Welcome to one of the April 19th stops on the audiobook blog tour for The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True by Sean Gibson, organized by Audiobookworm Promotions. I already reviewed the ebook with Storytellers on Tour in January, but I was curious about the audiobook so I volunteered again. Spoiler alert: This review is starred higher than the ebook!
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Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing? I was barely coherent during most of the drafting stage and couldn’t figure out what to have for lunch, so wasn’t really thinking ahead to the possibility of turning this into an audiobook. That said, as I got close to the finish line–and made the critical decision to go with a peanut butter sandwich–I started to think about how it would sound, thinking about how much fun it would be if we could find someone who had the vocal range to do so many different characters.
What’s your favorite…
- Food: Pizza (though now I’m trying to eat vegan, so it’s more like pizza crust topped with tomato sauce, fresh basil, and the salty tears of so many delicious memories)
- Book: Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Movie: Ghostbusters
- Band: Van Halen (with Sammy Hagar, of course)
What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors? The best advice I’ve ever heard is from legendary fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, who advises that if you can quit, do it. Walk away. In fact, run away. Just stop. Writing is a hard, lonely, and often fruitless undertaking. Why do something like that if you don’t have to? But if you can’t stop–if you absolutely feel compelled to keep telling stories no matter how hard it is or how much you’d be having if you were, instead, hot-tubbing with the cool kids (whoa…high school flashbacks), then you’re a writer, and you’ve got to pour everything you’ve got into it and never stop trying to get better.
Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks? It’s obviously important to find someone who has the right voice, but it’s also critical to find someone who you feel like gets what you’re trying to do and is open to input and collaboration. I feel very, very lucky to have found exactly that.
What’s next for you? Probably another peanut butter sandwich. And hopefully more stories. Come hang out with me at www.seangibsonauthor.com
About the Book
The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True
Heloise the Bard Book One
by Sean Gibson
Published 15 December 2020
The Parliament House
Page Count: 308
Published 8 February 2021
The Parliament House
Narrator: Haley Catherine
Length: 10 hours 8 minutes
Genre: Comic Fantasy
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Sure, you think you know the story of the fearsome red dragon, Dragonia. How it terrorized the village of Skendrick until a brave band of heroes answered the noble villagers’ call for aid. How nothing could stop those courageous souls from facing down the dragon. How they emerged victorious and laden with treas-ure.
But, even in a world filled with epic adventures and tales of derring-do, where dragons, goblins, and unli-censed prestidigitators run amok, legendary heroes don’t always know what they’re doing. Sometimes they’re clueless. Sometimes beleaguered townsfolk are more hapless than helpless. And orcs? They’re not always assholes, and sometimes they don’t actually want to eat your children.
Heloise the Bard, Erithea’s most renowned storyteller (at least, to hear her tell it), is here to set the record straight. See, it turns out adventuring isn’t easy, and true heroism is as rare as an articulate villager.
Having spent decades propagating this particular myth (which, incidentally, she wrote), she’s finally able to tell the real story—for which she just so happened to have a front-row seat.
Welcome to Erithea. I hope you brought a change of undergarments—things are going to get messy.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Consider “liking” my review on Goodreads.
I was granted complimentary access to The Part about the Dragon Was (Mostly) True by Sean Gibson to review for a blog tour for this title organized by Storytellers on Tour in January 2021, and then had to opportunity to review the audiobook edition with Audiobookworm Promotions in April 2021. Thank you to all involved in granting me this opportunity! This has not swayed my opinion; my thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
Fans of Pratchett need to check out this book and, presumably, everything else by this author! This absurdist comedy about a bard in a fantasy world who’s ready to tell the REAL story behind her most successful myth is such a fun ride. This will appeal to fans of Pratchett, fans of quest fantasies, and likely also fans of LitRPG and classic fantasy RPG players, particularly if you have a sense of humour.
I love Heloise, she’s great! Those who follow my reviews may not know that I’m an aspiring SFF author myself, and I have many in-progress and abandoned fantasies taking up notebooks and flash drives all over the place. I once started a story about a young bard, initially inspired by wondering what Chronicler from Rothfuss’ world might have been like as a teenager, but the character I ended up with was quite similar to Heloise. Younger, male, and a lot less self-confident (in his case it’ll come with age and experience) but I feel like they’d be fast friends if they ever met. Reading Heloise was like having a long conversation with my old forgotten character who had gone off, lived a whole life, and come back to tell me about it.
This is truly a hilarious adventure, and if anyone disagrees, there are rock giants to answer to. And dragons. (Allegedly.) With that said, I must agree with several other reviewers before me (I like to make sure we’ve all read the same book when I’m done reading) that it perhaps hits a little too hard, too soon with the humour. We’ve been assured that this book can be read as a stand-alone without having read any of Heloise’s other adventures, and as someone who has not yet had that pleasure I can attest that seems to be true, but for the first 10-20% I did truly feel like as I was trying to get to know Heloise and the gang I was being hit over the head with the “I AM FUNNY!!!” stick and it could do with a little padding. Maybe a layer of nerf foam. Make it a LARP-approved stick. (Okay, I’ll show myself out.)
Audiobook comments: Haley Catherine’s narration performance is top-notch! I absolutely loved all the different voices she adopted for each character, complete with suitably different pacing, cadence, accents, etc. She managed to make Borg my favourite character this time around, even though Heloise herself was my favourite in the ebook, and somehow the jokes just hit that much better when performed with talented comedic timing. During my listen through for this review, Chapter 3 decided to put itself on repeat and started over. I hope that was a fluke or the fault of my barely-competent Chromebook that was playing it, but I had to manually progress to chapter 4. Everything continued smoothly after that! My rating of the book itself remains a 4, but my rating of Haley Catherine’s performance is a strong 5 and I dare say elevates the whole experience to a 5.
I absolutely must go track down Sean Gibson’s other works now and I add them to my TBR. You should do the same!
About the Author
Sean Gibson is not a professional mini biography writer (if he were, this would be much more compelling). Instead, he’s a marketing professional by day, hangs out with his amazing wife, son, and daughter by night, and writes somewhere in between. He holds a BA in English Literature from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, but he really wishes he had been able to matriculate at Hogwarts (he would have been in Hufflepuff for sure). Sean is a fan of sports teams from Detroit, a distressingly large number of bands that rose to prominence in the 1980s, and writing in the third person. He currently resides in Northern Virginia, and, given how much he hates moving, and given that his house has an awesome library, is likely to remain there for some time.
In addition to The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True, Sean is the author of The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple as well as The Camelot Shadow and its prequel short, “The Strange Task Before Me.” He has written extensively for Kirkus Reviews, and his book reviews have also appeared in Esquire.
Follow him on Twitter @Gibknight, but only if you’re really bored and enjoy tomfoolery.
About the Narrator
Haley Catherine is am a performer, singer and VO actor based in both London and Austin, Texas (depending on the time of year, and state of the world!). She received her BFA (cum laude) from Boston Conservatory and my MA (distinction) from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and has spent her time since training working with companies such as The National, Secret Cinema, Welsh National Opera, and more, as well as narrating audiobooks for ACX and Audible.
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