Audiobook Blog Tour: Death's Mantle by Harmon Cooper | Review + Narrator Interview

Audiobook Blog Tour: Death's Mantle by Harmon Cooper | Review + Narrator Interview

Seriously, doing audiobook blog tours is super fun, and I’m so freaking glad that I get the opportunity to sign up for them with Audiobookworm Promotions! Thank you again so much for considering me as a blog tour host, and for having me for this release tour! Click on the banner for the schedule and more info. This one was super interesting so stay tuned for some of my thoughts.

Death’s Mantle

by Harmon Cooper
Narrator: Andrea Parsneau
Length: 10 hours, 25 minutes
Series: Death’s Mantle Trilogy #1
Publication Date: December 17, 2019
Publisher: Podium Publishing
Genre: Dark Fantasy, GameLit

Audible | Goodreads

Lucian North is supposed to be dead.

Suffering from a rare heart condition that doctors say should have killed him over a year ago, Lucian is playing a video game when Death finally comes.

Rather than give in, Lucian pulls a gun on the Grim Reaper.

As the two stare each other down, terrible demons known as injuresouls swarm into the room in pursuit of Death.

Summoning courage he never knew he had, Lucian comes to Death’s aid. And for his troubles, he is awarded Death’s Mantle.

Transported to a spiritual world he could have never fathomed, Lucian finds that he is instantly powerful, able to conjure weapons from scratch and perform incredible feats. He introduces game mechanics to his new role, develops a carefully curated inventory list, and modifies a HUD system that allows him to better track his targets.

It isn’t easy being Death, and Lucian will need just about everything he can get as he faces off against fallen angels, appalling parasites, demon-born injuresouls, and savage Death Hunters.

Regardless of his sudden strength, his newfound enemies, and his gamer ingenuity, Lucian can’t communicate with the living, which wouldn’t be a problem if he hadn’t discovered something terrible about his family…

Lucian’s brother is scheduled to die, and only Lucian has the power to do anything about it.

Death’s Mantle is a dark fantasy GameLit novel that LitRPG, metaphysical fantasy, occult sci-fi, and thriller readers will love. Death’s Mantle is written by Harmon Cooper, bestselling GameLit author of Way of the Immortals, House of Dolls, Cherry Blossom Girls, The Feedback Loop and Monster Hunt NYC. It was inspired by the anime Parasyte, the comic book series Sandman and Spawn, the books On a Pale Horse and the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Click here for a sneak peek on the audiobook!

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Harmon Cooper is a prolific Amazon best-selling author of 50 science fantasy books and counting. He was one of the earliest authors to bring GameLit to the West. His most popular series include Way of the Immortals, House of Dolls, Cherry Blossom Girls, The Feedback Loop and Monster Hunt NYC. Originally from Austin, Texas, Cooper was a musician before transitioning to world traveler and writer, spending five years in Asia honing his writing skills, wanderlusting, studying languages, and teaching English. He now lives in New England (and loves it!) with his wife.

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Andrea Parsneau is an actor, gamer, and artist, known as the most prolific independent female narrator in the genres of LitRPG and GameLit and has made a name for herself working with some of the most recognizable names in the genre. Just recently, she narrated one of the most anticipated productions in Gamelit/LitRPG history, “The Wandering Inn” by Pirate Aba to great critical acclaim. Andrea specializes in bringing each character to life organically through character acting, emotional authenticity and fast-paced action, and is proud to have credits with companies such as the highly prestigious Soundbooth Theater, Podium Publishing, Double Damage Games and more. Outside of her growing catalog of audiobooks, her voice can also be heard in Rebel Galaxy Outlaw and the popular Fallout 4 New Vegas mod with more to come!

Disclaimer: I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Podium Publishing. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

The first thing that I have to say about this audiobook is that I AM IN LOVE WITH THE NARRATOR! I have personally never heard Parsneau before and I’m so glad that the decision was made to have her narrate this book. I feel like her Boston accent was freaking amazing, and her imitation on male characters was so good, sometimes I forgot that she was voicing them. I love narrators that can do that, and I was just very into this book thanks to Parsneau. I hope to find more books narrated by her because she has become one of my favorite audiobook narrators from this point forward!

Okay now that that is out of the way, although I really could talk about that the entire time because that’s really what got me into this book from the very beginning…

I have never read a “GameLit” novel before, and this is what this book falls under genre wise. Despite never reading GameLit before, and despite not being a huge video game player or master or anything, I personally thought that this book was super interesting and I totally liked that Lucian ended up coming up with the HUD system for being a Grim Reaper. This book pretty much reminded me that the newer generations of this world – Lucian is a “millennial” like me from what I remember hearing – are the ones that are going to come up with creative ways to do jobs that have been in the world for years. He was even able to learn some rules that took “Old Death” a little bit longer to figure out, and honestly that wasn’t Old Death’s fault. He was born in the 1600’s after all.

I think Old Death was one of my favorite characters, as well as Lucian. But I think Old Death just reminded me of an old butler type figure… maybe like Alfred but if he was like SUPER old and wasn’t as quick as he usually is. And the way that Parsneau did his voice really gave me that impression.

All in all, I just really liked this book and I’m curious to see how the rest of the trilogy is going to be. I seriously hope that Parsneau is the one that gets to narrate the rest of the trilogy too. The one thing that absolutely kills me is when they end up changing the narrator after the first book. I mean I get if the POV ends up changing but like, why though?

Anyway.

I’m so freaking glad that I ended up choosing to interview Parsneau even before I realized that I was going to love her work! So let’s get to know her even more with these questions.

When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?

The moment someone proposed it to me as an actual career path! I feel like narration is one of those jobs that – until you hear about it – somewhat flies under the radar. I listened to audiobooks all the time and had favorite narrators I would look for, but I never thought of it as something I could actually “do” until an author friend suggested it to me! He showed me ACX and the rest is history.

Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?

I don’t know if there is really anything to “break into” per-say, more just finding what style of narration works best for you! I had a clear idea of at least some of what I wanted to achieve in the first year, and a vague idea of the path I wanted to take to get there. That helped me a lot! I knew I wanted to do Royalty Share because I loved the idea of partnering with an author and the financial security of a passive income, and I had a specific genre in mind already that I had fallen in love with that I felt my style of storytelling would fit, so that gave me the beginnings of a plan. That really helped get me started in the right direction.

A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?

Narration is acting, through and through. From computer programming nonfiction to high fantasy epics or sci fi westerns, the narrator’s job is to bring that story out of the pages and into the ears in such a way that the words in that book are brought to life. Theatre is a HUGE help in doing that. I recommend theatre training to anyone looking to get started in narration.

How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?

I decided when I started narrating that I would only do books that I enjoyed reading, even if that meant I handicapped myself later on. I knew if I started forcing myself to work on projects my heart wasn’t in, I would burn out super quickly. I still struggle to maintain the work/life balance but doing titles I really love and taking off Sundays to spend time with family has helped me feel relaxed and refreshed to keep pouring myself into every work!

Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?

Absolutely! I am an artist and a gamer so whether I’m running around gathering resources in Guild Wars 2 or working on a digital portrait in Procreate, I can listen to my favorite book the whole time! That, coupled with the amazing performances you get to hear while listening, make it an amazing experience all its own.

Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?

Oh absolutely! I don’t think I pull off horror well. At all. I literally scare myself walking around a corner too quickly, so what business would I have, trying to scare anyone else?!?

How closely do you prefer to work with authors?

I become friends with the authors I work with. I love it. Every title I work on at this point is a series, so I have long conversations about characters and motivations that eventually turn into weekly chats about life in general! Getting to know the authors on a personal level helps me understand what they want to get out of their story and how their experiences have informed their characters!

Who is your “dream author” that you would like to record for?

Christopher Moore. No question. That man’s grasp of satire is just unparalleled, he is PHENOMENAL! Lamb is a work of art.

What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?

  • Find the genre that you are happiest in and best suited to narrate for, people can absolutely hear when you enjoy what you are reading! 
  • Curate your titles! Be careful when you start out. Consider a pseudonym until you find the “right” genre for you.
  • Be careful whose advice you listen to. Make sure they are in a “better” place than you are.

What’s next for you?

2020 is going to be a huge year for me and I am so excited! From Volume 2 of The Wandering Inn to several new series from multiple amazing authors I already have the pleasure of calling friends and business partners, there is a LOT in store for the coming year that I cannot wait to share! Stay tuned!

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