So, first of all, thank you for reading this here jumble of words that somehow counts as a blog! I hope everybody is safe and healthy in the ongoing crisis, currently staying away from people, and are huddled up at home enjoying a good book or three! We will all get through this if we work together by not being together.
Anyhow, back to today’s blogpost, what I was really going to talk about: I have begun listening to audiobooks! Now, I know there will be some confusion since audiobooks are not a new invention, but I have long belonged to the group of elitist people that shared the belief that listening to audiobooks is not reading. Many a time have I walked into a room where my wife is enjoying an audiobook, only to loudly proclaim (somehow sounding like Brian Blessed) “Woman, are you listening to audiobooks again? Are your eyes not good enough for you to enjoy a book?” Yes, I know this is just me admitting that I have been a long-time A-grade pretentious twat, but guess what, I have grown as a person. It happens sometimes, what’s next?, will I enjoy pineapple on pizza? Seriously doubt that! Now I am a convert and belong to the lovely group of people who enjoy listening to audiobooks. “How did this happen?” you might ask, “well, sit here by the fire and I will tell you”.
It all started with William Meikle, an author whose work I have enjoyed in my pre-blogging days. He put a post on twitter about some free audible codes for one of his books, “free and horror” are my buzzwords, I thought to myself, “eh, what’s the worst that can happen?”
The audiobook in question was:
Eldren: The Book of the Dark:
Two boys in the West of Scotland awaken an ancient vampire. And the only way to stop it is in the power of a book–a bible detailing the dark religion of the Eldren. But time is running out, and the sun is getting low.Are you afraid of the dark?You will be.
I must admit to my startling surprise that I enjoyed my first audiobook experience immensely; The biggest gripe I had with audiobooks, was that I thought that I would not be able to focus enough on the story being told, thankfully I was wrong!It was probably helped with the fact that it was a William Meikle story, the man knows how to write engaging and entertaining tales of horror. Another thing I found helpful was the narration, in this case, since the story was set in the west of Scotland, having an authentic Scottish narrator with a proper Scottish accent made it all more believable, it just adds another layer of immersion of it all. Also, my compliments to the narrator, Chris Barnes, who did an excellent job on this audiobook.
As for the story in Eldren: The Book of the Dark in itself, well, it is a well-written vampire story, with a varied and fully fleshed out cast of characters and an atmosphere that only WilliamMeikle can create, all of this makes for an enjoyable read. Here, there are no glittering sexy seductive emotionally stunted vampires to be found, but pale, thin, bony bloodsuckers that feast on human blood, leaving its victims as soulless husks, hungry only for more blood.
It all begins when two boys go somewhere they are not supposed to go, and accidentally awakens an ancient vampire (hey, it happens). Said vampire slowly turns the inhabitants of the Scottish town to vampires, then it is up to two teachers that are currently busy dating and falling for each other, to figure out what is happening in their town and how stop this. Quick side note; usually when a love situation occurs in a book like this, it can feel rather forced and unnatural, not in this case, here it just feels natural.
The town itself feels alive and like a character, with all its inhabitants (some effortlessly fleshed out in just a few lines, I might add), streets and buildings. So, you feel it all the more when the townspeople are being turned into mindless vampires.
Add a grizzled and stoic vampire hunter (that has suffered an emotional trauma that would have broken most people into a quivering mess) to the mix, pop some gory and violent scenes in the story, well, then you have one hell of an enjoyable vampire romp!
If you are anything like me then you probably feel like vampire books have been done to death, then you will agree that it is refreshing when you read a story that brings something newish to the mix, in this case, a well-crafted backdrop of vampire religion. It is still tied up to the Abrahamic religions, but it is more encompassing than what one would usually encounter, there are entire chapters dedicated to this, written as if they lifted perfectly from your gran’s old bible, this is a nice feature that adds more depth to the vampire lore here.
Also, Scotland is not the first place you think of when you hear vampire (unless you are thinking of the BaoBhan Sith or Slains Castle), but I feel like that is the right place for vampires, with the moors, the highland mountains and the small villages that feels like they are almost trapped in time.
I rate Eldren: The Book of the Dark a strong 4/5 bulbs of garlic. Also, a 4.5/5 for the narration!