Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
First of all, there are a few narrator/author matches forged in listening paradise, and this is one of them. Together they transport the listener in every sense of the word.
To my mind, Pratchett's true genius lies in his ability to communicate real wisdom about life and society in a lighthearted, whimsical and often hilarious yarn which includes an array of fantastical situations and personages. He often (perhaps even always) deals with gender issues, but if you want his concentrated thinking on the topic, read the absolutely delightful Monstrous Regiment. If you are thinking a lot about the structure of our financial system, you should pick up Going Postal or Making Money. And in Snuff, Pratchett does racial marginalization to a fare-thee-well using the too-often-reviled goblin. As always you will smile out loud all the way through and from time to time be convulsed with surprised laughter.
Finally, Pratchett writes wonderfully conceived and realized plots. They fit together like a perfectly designed itinerary with never a gap or skip and plenty of unexpected but entirely sensible twists and turns. This is not a writer who ever succumbs to the predictable. You can just relax and enjoy the trip, knowing that both the journey and the destination will be worth the fare.
Thoroughly enjoyable and complete engaging. Correia's pacing is perfect, not breakneck but never sagging. His plotting is sufficiently complex to keep surprising you but it never becomes ponderous convoluted or overloaded with back story.
I am more than a little zombie averse, and I am a pretty hard sell for modern urban fantasy so it took a lot of convincing raves from excellent reviewers for me to take a chance on this one. I'm very glad I did. This is a fantasy genre writer at the top of his game read by a superb narrator who never missed an inflection, mangled a pronunciation or botched a meaning with a misread sentence. It is rare that genre writing breaks through and transcends its genre to become deeply satisfying literature (Ray Bradbury, would be a prime example). That does not happen here, so four and a half stars, but I had such a great time listening to Hard Magic, that I feel a little miserly withholding that final half star.
So unless you are unalterably opposed to very high quality cheap thrills, this is a ride you might want to get on.
Abercrombie is brilliant and "Heroes" is Abercrombie distilled.
This book does not have the wonderful epic sweep of the previous stories Abercrombie has set in The First Law world. There is none of the complexity of plot, and the setting is entirely circumscribed within the environs of a single, meaningless battle. In many ways it reminds one of "Matterhorn," the superb glimpse of the Vietnam war penned by Karl Mariantes. Dark and deeply cynical about the romantic ideals of combat even as it celebrates courage, comradeship and a kind of mad endurance. There is glory here, but it is not the glory of triumph or even of nobility in defeat. It consists, rather, in the persistence of humanity in the midst of the most inhumane of all our enterprises, killing for a piece of useless ground.
There is also dark laughter, insanity, shards of the ridiculous, a great deal of blood, a few unexpected shafts of light and an extraordinary menagerie of characters. All the pungent ingredients of the absurd stew of war. Abercrombie fills our gob to bursting with it as few writers can and still makes us believe him when he shows us a soul weary veteran forsaking his quiet seat by his own hearth to trudge off again into the madness.
Clearly some listeners have a problem with Michael Page's delivery and much prefer Steven Pacey. I have loved the work that each of them has done on Abercrombie's books, and this was certainly no exception.
So I got the free prequel to see if I would like the rest of the books. I have now listened to the "1st" book of the series and used my new credits on the other four.
Good story, nice execution, enjoying every minute of the characters and look forward to the rest of the story.