Book #4. The Gearheart: Artifice, by AlexWhte. Unabridged audio.
Jonathan Andrews is an Initiate in the Seekers of the Arcane Unknown, having joined the secret society two years ago.The goal of Jonathan and the Seekers is to guard the secrets of
magic from the greedy world beyond. After Jonathan finds himself totally outmatched by a coming darkness, his visions of the future speak of a coming apocalypse.
The world-building in the book is its strength, as the intersections of magic and prophecy and weaponry make a fun tapestry for the storytelling. The queensman, the seeress, and seeker council make for great background characters, and speak to a rich history that informs the action of the novel. The main characters are exciting,as well, including Cog, the possessor of the mystical Gearheart.
The story itself was not as riveting as I had hoped, and I found myself drifting at various points, especially in the early chapters, where actions and characters did not seem to be connected. But the action usually brought my attention back in short order. My other criticism is not the fault of anyone except my own expectations. Given the name and the design of the novel, I was expecting more of a steampunk story than this actually turned out to be. It was more of a magical action-adventure yarn than I thought it would be. I had no problem with that, but it was not my expectation going into the book.
Source: Podiobooks. The audio narration was performed excellently by writer Alex White (the male voices) and his wife Renee (the female voice. Both are solid readers, and White does an excellent job in the production of the episodes. The soundtrack is excellent, and adds to the overall mood.