• Along the Razor's Edge

  • The War Eternal, Book 1
  • By: Rob J. Hayes
  • Narrated by: Moira Quirk
  • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (288 ratings)

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Along the Razor's Edge  By  cover art

Along the Razor's Edge

By: Rob J. Hayes
Narrated by: Moira Quirk
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Publisher's Summary

An empire in flames. A prisoner of war. An unbreakable will to escape.

At just 15, Eskara Helsene fought in the greatest war mankind has ever known - and lost. There is only one place her enemies would send a Sourcerer as powerful as her: the Pit, a prison sunk so deep into the earth the sun is a distant memory. Now, she finds herself stripped of her magic; a young girl surrounded by thieves, murderers, and worse. In order to survive she will need to make new allies, play the inmates against each other, and find a way out.

Her enemies will soon find out that Eskara is not so easily broken.

©2020 Rob J. Hayes (P)2020 Podium Audio

What listeners say about Along the Razor's Edge

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Old lady rolls her eyes at past self.

LOL Every YA book should have to be told through the eyes of the exasperated older version of the main character, it's hilarious. This story could have been a dark and gritty edge lord wonderland full of drama and angst, and at times it is. However, having Grandma Eskar tell the story adds a lot of brevity to what could have been a rather depressing story about a child soldier being forced into a extremely harsh POW camp. It does take away some of the tension in some scenes because obviously she survives, and Granny sometimes jumps ahead of herself. She also tends to be somewhat of a harsher critic of herself than what is warranted, hind sight being what it is, but i still wouldn't trade losing that perspective for all the rope and gross bread in all of the pit. As for the world itself, well it's a first book so you only get a few hints here and there about the greater landscape but what you do get seems fascinating. The magic system is simple to understand if broad in scope, reminds me somewhat of The Mistborne magic system. My only complaint is that i wish there was a list of all the 22 magics the sorcerers could use. There is a small nitpick i have that took me out of the story for a moment. I'm sure the author has probably gotten a ton of flack for this, But the myth about carrots was started by the Airforce during WWII to hide their new radar system. It doesn't really make sense to have a fairly modern myth based around planes and radar systems in a book with neither of those things.... also blood is red both inside the body and out, it just looks blue through skin. Moira Quirk did an absolutely fantastic job, she switches from world weary Queen to pissed off teen seamlessly. i think she hit all the inflections perfectly. She even followed the authors direction on the voice, which sadly is not something that every narrator does. GREAT JOB!! Now i must get to the next book, which i grabbed around chapter five of this book.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A great narrator wasted on a annoying MC

I will start by praising Moira Quirk's work: she has been great from start to finish:
She entepreters Eskara magnificently, truly encapsulate her stubborness, self assurance and pride. Moira never once pulled me out of the story. Her voice range is good, most characters felt different and unique (perhaps too many raspy people.).
I will check out more of her work.

*** Beware of spoilers ***

The story itself is ok. It's a prison break with a dash of magic. Not necessarely original but it was interesting.
I like the teasers of future events inserted here and there, made me want to read the next books (at first).
The world building is ok, explored between chapters in events before incarceration.
The magic system is original: Sources need to be ingested in order to wield them and even so, a Sourcerer ought to be attuned (most people can attune 3 sources) to them or the pain would litteraly kill them. Even so, it's only a matter of time before the Source has to be puked out of the magician's body.
The system's rules are very clear and there are no cheap ways to circumvent them. Much appreciated it.

Now... the worst part: the MC.
Eskara is insufferable, an egocentrical, arrogant, hypocrite.
I get you don't necessarely HAVE TO love the MC (and I look for shades of grey protagonists) but, when I start to, out lout, curse for her choices, something isn't right. A controversial MC is great (Jorg Ancrath I'm looking at you), an annoying one is hard to root for.

Eskara spends most of her time telling you how powerful she is-was-will be, how special she and Josef are, how relentless and tough she is. The first half of the book is not so bad.
Josef is described by her like a super competent sourcerer, the best (after her). He is her brother-friend-lover-soulbond. They are always together, watching each other's back. Until she leaves him in the Pit once he makes a decision she doesn't approve. After that is label at every occasion a TRAITOR.
Isen, the romantic interest, is a good fighter who battles in the ring to get more food and rewards. The tension is strong between them and, when finally they get it on... she not satisfied at all. Eskara pushes him away and labels him a COWARD and a XENOPHOBE from now on.
Why? Who knows.

More than once I was reminded of a Sith, who only deals in absolutes. Only One and Zeros. No middleground.

The secondo half of the book was full of her hypocrisy and it was hard to get trough. She never asks Josef or Isen or any other side char anything about their views or motivations. She just expects they come along.
After listening to Josef complete backstory, his decisions were sound and made absolute sense. Too bad Eskara didn't bother asking him anything, just expected to have a warm pillow at night. My boy Josef, stop Simping Eskara.

Eskara uses people until they are not needed or suit her plans. She'll find someone new quickly.
When, after leaving Josef behind in the Pit and after pushing Isen away for his poor performance, she longed for Josef's embrace and understanding, I got litterly mad.

Perhaps it's the type of person I cannot stand but I was physically annoyed by her.

Moira Quirk, you were so good I breezed through this tough read. I want a button with all her Tamura's quotes whenever I feel down.
This book was not for me.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun Book And Series

I picked up Along The Razor's Edge a while ago thinking it might be a good listen when I had nothing else from current series available. I had not previously listened to any thing from the author. When I got around to the book it was pretty much what I expected, a fun but not overly detailed or complex fantasy story. Other than the main POV Eskara, most of the rest of the characters are likable, but pretty one dimensional. The entire novel is seen through the eyes of Eskara. Despite this, I found the book to be entertaining, and the dialogue Eskara has with herself in her head is sometimes hilarious. Although towards the end of the book her self dialogue begins to wear thin as she constantly reminds herself what a bad ass she is.

At the end of the book I was satisfied but unsure if I would continue on with the series. I just wasn't sure how the story would progress once the characters of the story left the prison. I eventually did, and I think the biggest reason was the narration of Moria Quirk. Her impassioned reading was able to transform a good book into a very good one. I'm glad I continued as the story blossomed as it left the confines of a single setting. I ended up finishing the series, and in the end became a big fan of Narrator Moria Quirk, and will consider future books from Rob J. Hayes.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Incredible, both the story and the performance.

absolutely loved this book. I started reading it, but after trying the audio version quickly switched over. one of the best narrator's I've ever heard.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing Stuff

The story was phenomenal, with an allusion so so much more to come. the voice acting was terrific and I would definitely recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Takes time

It took awhile for me to care what happened because the secondary characters aren’t well developed and I can’t stand the primary character. Then I wanted to know where the plot went. Author gripped some references to some interesting future stuff so I’m probably going to buy the next one. Pretty sure I still won’t like the main character.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

MC Terrible

The world building is good. It kept me in the story longer than I cared for. The performance was decent too. But I literally want the MC to be killed off. Insufferable, petulant, narcissistic and maybe a bit of a psychopath. Which is sad because I really wanted to immerse myself in the world that was built.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Whining and hinting at the Great and terrible futu

Whining and hinting at the Great and terrible futufe. To bad, the story is very promesing, but the way it is told...

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Pleasant Surprise

Love a good prison break. Especially, one from an inescapable pit. I was pleasantly surprised.

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    3 out of 5 stars

solid story and better narrator

The setting and world are interesting enough to merit a listen; and the somewhat unlikable characters are made interesting by good writing and Moira Quirk's impecable performance.

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  • Gavin Patterson
  • 05-17-22

Very enjoyable. Gritty and Raw

I listened to this on audiobook as it was included with my audible membership. The description interested me and I went into it not knowing what to expect, other than the blurb.

The story is very enjoyable. Extremely gritty and raw. This is a great escape story, with friendship being a main point and what people would do in a chance of escape.

The narrator was brilliant, really enjoyed listening to her read the story. 3.5 stars.

Come chat books with me @readsgavin

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-14-22

Good book

fast paced good story line am going to download the sequel to this book

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah Mills
  • 11-22-22

Excellent Performance; Unbearable Protagonist

The protagonist hasn’t made a single sensible decision in the first five hours of this book and when the story seems to be mostly misery porn otherwise, I just don’t feel any desire to keep following them.

The performance is brilliant and the setting is interesting, but the story is unpleasant and the protagonist is unbearable.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-08-22

Hidden dark gem

As far as the self published books go, this was really, really good. So good that it deserves a publisher (but I don’t know if the author is looking for one).
The only issue I had with the story is the way it was told. When writers decide to tell a story from a retrospective point of view, I allways find it hard to feel the real danger of close to death moments (since the protagonist is alive and retelling the story). Nevertheless, those parts were well written, but to me, lacked the tension.
I had the same issue with Patrick Rothfuss’s books and Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Cage of souls. And to put Rob J. Hayes with those names, tells something about this book. At least to me.
Further more, the narrator was brilliant!
Her interpretation of Eskara was spot on, and she pulled me right in the emotions and story. The rough male voices were a chalenge, but they were easily distinguished, and no problem to follow.
This is an easy recomendation, to all those who love dark fantasy.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathan O'Dwyer
  • 10-28-22

The Pit

This story is very slow paced, not much happened in this first book, I know the author is setting up the character's and story but I found it hard to get through.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • K lvt
  • 03-17-22

perfect example of grim dark

when someone asks me what grimdark is ill suggest this book in future. dark, gritty, humorous. Also the level of performance here is top notch, I'll put moira quirk with Steven Pacy for one that really can act a audio book and make you feel like you're there. Great stuff. on to the next one.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Angry Cumbrian
  • 07-08-21

A clever localised story with great narration.

Audiobook 4.5*
Ebook 4*

I recently picked up the trilogy on Audiobook for IFA 2021, and I have to say the first of Eska's tale works even better for me in that format. The narration and story meshed well and elevated it for me. My only concern when coming back to the story was the ending feeling abrupt and more of a break point/pause, than a rounded conclusion.

With the local nature it makes sense to stop book 1 there, but I'm left with a very slight taste of anti-climax. That want I'm sure will be sated as Eska's take escalates.

Original Review.
Blagged an ARC and well worth the read. Shame for the delay, as it is a solid and accomplished piece of writing and feels akin to a female Prince(ss) of Thorns, minus any royalty and thrown into a pit not unlike in Faithless in tone.

A young woman is conscripted to war - and they lose. Throughout I had flashbacks to Royce in Malzan and that wasn't a bad vibe as Eska's predicament develops and worsens. Really worsens.

I especially liked the claustrophobia of Eska's story as on her own she is powerless and her friend is in the same predicament. Between Malice and brutality. Secrets and living in fear is quite a combination to start a girl's tale and it does not disappoint whit how Eska survives, forms alliances and uneasy friendships behind her veneer of defiance and forms a plan.

Cunning and desperate, hiding behind blackness Eska forms a plan to escape and rolls her dice. Behold there are twists and confrontations to overcome and maybe the odd betrayal. I felt it was a risk keeping the story localised, yet it was cleverly written and the fact was a neat twist to the tension.

I look forward to seeing what Eska does if/when freedom occurs. I suspect in her case, revenge is a dish best served angry.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • paul nolan
  • 05-10-21

Astounding

I'm surprised at who little I knew about this book yet loved it so much.

Glad the trilogy is finished as I'm going straight into book 2

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pau
  • 02-11-21

Great Grimdark


Good story, great prose and a great narrator for an incredible book for lovers of Grimdark. You can find the details somewhere else, but those are the basics I look for on a review

I'll give it 4.5 Stars for some repetition here and there (Yes Eska, we know you were very naive, no need to tell us again)

I you're looking for your next Grimdark fix, this is it... an amazing look into the heart of the human soul

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  • Dejan
  • 04-28-22

Skip this and go the the author's later series

This book wasn't worth the time for me. It felt like the narrator/ protagonist was just reciting a Wikipedia page of events to me.

1 person found this helpful