Thirteen Storeys by Jonathan Sims – An Audio Book Review

Thirteen Storeys

Blurb: 

A chilling thriller that’s perfect for fans of Get Out and The Haunting of Hill House.

A dinner party is held in the penthouse of a multimillion-pound development. All the guests are strangers – even to their host, the billionaire owner of the building. 

None of them know why they were selected to receive his invitation. Besides a postcode, they share only one thing in common – they’ve all experienced an unsettling occurrence within the building’s walls. 

By the end of the night, their host is dead, and none of the guests will say what happened. 

His death remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries – until now.

Author: Jonathan Sims

Narrator/s: Full Cast Production

Running Time: 13hrs 14mins

Genre: Horror

Publisher: Gollancz

Audio Release Date: 26/11/2020

My Rating of ‘Thirteen Storeys’: 3 out of 5

Purchase: AudibleAmazon

Review:

As a huge fan of the Magnus Archives (Jonathan Sims horror short story podcast in which the stories are all loosely connected by one over-arching plotline) I was thrilled to see he had a novel out. The curiosity at seeing Jonathan go for a novel-length piece and the stunning cover, not to mention the awesome blurb, had me plumping for this one without question.

Sadly, my assumption that I’d get to see Jonathan taken on a novel-length work was both correct and incorrect. Correct because, it’s certainly the length of a novel, but incorrect because it just isn’t a novel. It’s the exact same format as the Magnus Archives (short stories linked by one overall plot). Each chapter is its own short story and, although they do interlink with each other throughout the course of each character’s respective days, I just never felt into it because it was, essentially, just a short story collection. A good short story collection, but just a collection all the same.

Because the fact that this is essentially a collection was not eluded to in the blurb, I kind of feel like I’ve been sold something I wasn’t promised. The stories on offer are good and the overall plotline is strong. Jonathan is a master of short horror fiction and brings some unique (unless you’ve listened to the Magnus archives) twists to the horror genre with each tale.

If this book knocked your socks off and you want more, I would highly recommend the Magnus Archives podcast. It’s free, each episode is in between twenty and forty-five minutes and has wonderful voice acting. Jonathan himself plays the main narrator (the archivist).

I felt a tad underwhelmed by the ending but this might be to do with the fact that, by this point, I was just a tad frustrated at the short story aspect of the piece or because we essentially know the fate of the host from the very beginning. It just left me with no sense of ‘ooh, what happens next.’ All that being said, I wasn’t totally unhappy with the ending, just not overawed by it.

I had a couple of issues as far as the narration went with Thirteen Storeys, but they could mostly be overlooked. You’re bound to get the odd narrator whose voice you don’t gel with when there are so many performing on one piece. I can’t however, overlook the issues I had with Jesus/Jesuis (I honestly don’t know what his name is because the narrator pronounced it two different ways, despite the character stressing how he hates people pronouncing his name wrong). That little aspect is embarrassing, but the frequent pauses mid-sentence often had me thinking there was strange punctuation, but seeing as how the rest of the characters had no such issues I feel it was just the narrator struggling with the tempo of the English language. This is something I wouldn’t mind if the character wasn’t such a well-spoken man whilst using the English language with a wide vocabulary and high intellect to go with it … despite the character also saying they struggled with the English language. The whole character was a little bit of a mess from the writing to the narration. But, other than that, I felt the narration was pretty good throughout.

14 thoughts on “Thirteen Storeys by Jonathan Sims – An Audio Book Review

  1. I think the premise of this sounds great but glad to have read this review as it’s definitely not something I would enjoy with it being broken down into short stories.

    What a shame that you wanted something and it never quite delivered.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nah. That sucks, expecting a novel and getting a bunch of short stories – especially as it’s marketed as a thriller (which seems like one cohesive continuous narration type of work to me! 😉)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linking short stories into a cohesive whole might prove very difficult, even if they are linked by some common thread – still, you piqued my curiosity with the Magnus Archives podcast, and I will certainly take a peek (or rather a listen…) there! Thanks for sharing 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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