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Torchwood: The Sin Eaters by Brian Minchin
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Torchwood: The Sin Eaters

by Brian Minchin

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373306,014 (3.75)2
2009 (3) 2012 (1) audio (5) audiobook (8) Baptism (1) BBC (2) Captain Jack (1) Cardiff (1) CD (2) Doctor Who (5) drama (1) fanfic (1) fiction (6) own (1) owned (1) radio play (1) read (2) read in 2009 (2) science fiction (10) series (2) series: torchwood (2) sf (3) sins (1) television (2) tie-in (4) Torchwood (14) TV Series (1) tv tie-in (2) UK (1) Wales (2)
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This is one of the series of Torchwood audiobooks read by cast members, and the first to be read by Gareth David-Lloyd. This one is only available as an audiobook, not in print. I bought it because I'd heard a sample of David-Lloyd reading an audiobook, and thought he was a good reader. It was well worth the money. The story's the usual competent tie-in work I've found with previous Torchwood books, and David-Lloyd is an excellent audiobook reader.

The story itself is set between series 2 and series 3, with references and foreshadowing that tie it firmly into the series universe for those who've seen the referenced episodes, without excluding those who haven't seen them, or overwhelming the story. The basic plot is standard monster-of-the-week fare for the Torchwood corner of the Whoniverse -- an alien castaway courtesy of the rift, its threat magnified by the meddling of local humans who don't understand what they're playing with. In this case it's alien insect larvae which feed on human emotions, and a vicar who thinks he's found a way to heal people of their sins and guilt. It's competently written, with a good look at love and the complexity of human emotions, but there's nothing particularly noteworthy here.

What does stand out is the characterisation, which is as good as you'd expect from the man who was script editor for the show. One thing which I particularly liked was that it showcases both the Gwen/Rhys and the Jack/Ianto relationships, while still acknowledging the attraction between Jack and Gwen. There are a lot of small details which build on what we've already been shown in the tv series, showing how the characters and their relationships are developing and changing. It's a particular joy to see the playful and affectionate side of both romances.

Gareth David-Lloyd does an excellent job of reading the book. He's a good reader when it comes to the mechanics of reading aloud, well paced and with good tonal colour. He's also very good at portraying the various characters already known to listeners from the tv series, getting most of them spot on in their dialogue. It's usually clear who's speaking, even without dialogue tags -- and you can tell the difference between narrator and Ianto's dialogue. He even mostly gets Jack's American accent right. I hope he's invited to do more of the audiobooks.

At two full-length CDs, it's a lot longer than a standard tv or radio episode, but with it being an audio book you'd expect that for the same basic story. I didn't feel that it was padded or too long. It feels about the same as reading one of the print tie-in books. Minchin makes good use of the format, taking advantage of being able to show interior monologue without crossing too far into telling rather than showing.

I enjoyed this a lot, and happily listened to it again a couple of weeks after the first time through. Definitely worth the attention of Torchwood fans in general, and very much recommended for fans of both Ianto Jones and Gareth David-Lloyd -- both the character and the actor are well served by this title.

Available as both CD and download.

http://julesjones.livejournal.com/344081.html ( )
  JulesJones | Oct 10, 2009 |
A corpse appears in the water near a rift spike and the team must figure out how he died, and how to save the rest of the city. Or something like that.

The plot is okay, but what is really great about this audiobook is the characterization, interaction, and most of all Gareth David-Lloyd's reading. Not only is his reading lovely to listen to, but his portrayals of Jack, Gwen, and Rhys (and of course Ianto) are spot-on. ( )
  bluesalamanders | Jul 23, 2009 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1259234.html

You won't find this in dead tree format: it is an audiobook read by Gareth David Lloyd, who plays Ianto Jones in the series, and written by the show's script editor/assistant producer.

To get the obvious out of the way first: it's a monster-of-the-week story, with a resolution that effectively hits the reset button so that the world is not much changed after the events described. But I think it is a very good story of its kind. The Sin Eaters derive from Christian theology, and infiltrate their victims via a special form of baptism, with inevitably nasty consequences. It would be very easy to write a very stupid religion-and-Torchwood story; but Minchin confidently takes Gwen and Rhys through matters ecclesiastical, in what for me is the slightly foreign church environment of South Wales.

The brutal reduction in the core cast at the end of Torchwood's second series means that we have only Jack, Ianto, Gwen and Rhys left as central characters. There is a neat contrast in the relationships - Gwen/Rhys, married over a year now; Jack/Ianto, still at the frenetic fumbling stage; and also Rhys's friend Matt whose stag night provides the catalyst for the story as a whole. Given the extra space (2 CDs of audiobook is worth several Torchwood episodes) we get a lot of decent exploration of love and religion in the world of Torchwood, though I felt that the author would gladly have given us more if space had allowed.

Also, Gareth David Lloyd is an excellent reader, switching easily from strong to weak Welsh accent depending on character, and also doing a good job on Jack's American. He is recognisably Ianto from the start, but (of course) more so when in character, and also carries a conviction that lifts the various character moments and vivid descriptive passages tremendously. I was disappointed by the first Torchwood audiobook I tried, and probably wouldn't have bothered with this one if I weren't related to the author, but I will try some more in future. ( )
  nwhyte | Jul 1, 2009 |
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Book description
          Alien larvae in a baptismal font mark the beginnings of a terrifying adventure for the "Torchwood" team in this exclusive audio adventure, read by Gareth David-Lloyd.

          Searching for the source of a bizarre Rift reading, Gwen, Jack and Ianto find a corpse on the beach, his face covered in hundreds of tiny cuts. Watching from the shadows is a man in black...The Reverend Hayward thinks he has found a way to take away people's sins. The trouble is, his special baptisms tend to take away their lives too.

          For the creatures he collects and puts in his church font are nightmarish parasites, feeding on their hosts' negative emotions before consuming them. It is up to Torchwood to track them down and destroy them...
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Alien larvae in a baptismal font mark the beginnings of a terrifying adventure for Captain Jack, Gwen, Ianto and Rhys.

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