cover image The Gods of War

The Gods of War

Marisa Silver, , read by Scott Brick. . Blackstone Audio, $24.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4332-1227-7

Scott Brick lends his talent to Silver's multilayered coming-of-age novel. The story unfolds from the point-of-view of 12-year-old Ares Ramirez and his hardscrabble '70s childhood in a remote Southern California desert community, and much of the focus surrounds Ares's relationship with Malcolm, his mentally disabled six-year-old brother. Malcolm's autistic symptoms render him uncommunicative, which poses a tremendous challenge for Brick, as Silver chooses to portray Malcolm's mannerisms and behaviors mostly through Ares's reflections. Yet Brick rises to the occasion, with compelling results. Brick delivers especially heartfelt performances as the two principle female characters: the brothers' bohemian mother and an enigmatic school librarian. The novel's structure may not lend itself to an easy transition to audio, but as the action transforms from preteen angst to dark explorations of violence and family dysfunction, listeners will appreciate Brick's ability to navigate the terrain. A Simon & Schuster hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 18). (May)