The Black Hawks by David Wragg – An Audio Book Review

Black Hawks


Life as a knight is not what Vedren Chel imagined. Bound by oath to a dead-end job in the service of a lazy step-uncle, Chel no longer dreams of glory – he dreams of going home.

When invaders throw the kingdom into turmoil, Chel finds opportunity in the chaos: if he escorts a stranded prince to safety, Chel will be released from his oath.

All he has to do is drag the brat from one side of the country to the other, through war and wilderness, chased all the way by ruthless assassins.

With killers on your trail, you need killers watching your back. You need the Black Hawk Company – mercenaries, fighters without equal, a squabbling, scrapping pack of rogues.

Prepare to join the Black Hawks.

Author: David Wragg

Narrator: Colin Mace

Publisher: Harper Collins

Series: The Articles of Faith #1

Genre: Fantasy

Audio Release Date: 3/10/2019

Running Time: 12hrs 9 mins

My Rating of ‘The Black Hawks’: 2 out of 5

Purchase: Audible, Amazon


The Black Hawks is marketed as a book that fans of Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch will love. My being a huge fan of those two particular authors dove into this book as soon as I saw that tag line. I wish they hadn’t put that tag line on. Not only did I not love it, but I just downright wish I hadn’t bothered. I feel the truth had been somewhat abused by that sales pitch.

Abercrombie’s books are filled with rich, detailed characters and a world that feels as real as the one we live in. It’s also brimming with clever turns of phrase and witty banter that doesn’t rely solely on swearing. Lynch’s books are, similarly filled with wit and you can’t help but grin at most of the stuff written.

With The Black Hawks I never really felt in anyway attached to the characters nor did I find any similarity in turns of phrase or level of wit that might make someone liken it to Abercrombie or Lynch. There was wit, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t. But what wit there was relied heavily on swearing to get the humour across which, when done sparingly can be effective. But, when done as heavily as I just mentioned, falls flat and loses its appeal quite early on.

I also feel as though the main character had nothing that made him stand out as a main character. Nor did he have anything to really give him any form of character. He was just there and, despite knowing why he was there I just couldn’t see why he had to be. Had he died early on, I can’t imagine the book would have suffered anything for it. For the vast majority, he just felt like a total nonentity. A frustrating nonentity considering his was the overall POV.

Sadly, to my eyes at any rate, this was a flaw experienced by most of the characters within the book. I usually like a mercenary company style novel, but this one didn’t have any of the flavour or shine to it that other such books do.

The character of Lemon was my favourite and I found that parts with her in went down an absolute treat. It’s just the rest that seemed utterly grey instead of brimming with colour. I never really felt fully attached to the story either. I can see why, if someone were enjoying it, the plot points and events throughout would be enjoyable. But, to someone like me, who was struggling to keep interested, they did very little to keep that interest from waning.

I’ve since read several reviews for this and they are generally positive. So it’s just one of those cases of one size not fitting all.

I felt the narration was lacking as well. Colin Mace has a very good voice for general narration, but his overall vocal range for character voices wasn’t very deep. He also frequently took pauses where there was no punctuation. It sounded like a man who was reading, got to the end of the page and had to wait until it was turned to carry on. It really hit the pacing and, considering how often it happened, felt quite jarring.

9 thoughts on “The Black Hawks by David Wragg – An Audio Book Review

  1. Great review mate. Just have a look as it seems that your rating in the start of the review seems to not be visible… Sad that this did not work for you, I actually liked the cover when I first saw this do the rounds, but after Kings of the Wyld I felt the “band of heroes ” tropes was a bit saturated for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve actually heard generally negative or blasΓ© things about this, so your review is hardly a surprise. In fact I double-checked and only one person I know rated it higher than a 3. Annnd that’s what I was afraid of. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it, but I guess they can’t all be amazing, eh? Thanks for taking one for the team πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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