Happy Sunday everyone! Welcome to today’s blog tour post for Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson. I am actually really excited for today’s post as it is my first review of an audiobook for a blog tour. As always, I’d like to take the chance to thank both Suzanne and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my chance to take part in the tour. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you!
Visions of Zarua
Two wizards, 350 years apart. Can they save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past?
An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.
Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.
Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.
The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions and save the Paltrian people before the dark menace of Zarua’s past is unleashed?
Finishing this audiobook in time for the tour ended up coming closer to the wire than I would have liked. Truth is I just don’t listen to audiobooks that quickly… unless I have a looming deadline. I typically listen to audiobooks in the car on the way home, which means I listen to them for around half an hour every weekday.
It felt like it took a little while to get into the book, but I put that down to the fact that I started listening to this audiobook quite slowly. It is no reflection on the book at all because as soon as I started listening to it as much as possible this week, I found myself hoping for a few more minutes at the end of lunch to continue it… or sitting in the car to wait for the next suitable place to pause the narrative.
I enjoyed the split timeline element of the narrative, as I often do in books of this format. In Visions of Zarua, the past and the present timelines complement each other very well. The pacing of each respective story builds to the epic climax of a 350-year-old struggle. The element of mystery to the novel also made an interesting and enjoyable pairing with the fantasy genre. The magical society and divisions within add political intrigue and tension to the relations between characters.
I can’t write this review without talking about our main characters in the novel: Paddren, Leyoch and Varnia. The friendship of these three characters from not-so-different backgrounds really gels the story together. In times of despair, they pull each other through and their complex relationships and motivations play a large part in driving the narrative forward. They each have their own distinct personalities and despite their trials and flaws, you cannot help but love and invest into them.
Lastly, as this is an audiobook, I should talk about Guy Barnes’ narration of the storyline. Can I say, he does a fantastic job of bringing each of the characters, major or minor, to life. Each is distinctively unique in the persona he has given them. The variety of accents he pulls off consistently is amazing too.
I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook and I recommend it to all who enjoy the fantasy genre. I’ll be reading some of her other books having enjoyed Visions of Zarua so much – put it that way!
Author Bio –
Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.
She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.
Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.
She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.
Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.
Social Media Links –
Narrator Bio –
Guy or the Big G as he is known to his friends is a London/ Brighton based actor and singer songwriter and producer.
He has recently completed his first leading role in the film Typo out next year and played the role of Alvin Turner in American film Holly Turner also out next year.
Guy only started narrating audiobooks last year and Visions of Zarua is his 2nd. He will be narrating 2 classics this year, Bram Stoker‘s Dracula and HG Wells The Time Machine.
In his spare time Guy is a passionate biker and cigar aficionado and he’ll not say no to a Sierra Nevada beer or two!
Social Media Links –