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5/23/2017

Xathrodox86 reviews: "The Thirteenth Wolf" by Gav Thorpe

It's no big secret that I'm a huge audiobook fan. They've helped me escape the boredom of a long bus drive and the tedium of long house chores.

However I would gladly take a year of non-stop toilet cleaning, than listen to "The Thirteenth Wolf" one more time. This is it ladies and gentlemen - the absolute worst audiobook, ever produced by the Black Library.

The cover's pretty nice, tough
I'm not even kidding, this thing fucking sucks. There is not a single, redeeming thing about this book, not one! You may think that I'm biased, because of who the author is but I can assure you that I'm not. Sure, Gav Thorpe singlehandedly made me quit collecting the Raven Guard with "Deliverance Lost", but I honestly don't think that he's a bad author. Even tough his first Raven Guard book was medicore at best, the latter titles, especially "Weregeld", were really enjoyable and he does Dark Angels exceptionally well. So I was actually really surprised at the "The Thirteenth Wolf's" low level of quality.

This audiobook runs for 68 minutes, but it feels at least twice as long, and not in a good way. The story centres around the fabled Thirteenth Great Company of the Space Wolves legion. During the assault on Prospero the warriors of "Dekk-Tra" are tasked by their Primarch with eliminating key officers of the Thousand Sons, mainly their sorcerers. From the very beginning we are introduced to the most boring pack of Vlka Fenryka, ever. Led by Bulveye, the so called "Wolf Brothers" were the old guard of the VIth Legion. They fought at the side of Leman Russ himself, before the coming of the Emperor and were old men, when injected with Canis Helix. Anyway, Bulveye is not the only one of the heroes of this audio drama, but he's... the only memorable one. There were 9 other Wolves present, but neither one of them was interesting or developed in any way, that he could've been remembered. Aside from a small cameo from Geigor Fellhand, known primarily from the "Burning of Prospero" game, the "Thirteenth Wolf" has a bunch od dudes, whose names I couldn't even remember when I was halfway into the story. Really depressing, let me tell you.

On the side of the traitors(?) things are looking similarly shitty. The main villian, altough calling him that is really pushing the term, is Izzakar Orr, a moustache-twirling sorcerer of the Thousand Sons. Orr is a typical saturday morning cartoon villian, straight from a Scooby Doo episode, spewing threats and running away at the last possible moment, before the Wolves can punch his ticket. I always liked good attention to detail, so I was very impressed to learn that the Thousand Sons' Librarians wore blue power armour. It's also worth mentioning that the people of Prospero are apparently gaunt, despite living under a scorching sun and having been presented as dusky skinned in almost all, previous 40K stories. Good job there.

So anyway, the "Wolf Brothers" under Bulveye begin to chase the dastardly Orr through a series of magical portals, and if that sounds fucking stupid, that's because it is. The bluish madman leads them on a merry chase through time and space... literally. The Wolves visit the Planet of the Sorcerers, stand above a sun in the vacuum of space (don't ask), fight some Wulfen and... yeah, no one really cares. No one cares, because their adventures are presented in such a boring, uninspired way, that it is not even funny. When one of them dies, the reader dosen't feel anything, because there's a good chance that he did not even remembered the legionary's name, not to mention his unique traits. Assuming that he had any to begin with.

Badly written characters and atrocious story aside, "The Thirteenth Wolf" is also very poorly produced. The background sounds are way too loud, often making the speech of various characters impossible to understand. I know that Black Library's short stories tend to use ambient sound a lot, but never before have I met with them being such poorly utilised. Not only that, but the actors speaking their lines also don't help. Sometimes they whisper so quietly that even turning the volume up to the maximum level did not helped. Few of the characters slur or speak in a growling voice, that makes it all but impossible to understand what the hell they are saying. However the absolute worst part came, when Bulveye and Orr spoke to each other across a huge chamber. When the old wolf spoke, he could be heard loud and clear, but with the Thousand Son, they've decided to make his voice sound, like he was standing a couple dozen meters away. The final effect was that he couldn't be heard at all, and cranking the volume up did not helped, except having my ears bombarded with decibles, when it was Bulvey's turn to speak and I did not had time to lower the sound. It was really unpleasant, to put it lightly.

It's almost as fun as listening to one of  those guys in a small room, with good interior acoustics
It is really a testament to the shittiness of this book, that the author managed to make a story about jumping through time and space, not to mention the origins of the 13th Great Company's long hunt for the traitors, boring. I mean, how is it even possible? I don't know, but I hope never to read/listen to anything as bad as "The Thirteenth Wolf" ever again. I don't recommend this audio drama to anyone. Save your money and give this one a pass.

Pros:

- It ends... eventually.

Cons:

- Boring story.
- Heroes are bland and uninteresting.
- The villian is ridiculous and completely non-threatening.
- Very poor production quality.
- It's 68 minutes too long.
- You have to actually pay money for this thing. This should be illegal in itself.
- Hell, the fact that it exists at all is bad enough to warrant an Exterminatus on the whole Black Library.

I need a fantasy fix, which is why my next post will contain a good portion of the good, Old World. Stay tuned.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

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