Wrath of the Orphans – Chris Philbrook

Wrath of the Orphans coverA book that lives up to its name, Wrath of the Orphans is intense, gruesome—wrathful, even—and it stars a pair of orphans. Snark aside, It’s an intense ride. The pair endure the unthinkable: losing family, loved ones, home, and future in a single night. Truth be told, it was a bit cliché.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. I’ll admit to a bit of groaning when the first act of the story took me down such a familiar path; I was ready to be bored by the story at that point. But given that this was an audiobook (from the kind folks at Audible) and that I had many a chore to complete, I kept listening.

And I’m glad I did. After the methodical destruction of their entire lives, the orphans don’t go down the path of traditional heroes. Rather, they go pretty much berserk and vote violent revenge upon those who took everything from them.

It’s at this point in the audiobook that Kevin T. Collins, the narrator, imbues every single word with a boiling anger that obscures—eclipses, really—the content of the story. It’s reasonable, of course, that these things would drive the twins to an blind rage, but as a far as the listening experience is concerned, it was a bit distracting.

All of that being said, though, I found the book and narration totally compelling. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea (it’s gory and features explicit language), but it works for me in the same way Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire trilogy worked for me.

The “choreography” in Chris Philbrook’s writing is excellent. He paints his scenes with vivid clarity that makes the reading (or listening, in my case) particularly good. The fights are intense and visceral, and the stakes are raised at consistent enough clips to pull the reader along the path to darkness that the twins follow in pursuit of revenge.

By and large, I enjoyed Wrath of the Orphans, in spite of my initial misgivings and what was (for a good portion of the book, at least) a too-wrathful reading.  I turned the speed of the reading to 2X (the Audible app is great, by the way), and blew through the book, feeling very satisfied at the end, and curious enough to follow the loose ends in the next book in the series.

Wrath of the Orphans is available on Amazon.com

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