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Publisher's Summary

A missing eye. A broken wing. A stolen country. The last job didn't end well. Years go by, and scars fade, but memories only fester. For the animals of the captain's company, survival has meant keeping a low profile, building a new life, and trying to forget the war they lost. But now the captain's whiskers are twitching at the idea of evening the score.

©2015 Daniel Polansky (P)2015 Macmillan Audio

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Profile Image for Jonathan
  • Jonathan
  • 12-10-2016

A gem

Have you listened to any of Corey Gagne’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I had not heard this narrator before, but he did a superb job in giving each character a distinct voice that brought them to life in my mind.

Any additional comments?

This book is a pleasure, and my favorite book of the year. I was smiling the whole trip.

In terms of plot, you will not find anything new here. Troubleshooters of old monarchy get the band back together to take vengeance on the crew who deposed them. There are no real surprises there.

The delight comes from the prose. The sentences are almost fairy tale like in the playful way they handle language or even speak to the reader. There is good description, and a full story don't get me wrong, but the writing style is intended to be amusing and clever. Let me give you two examples:

"She was pretty, for a guinea pig, if you didn't mind them heavy. If you did mind them heavy, you pro probably wouldn't go for a guinea pig."

"Drunk as they were, they'd have cheered for the moon to make war with the stars, and offered odds on the result."

Bare in mind though this isn't a fairy tale, and it is quite violent. While not wallowing in graphic descriptions, there is no shyness in describing the results of gunfire. This is not a book for children.

Secondly "The Builders" has great characters. Not in terms of depth but by way of color and distinctness. I could see and hear each each individually. Sometimes when the narrative is in one character's head, it is shaped quite well by their personality, and that brings the lovely sentences to the realm of characters. Also, the author uses animal aspects nicely, as it seems so fundamental to the characters, their personalities, and their abilities. Were this story about humans it would be three times duller, but I am certain the author could still well succeed.

I could happily read a dozen books in this style, in this world. With there only being one, I hope that you will at least read this one.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel Barton
  • 30-08-2016

Animal gunshow

The plot is straight, the characters somewhat thin, the prose is okay. It's a bit of western, bit of a team builder, all with anthropomorphic animals fitting into their role a but too well. There were a few points that the prose felt like too much word play but I suppose it comes with the characters. It picks up near the second half when the more action oriented scenes come up. The narrator does give each character a bit of a different spin and his non dialogue narration is excellent. But by the mid point having him do a whispy mouse voice in my ear grated along with a few other characters that don't suit his voice.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • travis
  • 20-11-2015

so good! such fun! much animal!<br />

freat narrator, fun story, fans of the redwall series who are all grown up now taje notice!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Josh Angel
  • 26-06-2020

Boring, shallow characters, predictable

This novella came highly recommended, described as being a grimdark "Redwall meets Unforgiven", and a Hugo award finalist to boot. Unfortunately this book just seemed like the author was in "make and easy paycheck" mode, and I found little enjoy in this story.

THE GOOD

Use of Language: There were some clever turns of phrase sprinkled throughout the book that I enjoyed. It read like it was being narrated by a highly educated chap telling a fireside story. I suspect the author may have been an English major.

Narrator: The narrator was actually quite good, and probably the only reason I made it all the way through the book, despite its brevity.

THE BAD

Boring: Most of the book spent introducing the characters and telling us what bad-asses they are, but no time spent showing us why they are considered bad-asses. Once the action finally kicks in, the action scenes are very brief, and sketchy, and told from a distant perspective that does nothing to create a sense of tension or excitement. These aren't frenetic battle scenes that draw you in, but rather birds-eye-views that leave you emotionally detached from the action.

No Character Depth: It may be due to the short story format; perhaps there just isn't enough time to develop enough attachment to the characters to feel anything when their individual stories meet their individual crescendos. But I've seen other writers do more with less. This is just bad writing.

No Plot Twists: There is seriously not a single plot twist in the whole book. The story just plods to its predictable and uninteresting end.

THE UGLY

No Reason To Be Animals: I've never read Redwall, so harbor no deep nostalgia for anthropomorphized animal characters, though I was open to the experience. This book did nothing to sell the concept, since there was literally no reason for the characters to be animals. It added nothing to the story. The could have just as easily been humans and the story would not have changed in any way, except perhaps the loss of some lazy characterization-via-animal-species. A weasel is weaselly. The mole is a literal mole. Ha ha, it is to laugh. Only not really, because this story presents itself seriously, so it's not actually funny.

I'm very disappointed in this novella, and confused how it received such a high honor as being a Hugo Novella award finalist. Best to steer away from this one pardner.

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  • Felicia J
  • 29-11-2019

There will be blood

This is a well-crafted tale of loyalty and revenge that somehow pulls off a mashup between Wind in the Willows, a spaghetti Western and Quentin Tarantino-style cinematic violence. It's full of action and dark humor, with an expertly choreographed climax and a pitch-perfect ending.

Great narration, especially the Mickey Mouse squeak for the Captain. I cracked up everytime I heard it.

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  • Dresan A.
  • 18-04-2018

Unique pacing with interesting takes on a western

Was fun. Enjoyed the performance, but the pacing of the book caught me off guard at times.

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  • Albert Elia
  • 07-12-2016

Buy it

I have been reading audiobooks for more than 20 years… This is the first book that I reread five times in less than a month. Red wall meets the magnificent seven. Just buy it. You'll be happy that you did.

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  • joseph pacheco
  • 23-08-2016

awesome

I loved this book. it's like the magnificent 7 but with animals. a great read.

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  • Gulo Granville
  • 31-05-2016

*Two thumbs up.*

What do you get when Redwall meets the Wild West? The Builders! what a fun, bloody, howling good listen!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-04-2016

Zootopia Comes To Mind

This was a great movie script, and a solid 6 stars if anyone makes it into a movie animated or live action but still great to just listen, this is for adults only worth to listen the narrator did a solid on this.

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  • Arlene Finnigan
  • 13-03-2019

Very dark whimsy

Well what a curious book. A whimsical tale of woodland creatures, except they're gangsters and their murderous exploits are described in gory detail. Weirdly entertaining.

1 person found this helpful

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