Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Audio Book Review: Wormwood

Title: Wormwood
Author: G. P. Taylor
Genre: Fantasy
Pub Date: 2004, Penguin Group
Source: Borrowed from my parents


Panic fills the streets of London on a night in 1756 when the earth suddenly lurches forward and starts spinning out of control. Within moments, eleven days and nights flash through the sky, finally leaving the city in total darkness. Is the end of the world at hand?

Agetta Lamian fears so. She's the young housemaid of Dr. Sabian Blake, a scientist who has recently acquired the Nemorensis, the legendary book said to unlock the secrets of the universe. And what he sees through his telescope confirms what he has read: This disaster is only a sign of things to come. Agetta overhears Dr. Blake's prophecy that a star called Wormwood is headed towards London, where it will fall from the sky and strike a fatal blow.

Dr. Blake believes the comet will either end the world as he knows it or hearken a new age of scientific and spiritual enlightenment. But whatever the outcome, he must cope with the madness that grows in London as the comet approaches -- as well as with his fears that the Nemorensis' power could be clouding his own reason and drawing dangerous spirits to his door. Soon even Agetta seems to have been seduced by the book, and whom she ultimately delivers it to will determine much more than just her fate.

My Thoughts

I am just going to come out and say that I don't know quite what to make of this book. (And in many ways, I think it is more difficult to review audiobooks because the reading can really sway my opinion of the book.) In this case, I will admit that I am glad I listened to the audio version as opposed to reading the book, because I think I enjoyed it more thanks to Davina Porter's incredible reading. My understanding is that she has read many audio books, so I may actually seek out those that she has done because I enjoyed listening to her so much.

The story is much darker than I anticipated--the synopsis does not really do the book full justice. At times the story is difficult to follow, because the point of view shifts back and forth between Blake's and Agetta's respective stories, which of course do relate to each other and eventually bring them together. Thanks to Porter's reading, all of the characters come to life right out of the book. Unfortunately I couldn't get into the story as much as I would have liked to, however. The tale was just so odd at times (and even gruesome at points) and quite frankly, I felt like the plot was a little shaky. In all fairness, though, it is more difficult to follow a book when you have to break up the listening sessions into several commutes to work. I have a feeling that if I had been reading the book, I would have felt like the prose was a little over the top, but it didn't come across that way when listening to the story. (Although I will say that overuse of words becomes more obvious when you are listening to a book--in this case, the word that started bothering me was "chink," as in a "chink of light" but then there were chinks in the curtains and it just got a little annoying after awhile.)

Overall, I'd say this was a good audio book to listen to simply to hear Davina Porter read all of the characters. The story is a bit of a strange one, with religious undertones at points, but it is a basic fantasy tale of good vs. evil, science vs. magic, etc.

My rating: 3 stars

If you have reviewed this book and would like to see a link to your review listed here, please leave a comment!


  1. I haven't read this book, but I will totally agree with you that the reading of an audio book can sway the opinion of the listener. It can really be a chink in the story's armor. So to speak. ;0)

  2. This sounds great! I love world disaster movies but never read a world disaster book!


  3. I haven't heard of this book but the synopsis sounds quite interesting. And as i am always on the look out for outstanding narrators I will definitely check Ms. Porter out. Sometimes it really ends up being about the narrator more than the book itself with audio versions.


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