Source: Audiobook Boom/ – I received this in exchange for an honest review.
Series: The Golden Guard #1
Narrator: Zachary Johnson
Edition: Audiobook, 5 Hours 40 Minutes
Genre: Fantasy Mystery
Purchase: Amazon / Audible / Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4/5 Stars
A coastal summer is turned upside down by a violent murder, and a quest for lost pirate treasure turns into a hunt for the killer.
Jax Wendyll is the crown’s dog. As punishment for the unspeakable crimes that torment him to this day, his life has been conscripted to the Empire Solaris. However, in an empire afflicted by peace, his duties are relegated to unquestioningly aiding the antics of the youngest prince, Baldair.
Erion Le’Dan, a nobleman’s son, expects a quiet summer visit to the Imperial Palace, his only agenda to visit with his unlikely friends. But Jax’s discovery of the legendary pirate Adela Lagmir’s old workroom inspires a hunt for her long lost treasure.
The pursuit of Adela’s truth takes the three men to the imperial summer manor, built along the old pirate mainstays. When Adela’s trident is branded into a murdered servant, Prince Baldair’s summer amusement of treasure-hunting becomes a hunt to find the killer. But, as mysteries compound, the ghosts of Jax’s past may not be the only things haunting them.
The Crown’s Dog was an audio that basically took up my entire day. I ate, worked, and even slept (oops) while listening to it because the mix of engaging story and Zachary’s reading was just too good to hold off on.
Our story focuses on two point of views, Jax and Erion. Jax is a sorcerer who has been conscirpted to the service of the youngest prince. He has a past that haunts him, which we do get to see bits and pieces of, and throughout this story he is struggling to overcome the doubts and pain that it brings him. Despite his gloom he is really witty and has plenty of dry humor to go around. Erion is the more refined and quiet man in the group, he is more at ease playing the gentleman than the brash fighter. He has wit but he’s mostly focused on keeping the other two from allowing their quick wittiness from getting them killed. I really liked the hints at a strong friendship between Erion and Jax, but I really want to see more. They have a past together and it would be great to have that foundation, because Erion spends a lot of time worried about Jax’s current mental state. Baldir has a lot going on as well, he’s a playboy who is fighting the reputation he’s rightfully earned.Put all three of these men together and it’s like the perfect trio of humor and thanks to the narrator amazing accents.
I really loved the mystery element to this as I wasn’t expecting to play such a big part, and I loved getting to know more about the kingdom through the clues and inquires through out. However there were some elements that I wish I had learned more about, like the Crystal wars which are mentioned several times. It does seem like we might get more info on that in the next book though, so I’m hopeful. The magic is fairly cool as well and it’s interesting to see how it’s taken culturally depending on region.
Zachary Johnson’s work is phenomenal! He does a variety of really convincing accents AND even sings a bit! He has excellent pacing and his reading is animated, he really seems to get into character and it makes for an fun listen.
This series shows some real promise and I’m looking forward to further installments!