Narrator: Simon Vance
Series: Fifth Ward
Published by Orbit on July 11th, 2017
Length: 11 hours and 10 minutes
Sexual Content: References to rape and prostitution
Reviewed by: James
Humans, orcs, mages, elves, and dwarves all jostle for success and survival in the cramped quarters of Yenara, while understaffed Watch Wardens struggle to keep its citizens in line.
Enter Rem: new to Yenara and hungover in the city dungeons with no money for bail. When offered a position with the Watch to compensate for his crimes, Rem jumps at the chance.
His new partner is less eager. Torval, a dwarf who's handy with a maul and known for hitting first and asking questions later, is highly unimpressed with the untrained and weaponless Rem.
But when Torval's former partner goes missing, the two must consort with the usual suspects -- drug dealing orcs, mind-controlling elves, uncooperative mages, and humans being typical humans -- to uncover the truth and catch a murderer loose in their fair city.
First Watch is an awesome book! I’ve read a lot of steampunk police procedural, quite a few of them I’ve reviewed here. I’ve enjoyed all of them, but they’ve always been a little lacking. First Watch is exactly the book I’ve always hoped the others would be. Let me clarify, First Watch is fantasy not steampunk, but I guess it was the fantasy angle I’d been hoping for in all the others.
First Watch is a police procedural taking place in the fantasy town, Yenara. Yenara is exactly the type of town you’d want a book to take place in. It’s a port town where all the different fantasy races intermingle. I’d say the blurb puts it best: “drug dealing orcs, mind-controlling elves, uncooperative mages, and humans being typical humans” What more could you want from a fantasy police procedural?
What I think First Watch did best was actually simulating what a fantasy town would be like. First Watch isn’t a police procedural set in a regular town, just with orcs and dwarves walking around. First Watch actually deals with all the corruption and anarchy that would exist in such a town.
My only complaint about First Watch was that a few of the moments of high intense action were told instead of shown. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t get over, but it was annoying. However, First Watch’s solid plot, strong mystery, and great characters made up for that shortcoming. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the Fifth Ward series.
Notes on the Audiobook: I rarely look at the narrator when I get an audiobook. I've learned to enjoy any narrator. Within about five minutes of listening to First Watch I had to check who the narrator was because I thought it had to be Jim Dale. It wasn't Jim Dale, it was Simon Vance. I've never heard a book narrated by Simon Vance before, but he's a narrator to keep an eye on. He is amazing!Series Titles:
- First Watch