Title: The Retreat
Author: Conor Kostick
Year Published: 2020
Rating: 1 star
A young knight; a mysterious, dark forest; life and death choices.
A long Roman road stretches deep through an ancient forest like a dark route straight to Hades. On that road are a band of survivors returning from a failed expedition to the Holy Land. One of only a handful of knights in this army is Guibert of Rocadamour, a young noble who wants nothing more than to become a legendary hero whom people will sing songs about.
Brave but inexperienced, Guibert must make several difficult decisions as rival groups among the remnants of the army vie for his support. As they draw closer to the safety of the French border, those stark choices become a matter of life or death.
With a nightmarish setting, an assembly of striking characters and an intensely captivating story, this wonderful new novel from Conor Kostick will enthral teenage and young adult readers.
DNF at 20%
I hate giving 1 star ratings. More than that I hate DNFing a book. I always feel like I’ve been defeated and will try my absolute hardest to finish it. I received an ARC for the audiobook version of The Retreat from Netgalley. I’m gutted that my first Netgalley ARC was such a disappointment but I cannot force myself through one more minute of this audiobook.
I’m pretty sure the audio is the reason I’ve rated this novel so poorly. Unfortunately the narration is severely lacking. For whatever reason the narrator chooses to read at SUCH a slow speed that I had to increase the speed to 1.5x for him to be talking at a more reasonable pace. I can only assume he spoke so slowly due to having an Irish accent that can be a little hard to understand but it was a huge miss for me. Not only that but the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired. It had that horrible static-y sound that some low-quality recordings have which was an issue that continued to be a problem throughout the parts I listened to.
Unfortunately the audio wasn’t the only problem I had with The Retreat. It’s not a dealbreaker for me but I don’t tend to like books written in first person and this book is a prime example of why. The writing is very simplistic and reads very much like: I did this, then I did this, then I said this. It just wasn’t fun or engaging. That said I do think I’d have enjoyed this more if I’d have been able to read it visually rather than listening to it.
Although I did quite like Guibert, ignoring his self-importance, I don’t think this is a book I’ll be trying again with.