I have become a big fan of Brandon Sanderson's work and this new series does not disappoint. He has created another interesting world full of rich characters and I can't wait for book two.
The same narrators from the Wheel of Time series re-unite with Sanderson to create another winner. Mistborn, Warbreaker, Elantris, and now this work vaults Sanderson to the top of my must-read list. This book is so good I will gladly listen to it again as a refresher when book two comes out!
If you like happy endings where the hero gets the girl or the hobbit returns home to sit by the fire then you need to look elsewhere. However, if you have enjoyed the first two books of this trilogy then chances are you aren't looking for those kind of endings anyway. If you are wavering on reading book 3 because of the darkness of the first two then be warned that it only gets worse. It is likely something bad will happen to whatever character you are rooting for.
Abercrombie is ruthless in the way he resolves his story arc and no character gets through unscathed. You will have to take comfort in the fact that you do get a full reveal of what's been going on behind the scenes from the beginning because you will find little comfort in what actually happens. Things go from bad to worse for most of the characters and even those who win big in the end are actually losers. The big reveal didn’t make all the pieces fit together perfectly for me, but I am going with 5 stars anyway because I totally enjoyed the series and I wasn’t left guessing.
When I step back and think about the series and the characters I still wonder why I like it. Each of the main characters has a dark side and does some truly evil things, female characters are treated pretty poorly by the author, and the world itself is pretty bleak and almost without hope. Then I think upon Steven Pacey’s reading and I wonder no longer. I enjoy almost every character in the series and it is simply because of the way Pacey reads them. They feel like old friends that I trust and therefore I am willing to look the other way when they do something I despise. I have listened to a lot of audio books and I would now list Steven Pacey as one of my favorite narrators.
So if you liked the first 2 books, bust out your antidepressants and get ready for more of the same. Although the ending does leave things open-ended enough for a continuation of the series, I am quite satisfied with the way all of the threads came together and don’t feel like I was left hanging. After all, you have to be realistic about these things.
The Eye of the World kicks off Robert Jordan's epic fantasy series and it is a step that should not be taken lightly. This first book is excellent and will likely have you listening to the next book in the journey before you know it. This is a long series (13+ books) and each book so far is between 23-41 hours of listening in unabridged format.
Some things you should know before you start:
1) Robert Jordan did not live long enough to finish the story, but he did pass along his vision for the conclusion to Brandon Sanderson who is writing the final books. Brandon Sanderson is an awesome Fantasy writer so the conclusion of the series is in good hands.
2) Robert Jordan can tend to be wordy at times and some of the books along the way feel a little bloated, but each one does advance the story.
3) The narration is done by 2 excellent narrators: Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. Each chapter will be read by one or the other depending on the chapter's main character. If the main character is female then Kate will read the entire chapter including the male voices. Michael will handle the chapter's where the main character is male and he will do the female voices. This means that you must get accustomed to 2 voices for each character. This put me off at first but I quickly became accustomed to it and now I really enjoy the format.
4) After a few books the narrators change the way they pronounce certain character names and this can throw you off until you realize that it is just a pronunciation change and not a different character. Just be prepared for it.
I am glad I started this long journey and I feel that audio is one of the best ways to experience Jordan's work. I had read The Eye of the World years ago but it didn't inspire me to keep going forward in the series, where the audiobook left me wanting more!