No wonder this is a Best Seller... I have to say, many scifi books bore me, but The Kingdoms and the Elves was just perfect. Action and adventure aplenty, and plus like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, it has an interesting world and interesting characters you care about. It was brilliant and left me waiting for more. Don't miss this book!
Having read some reviews, and encouraged by the fact that this book is a best seller, I eagerly purchased the unabridged audio version of "The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches". I am a great fan of many genres of writing, and the audio product allows me to 'read' when normal reading is impossible.
I love a good story, a deep mystery, the hero, the heroine, the antihero. I love jolting twists, heart pounding tension, and a satisfying ending as much as anyone. I love the entire journey. So it was with much delight that I discovered "The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches" delivered all of this and more.
My wife, my sons, and my daughter rarely agree on anything, but we ALL agree on "The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches". This story is extremely well developed and extremely well written. It might be our favorite book of all time, and it surely is our most recommended book to others. Part of the reason is that the author took a traditional theme of a fantasy story and put twists on it which are totally new.
The book is clever and engaging. Whether or not you are a devout fantasy reader should make no difference in being able to enjoy this story. If anything, it opens a window to your imagination. I found myself with a new appreciation for traditional fantasy. It was an excellent audio rendition and a fast-paced and interesting story.
In all, if you are looking for an entertaining book, listen to this one and keep going to the rest of the series. The books in the series get better and better. Book 2 is better than book 1. Book 3 is better than book 2. Book 4 is better than book 3. To understand it all, you have to begin with book 1.
We thoroughly enjoyed this book. The rich details, the sweeping story, the terrific characters -- it's all great. The narrator is very good. I was so sorry it ended that I got the 2nd right away. The 2nd is definitely amazing as well, a better story in many ways.
My husband and I listened to this book and just loved it! This is one of the best books we've read recently. Without question though this book as a stand alone isn't as strong as it as part of a series. Still, this book is a window to a miraculous world of wonder and best of all it's the start of a much bigger (and much better) story when you get into the later books.
This is the first series of books where I can honestly say each book gets better from here. In fact, each book in the series is successively better than the one before it. What sets this books (and the series) apart from other fantasy, mystery, and fiction I've read recently is the attention to detail. The characters all have dreams, desires, pasts. They think, they fret, they fear like everyone I know.
Of the hundreds and hundreds of books I've read, this is the only book where I felt I was in the author's imagined world. The world of the story is rich in history and there are many details that bring it to life. The world is to me like one of the characters, it is just as interesting and captivating. I think this book would be enjoyable to the non-fantasy lover as well.
This is an absolutely wonderful book. The story and the characters are very interesting. The narrator does an excellent job. This is an excellent choice for children and adults.
However, this is only the beginning to the story. Here we meet all the characters, learn about their lives and the terrible change coming to their world. I would recommend this book to any fantasy lover.
I'd seen this book in the bookstore a bunch of times, and been extremely interested, but just never got around to buying it. I got a gift card for an audible credit from my wife, and I saw this and downloaded it. I was hooked from the first minute. Not only is this a great book for pretty much all ages, the performance is probably the best I have heard.
The narrator does such a good job that I forgot to miss having the actual book in front of me. I've listened to a ton of audio books, because my wife is a big fan of them, but this is easily the best narration that I have heard. Just wait till you hear the wolm in the second book, Edward the troant in the first book, and the dragon king in the fourth book, and you'll know exactly why. Normally, I get bored listening to audiobooks because the readers don't speak near as fast as I can read, and I've found that readers tend to limit my imagination's involvement. Not so with this book. Bravo on the narration!
The book itself is also a fantastic experience, especially for a first in a series. The characters are well fleshed out, and despite some predictability, the book kept me very hooked. I couldn't wait to get the second, third and fourth books.
In conclusion, this is a thoroughly enjoyable audiobook, and it has really changed my mind about the whole media group. Don't stop with the first one, you have to go on to the second one and the rest to get the whole experience.
How to describe this book? This book gets the whole series going and set up the story wonderfully for everything that follows in books 2, 3 and 4. This is an extremely engaging story with an interweaving of mystery, adventure, and fantasy.
Almost from the minute the story started I was captivated. In some ways this is the story of the Alder family(King Andrew, his daughter Adrina, his son Valam) and their struggle to keep the kingdom from sinking into war. In other ways it is a story of a great evil returning to the world and the people who set out to stop it. There are many mysteries to solve as well, which makes for a better story.
These books are outstanding, and well worth the time. The reading is excellent as well. I would recommend getting the 1st and 2nd book because of how the story continues from one to the next. The final two are the best, in my opinion, but you have to read the first two to understand them.
Where in the world are all those good reviews coming from??? They could not POSSIBLY be from THIS book, unless there's something fishy going on with the ratings. I tried to listen to this with my two daughters, ages 8 and 11, and gave it 1/2 hour. It was NOT good.
The narrator was a problem. It began with him doing a female voice and made her sound like a child-like female Gollum. There was no transition between the different scenes. It would be a couple minutes into the next scene before I realized it had changed locale and character. Literally, NO transition. Not even a pause. My 8 year old says she couldn't understand any thing. His voice would go from soft when speaking in character to really loud when reading the text. So we had the volume up really loud. Uncomfortable to listen to. He seemed to drone.
The actual story and writing were also a problem. I could not understand the setting; it just made no sense to me. There was no lead in, just slam into full detail, character names, contextual references, etc. of this alternative world trying to figure out where the heck this story was starting from. The dialog was imbecilic.
My kids enjoyed The Hobbit and the older one listened to the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, last year, no problem. We all enjoyed Ranger's Apprentice. Maybe this book isn't supposed to be Young Adult?? Even as an adult, though, I was lost. (For taste and comprehension comparison: I've enjoyed the George R.R. Martin series. )
We've been listening to about 3 books a month for over a year, with only perhaps three of those books being ones that we decided not to listen through. Sorry I wasted my money on this one.
Huge waste of money, cannot get past the narrator's monotone cadence to follow the story. After concentrating really hard on the words, I believe the story to be great. But, we could not sit through more than a few chapters before we were disgusted. I think I will try it in paperback. Don't buy this narrator's work. He is terrible.
Shame on fans of other authors who keep giving this book poor marks! This book without question has excellent narration and is very well written. I enjoyed the story from beginning to end and couldn't wait for more. The entire series is terrific and exceptionally well done. I love how the author weaves mysteries and intrigues into the action and adventure. This book is better than anything else I've read or listened to in a long, long time.
Bravo Robert Stanek on a job well done. You have an amazing gift for writing characters cut from whole cloth and stories that are a cut above. I'm a huge new fan of your work and can't wait to start In the Service of Dragons now that I've finished all four Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches.