Author: Harmon Cooper
Narrator: Andrea Parsneau
Length: 10 hours 25 minutes
Publisher: Podium Publishing⎮2019
Genre: Dark Fantasy; GameLit
Series: Death’s Mantle Trilogy, Book 1
Release date: Dec. 17, 2019
Synopsis: Lucian North is supposed to be dead.
Suffering from a rare heart condition that doctors say should have killed him over a year ago, Lucian is playing a video game when Death finally comes.
Rather than give in, Lucian pulls a gun on the Grim Reaper.
As the two stare each other down, terrible demons known as injuresouls swarm into the room in pursuit of Death.
Summoning courage he never knew he had, Lucian comes to Death’s aid. And for his troubles, he is awarded Death’s Mantle.
Transported to a spiritual world he could have never fathomed, Lucian finds that he is instantly powerful, able to conjure weapons from scratch and perform incredible feats. He introduces game mechanics to his new role, develops a carefully curated inventory list, and modifies a HUD system that allows him to better track his targets.
It isn’t easy being Death, and Lucian will need just about everything he can get as he faces off against fallen angels, appalling parasites, demon-born injuresouls, and savage Death Hunters.
Regardless of his sudden strength, his newfound enemies, and his gamer ingenuity, Lucian can’t communicate with the living, which wouldn’t be a problem if he hadn’t discovered something terrible about his family…
Lucian’s brother is scheduled to die, and only Lucian has the power to do anything about it.
Death’s Mantle is a dark fantasy GameLit novel that LitRPG, metaphysical fantasy, occult sci-fi, and thriller readers will love. Death’s Mantle is written by Harmon Cooper, bestselling GameLit author of Way of the Immortals, House of Dolls, Cherry Blossom Girls, The Feedback Loop and Monster Hunt NYC. It was inspired by the anime Parasyte, the comic book series Sandman and Spawn, the books On a Pale Horse and the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
About the Author: Harmon Cooper
Harmon Cooper is a prolific Amazon best-selling author of 50 science fantasy books and counting. He was one of the earliest authors to bring GameLit to the West. His most popular series include Way of the Immortals, House of Dolls, Cherry Blossom Girls, The Feedback Loop and Monster Hunt NYC. Originally from Austin, Texas, Cooper was a musician before transitioning to world traveler and writer, spending five years in Asia honing his writing skills, wanderlusting, studying languages, and teaching English. He now lives in New England (and loves it!) with his wife.
About the Narrator: Andrea Parsneau
Andrea Parsneau is an actor, gamer, and artist, known as the most prolific independent female narrator in the genres of LitRPG and GameLit and has made a name for herself working with some of the most recognizable names in the genre. Just recently, she narrated one of the most anticipated productions in Gamelit/LitRPG history, “The Wandering Inn” by Pirate Aba to great critical acclaim. Andrea specializes in bringing each character to life organically through character acting, emotional authenticity and fast-paced action, and is proud to have credits with companies such as the highly prestigious Soundbooth Theater, Podium Publishing, Double Damage Games and more. Outside of her growing catalog of audiobooks, her voice can also be heard in Rebel Galaxy Outlaw and the popular Fallout 4 New Vegas mod with more to come!
About the Publisher: Podium Publishing
Podium is an industry-leading independent audiobook publisher built upon the foundation of successful partnerships with self-published authors and narrators. With deep share of voice in the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance, the company has enjoyed quick commercial and critical acclaim, releasing almost 1,300 audiobooks, numerous best-sellers, winning an Audie Award and 13 Voice Arts Awards. Podium is best-known for supporting, nurturing and discovering independent authors and narrators from the U.S. and around the world. The company gained international notice when it took a risk on one-time unknown author Andy Weir (The Martian) and turned his e-book into the largest audiobook seller in the world.
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Death’s Mantle by Harmon Cooper Audio Book Review
I received a free download MP# of Death’s Mantle by Harmon Cooper audiobook narrated by Andrea Parsneau as part of an Audiobookworm Tour promotion. Receiving this for free does not affect my opinion of the book. Participating in book tours does introduce me to books I would not have otherwise read if I had been looking for books myself. I’m not a huge fan of gaming influence literature. And this dark fantasy is heavy on the GameLit essence.
Before I talk about the story, I want to talk about the audio part of the audio book. Andrea Parsneau has got to be the most talented narrator I’ve ever heard. Her vocal flexibility is purely epic. High, low, middle tones, male and female, angel, demon, she hits every word with a perfect touch of emotion and energy. It combined with a fascinating premise and incredible story world to make for a riveting listen. My wireless headphones died partway through chapter three and the GameLit aspect of the plot and the narrator’s skill in presenting the story lured my teen son from playing his Switch in his room to hang out and listen in to the story with me.
As far as I know, this was the first time I’ve ever heard this narrator so I’m going to be on the look out for more audiobooks with her in the future. Her accents were amazingly detailed, and she switched effortlessly between New England accents, a Japanese accent, and no accent. The audio quality is fabulous. No popping, no static, crystal clear sound. However, the recording isn’t as fancy as some other books. No sound effects or music. Just the one narrator instead of a cast of voice actors. Yet, I don’t think that mattered as I got to hang out with my kid, and we discussed the ways that the fictional world worked and how cool the gamer element was.
I think this book translated quite well into audiobook format. If you are like me and aren’t terribly fond of GameLit you might prefer this book in audiobook format. Audiobooks are how I experience books I wouldn’t appreciate reading. If I had tried to read this book, the discussion of leveling up, being “OP”, and the whole role-playing-game-quest format of the book is not something I would have enjoyed in written format. Fans of Dungeons and Dragons and other fantasy tabletop and computer/video/console first-person-shooter Role Playing Games will probably enjoy this a great deal.
The book starts in 2019 when the main character Lucian dies, the adventure then continues over the course of several months. What isn’t made apparent in the synopsis, is that Lucien is special in that he can not only see death, he can see all the various forms of “parasites” (or demons as the angels refer to them) which prey upon sentient beings (because Earth is not the only planet which Death walks on). This sets him apart from other Deaths because only really “high-level” Deaths can see what he sees, and it inspires him to work towards loftier goals than most Death’s.
A word of spoiler alert. Trigger Warning.
Lucian’s brother is scheduled to die likely because of his serious drug addiction. Throughout the book Lucian watches his brother going further and further down the road of this self-destruction while literally being unable to intervene because he can’t interact with anything on the Mortal plane of existence. People who may have issues with this may not appreciate this story.
However, those scenes are not the majority of the book. The story was brilliant, and masterfully narrated.
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