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Black Leopard, Red Wolf

The Dark Star Trilogy, Book 1
Lu par : Dion Graham
Série : The Dark Star Trilogy, Volume 1
Durée : 24 h et 2 min
Prix : 37,71 €
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Description

The New York Times best seller
Wall Street Journal best seller
USA Today best seller 

"A fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made." (Neil Gaiman)

"Gripping, action-packed.... The literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)

The epic novel, an African Game of Thrones, from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings 

In the stunning first novel in Marlon James's Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: "He has a nose", people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard. 

As Tracker follows the boy's scent - from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers - he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying? 

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a novel unlike anything that's come before it: a saga of breathtaking adventure that's also an ambitious, involving story. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.

©2019 Marlon James (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critiques

“Marlon James is one of those novelists who aren’t afraid to give a performance, to change the states of language from viscous to gushing to grand, to get all the way inside the people he’s created.... [Black Leopard, Red Wolf] looks like another great, big tale of death, murder and mystery but more mystically fantastical.... Not only does this book come with a hefty cast of characters (like Seven Killings), there are also shape shifters, fairies, trolls, and, apparently, a map. The map might be handy. But it might be the opposite of why you come to James - to get lost in him.” (The New York Times)

“James is a professed fantasy nerd, so Black Leopard, Red Wolf will certainly appeal to fans of all the well-acknowledged authors with at least two initials - George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, etc. But if you’ve read James’ 2014 novel A Brief History of Seven Killings (decidedly not a sci-fi or fantasy book but a 700-page world-building epic about the attempted assassination of Bob Marley), you’ll drag yourself to the midnight queue to buy Black Leopard regardless of the whole Game of Thrones selling point.” (Huffington Post

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is the kind of novel I never realized I was missing until I read it. A dangerous, hallucinatory, ancient Africa, which becomes a fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made, with language as powerful as Angela Carter's. It's as deep and crafty as Gene Wolfe, bloodier than Robert E. Howard, and all Marlon James. It's something very new that feels old, in the best way. I cannot wait for the next installment.” (Neil Gaiman)

“James' sensual, beautifully rendered prose and sweeping, precisely detailed narrative cast their own transfixing spell upon the reader. He not only brings a fresh multicultural perspective to a grand fantasy subgenre, but also broadens the genre's psychological and metaphysical possibilities. If this first volume is any indication, James' trilogy could become one of the most talked-about and influential adventure epics since George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire was transformed into Game of Thrones.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)  

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • 16/03/2019

book is great but the performance is Emmy worthy

I always read and listen and this book is so well narrated it's better to listen. Dion Graham is the best narrator I've ever heard. He acted the whole thing. Incredible.

Warning this book is violent and racy. But very moving, powerful and we'll written.

5 sur 5 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa Gray
  • 07/02/2019

Opaque. And hard to care about.

After reading the New Yorker's profile of Marlon James, and seeing Neil Gaiman's blurb, I had extremely high hopes for this book: "An African 'Game of Thrones,'" people were calling it -- or maybe, given James' literary pedigree, an African "American Gods." I was hoping for a smart, fast-moving page-turner. (Or the audio equivalent of a page-turner, anyway.)

That's not this book. It's more like a really long tone poem related to African mythology. I stuck with it a long time, assuming that all my confusion would be resolved, that soon the new world being conjured would snap into focus and I'd start caring about all the violent action. That doesn't happen.

Dion Graham's voice was marvelous. But a marvelous voice alone can't sustain a 24-hour-long audiobook.

84 sur 99 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • j phillips
  • 26/02/2019

no...I need a break

I never write a review unless I finish a book because I believe it to be unfair to the author and narrator. However, after 10+ hours of audio, I can't see myself continuing with another 14 hours. I've seen some refer to this novel as an "African Game of Thrones," but I don't see the resemblance. I usually like long and complicated works, but not this time.

I'm a fan of the narrator, Dion Graham. I've listened to several of his performances, including Washington Black, The Force, and American War. However, his accent is so thick in this performance that the listener has to focus on every word to understand it, and even then, some parts I miss. I get why the accent is used, and it gets a little easier to understand as you get used to it, but I'm just tired of this novel.....for now. There's so many character names and names of places, and it's hard to know what's happening half the time. The novel has its moments, but they are too spread out. I will pick this one back up at some point and try to finish the remaining 14 hours, but for now, I need a break from it. I will revise this review upon completion of the book.

Overall rating of the first 10 hours: 2.74 stars

28 sur 33 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • The Altinutt
  • 19/03/2019

Compelling, dark, sometimes hard to follow audio

An epic quest the rescue the rightful king of a nation full of magical creatures as told by an extremely unreliable narrator. It sucked me in right away, and Mr. Graham's narration is brilliant. However, since I was not familiar with the characters, setting, or the various mythologies of the African dysphoria that the magic in the book draws from, I found the audio very hard to follow on its own. I ended up reading a section of book via Kindle, then listening to the audio of it, and so very much enjoyed Mr. Graham's theatricality without feeling lost.

The book can also be dark to the point of being off-putting. Since so many make the Game of Thrones comparison, I can't help but point out that Tracker's tale is actually far more brutal than anything George R. R. Martin dreamed up. Almost every page contains a murder, a torture, a rape, or sex with an adolescent. Even consensual sex between men of the same age is often described in grotesque terms, like Tracker detailing the foul smell of a man's butt crack as he licks it. Points for accuracy, I suppose.

The timeline of the story is also hard to follow, but that's because Tracker is the most unreliable of narrators. As he says multiple times, he is not telling the truth because what his audience wants is a story. The threads come mostly together by the end, though.

Overall, this book is amazing and you've probably never read anything like it previously. It's also extremely dark, and takes some effort to follow.

8 sur 9 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Carey Nelson
  • 03/05/2019

The most difficult book I've read recently

This book. I want to give this book five stars and one star at the same time.

I first heard Marlon James' name in a podcast interviewing him about his process in his studio. I was intrigued by the premise of his fantasy trilogy and made a note to look for it in the coming years. I had not read any of his previous work and did not read or research it. A month before this book's release excited puff pieces peppered my news feed to let me know that the book at last was coming. I had read Game of Thrones and other prominent fantasy, but I was not prepared for what this book actually is.

Chapter Two almost made me put the book away in disgust. Reviewers often write about how gruesome and repulsive the violence is, but no one writes about the sexual perversion of all kinds. The harshest language bombards the reader incessantly. Bodies are mutilated, mangled, eaten, broken, possessed, defiled, mutated, and almost always naked. I am exhausted emotionally and spiritually just thinking about this book.

Some time around a fifth or a quarter of the way through the book I took a break to see what others had written about it. Those reviews led me to pieces on Mr. James himself. These articles on the author were immediately more engaging that the fiction I was reading, and the book became a part of a larger narrative of storytelling. I went back to it, but at a more deliberate pace.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is composed in six parts, but feels to be three-possibly four-acts. The setup ends and brusquely transitions into high fantasy journey epic à la The Fellowship of the Ring. For all the talk of A Song of Ice and Fire this book reminded me much more of Tolkien. Maybe it is just because the author is not afraid to use the word "fellowship" more than once. The story is a story punctuated by other stories and holding more stories. This format leads to confusion and discouragement in the first half before congealing into something powerful and satisfying in the final act.

It has been said the protagonist is hard to like. The book takes most of its 600 plus pages to get to the payoff and a final desperate attempt to either change your feelings or cement them. Multiple times the story ends only to have it resume at a later point with the characters cast in a new light. Each time you are left to guess until things are finally made clear. This book is mystery surrounding adventure, fantasy, and horror with a touch of science fiction. It is literary and dramatic. It is repulsive and incredibly difficult yet powerful and possibly galvanizing. It is the first part of a trilogy in which each book will tell the same story from a different perspective. I will be reading the second book, but Marlon James, please take your time. It will be a while before I am ready for it.

A note on the book format:
Can there be a right way to read this book? The hardcover has what feel like dangerously thin pages to disguise the length. It also seemed like the text on the other side of the page can be seen too easily. What the hardcover does have is maps and a most helpful cast of characters (and a beautiful jacket). I listened to the audiobook, but I went to the store to take pictures of the supplementary materials in the hardcover. The audiobook (at least my pre-order copy from Audible) bizarrely has multiple spots that cut in the middle of a word to what seems like a sentence or two later. Then there is the reader. Mr. Dion Graham is incredible. It took me some time to understand him clearly, and in the beginning many of his character voices are too similar, but he performs this book as much more than just a reading. The range of emotion and theatricality of his performance adds to the book far more than any other audiobook I have experienced. For all the highs though, I often struggled listening in the car because he frequently dropped to an actual whisper or exploded into shouting. See me driving one hand on the wheel one hand on the volume knob. Still, what a performance! Thank you, Mr. Graham.

3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Byron
  • 16/03/2019

The nonlinear format was hard to follow at times.

The pacing was frantic but the story had me on the edge of me seat. And Dion Graham is an amazing voiceover talent.

3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • A. Cohen
  • 08/02/2019

Not your father’s Game of Thrones

The mythology and cultures this book draws from is not what most of us are familiar with. This may be off putting to some. I found this book to be wonderful in many ways. But also challenging to get into. If I hadn’t been familiar with James’ last great book I might have bailed. Ultimately well worth the effort.

Narration was a little difficult for me to understand sometimes because of the accents used and the many exotic names and places. I imagine this is how the author wanted it read, and it got easier for me after a couple of hours, so I don’t disagree with the choice, but I used a hard copy to read along with most of the time and that made the audiobook much more enjoyable for me.

29 sur 37 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael - Audible Editor
  • 08/02/2019

A Genre and Perception-Bending Adventure

I reviewed this book for Audible Editors Select, here is that review:

"I’m not claiming any credit for finding this one, as it has already become something of a movement, but I am definitely swept up in the transcendent force that is Marlon James and Dion Graham. I saw Neil Gaiman described the setting as "hallucinatory," and I haven’t heard a more apt description, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is an aimless, vague, or overly literary effort. It is absolutely riveting: My "listening hours per day" have more than tripled since I started listening to Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Word is Marlon James spent a long time researching African languages as well, and Dion Graham just nails all of the different accents. But the merits of Graham’s performance aren’t limited to language or accents. In every minute there is a new threat, a new scheme, and a new astoundingly unique voice; be it beast, witch, demi-god, or amorphous liquid assassin. I can only imagine Graham took a good break after this performance because the sheer number of different voices would put any narrator to the test, and he aced it."

I'm still listening to the book at this point, I have about 5 hours left and it is only getting better so I remain really excited about this series as a whole. Also, it turns out that Michael B Jordan has optioned the story and will produce it as a movie, which tells me this is going to be something really very big.

The first hour or two are admittedly slower than the rest of the book. They introduce the character and setting from a place that is purposefully distant from the core action/plot-line. It's an important introduction though, so just stick with it!

Marlon James has a firmly rooted literary background and his style is as important to the book as the plot. And it definitely does pay off, because the story becomes a holistic experience.

The narration is absolutely top-notch, and I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a better performance than Dion Graham's here. I stand by that statement wholeheartedly.

29 sur 42 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • L. skeete
  • 16/05/2019

Wow!

An epic tale that leaves you wanting more. The characters came to life and for three weeks I followed the adventures of the tracker. The narration is absolutely perfect.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • lballas
  • 09/05/2019

Best Narrator Ever!

The story is intriguing and it really came alive in the hands ( or voice) of this narrator. I loved listening and was sorry the book ended.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.