If you follow my reviews, you know that I occasionally spend my Audible credits on audiobooks that I would not normally acquire, ones that I would normally NOT like nor want. Sometimes, it's a loss. Other times, I'm rewarded with a tremendous win - A fantastically rich and rewarding listening experience that I'll not forget for a long time, and will listen to again over the years.
And this audiobook?
A HUGE win. A seriously huge win.
It's hard to put in words the depth, strengths, story, pacing and more that Scott Lynch has woven into this literary work, but I can provide an overview.
Imagine an advanced alien race that mysteriously evacuates a planet, leaving behind vast crystal cities, with high-rising spires that light the night, with twisting alleyways and streets below, dark and forbidding, ripe for exploring mankind to occupy. Now, set the stage with a vast sprawling city that is an astounding blend of of Venice, Paris and Tuscany, with almost no technology, rife with machiavellian intrigue, and plans within plans. Finally, center the story around Locke Lamora, a young orphan sold into a thieve's caste, on his way to becoming the city's greatest and most notorious gentleman thief on an grand scale.
Also, kudos to the narrator on this work. Michael Page is definitely up to the task, with so many characters to whom he gives unique voicing, inflection and life, and keeps up with the author's pacing. VERY well done, Michael.
And this is only book ONE in the series. Yes, I've read the sequel, and it's just as good as this first book/audiobook, if not better. And YES, expect a review soon!
I have countless audiobooks from Audible and other vendors, and this is easily one of my very favorite listens, vastly entertaining, captivating, descriptive, intriguing and a page-turner, to say the very least. Note all five stars in my rating - I don't give that out very often. So, get this audiobook. You'll discover well-defined storylines that will intrigue you hour after hour in this rich and rewarding fantasy listen you should not miss.
And to think I almost did.
I LOVE rolling the dice here at Audible. LOVE it.
This is huge, Audible listener. EXTREMELY huge.
I've not used the word HUGE out of context whatsoever, and I consider this particular Audiobook some of the best fantasy listening you'll experience this year, and perhaps ever. Yes, we're only in late February, for God's sake. So, want to know more? Read on.
Here's why all the heavy breathing.
I have hoped and prayed for a very long time that Saberhagen's Swords series would one day be available at Audible.
Get ready - For the very first time in SCORES of reviews, I will give teasers and a bit of the plot. If you read my reviews, you know I usually NEVER do this. Why now? Again, this is HUGE. Trust me, you're going to like where this is going.
Imagine that in this sweeping epic's opening story, the god Vulcan forges twelve terrible swords of supernatural might, otherworldly steel twisted into power, born of fire pulled from earth's very core, and each sword's white heat quenched screaming in mortal blood.
Each of these swords is birthed with a unique supernatural ability to bend the future of worlds. For example, Sightblinder crafts the looks of whoever holds it friendly to the wearer's enemies, Coinspinner warps luck, and possibly fate, to the advantage of the bearer...or perhaps instead toward its own mysterious agenda. And so on. These swords are so powerful, that many of them can best even the very Gods themselves. Each unique. Each on its own journey. Each with its own dark purpose in changing the world. Both gods and mortals will be their pawns, and the blood that quenched each sword was only the beginning. Men will be as Gods, and Gods will be brought low to mortality.
Vulcan quietly places these world-changing weapons across the landscape, in the hands of unwitting pawns. Pawns, because each of these swords have a mind of its own, and although the wielder of each sword feels they control the weapon, the sword will have its due and its day. Some travel from person to person, seeking a special purpose with a specific soul. Others lie in wait, quietly patient, and will shake the very heavens when the time is right.
Thus, an epic war begins, and although it starts quite small, it will challenge the heavens, and test the very world itself.
See why I'm excited? That's just the OPENING of this twelve book series. I've given NOTHING away. Nothing. It's that HUGE. Yes, there's that word again, and it FITS. I consider this work as essential as Jordan's Wheel of Time series, and also Erikson's Mazalan Book of the Fallen series. It's very different from both, but equally important.
Some of you have probably already downloaded this very first in the Swords series, and don't need this review to dive in. You already KNOW how awesome this series truly is, and where it will take you.
For the rest of you, this is the doorway to a world-spanning epic that Saberhagen lovingly crafted decades ago. And it's finally arrived at Audible. So, there's only one thing left to do...
Step through the doorway, listener. Your sword awaits!
I've always loved the stories of Drizzt the dark elf, and while my heart longs for the Salvatore's Safehold, the very first Drizzt novel in the trilogy, I have to say that I truly enjoyed this series of novels that came out later, due to their rich defining shorelines and Byers love affair with the dark elf universe. Be warned: This series will connect you to a great line of audiobooks that have just been released at Audible, some 200 such books in the Forgotten Realms in the Dungeon and Dragons family of books. Some of these books are so very good listening, that you'll want more.
This is such a series in that family.
It's dark. It's Machiavellian. It's descriptive and delightful. Its got great characters, dark purposes, vast family houses in turmoil, royal intrigues and forbidden magics. It is, in a word, magnetic. I enjoyed this long ago, and again today. So much so, that the entire series is now in my Audible library.
So, if you do NOT want such engrossing and entertaining listening, move along.
Otherwise, enter the dark elf kingdom of Menzoberranzan, mortal, and be satisfied with its dark gifts!