on. Mr. Hays is able to voice the many different and unique characters masterfully. He is able to give a feeling of life and personality to each of the book’s main characters, and I liked that very much. Along with the audio quality not having any noticeable artifacts (swallowing, page turns, etc.), the listen was rather enjoyable and I will continue to listen to pieces he narrates.
Let me turn back to the book itself. For me, the book had too many bumps, blemishes, and bruises for it to be enjoyable. It is rare when I listen to books, but I found myself checking the time remaining and excited as the book neared the finish line. There was a lack of any prologue for someone who had an extended gap between listening to the first and second books. I felt the characters were rather flat and uninteresting. The writing style lacked depth and descriptive elements when often I found myself wanting a clearer picture of the current scene. The constant use of vulgar language seemed to not fit the character nor the world which they were a part of. The characters names were complex and hard to remember making it feel more like an anime cartoon than a fantasy series; this may have been the author’s intent. The story often felt more like someone was describing a video or streaming event, rather than leading the listener on the journey along with the characters.
In summary, I would recommend you pick up a different book series than this one if in doubt. I understand that I may be in the minority based on the many other positive reviews here, but for me, the book simply did not work out. The book attempted to be fully inclusive of all people groups, but for me it felt forced and unnatural to throw this in halfway into the book and for no good reason.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.