This is one of the best books I have ever listened to. Excellent narration builds on marvelous writing to engage you completely. Once I finish the fourth one, I will listen to the entire series again. Mr. Stanek has a gift allowing us to see this magical world and our own in a new light.
Very impressed with these wonderful books. Taken as a whole, The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches is one of the best and most well-written series I have ever came by. The many awards this book has won say it all! A fantastic beginning to an impressive series.
Both I and my 7-year-old son found the book almost painfully boring: Very little happens through much of it, the narrator's voice tends to be flat, and the lack of pauses between changing characters makes it very hard to follow at times. Having listened to over two dozen audio books with my son on our morning commute, this is the first one he's not liked at all.
I love Fantasy books and this had the makings of a good story. But the execution was horrible. There is NO continuity in the story. If it did not clearly state that this was an Unabridged version I would swear it was a horribly mangled abridgment. I actually listened to all 4 hoping beyond hope that it would get better, that the author would actually pull the story together, but it never did. In 4 books the story progresses very little and you will need to continue on with the "In the Service of Dragons" series if you want to find out what happens. I usually do not select books under 8 hours but I made an exception in this case and I am regretting that decision. In fact in the well over 100 books that I have purchased from Audible these are the only books I actually regret purchasing. You have been warned...
Or are all the 5-star reviewers for this book on crack? Seriously, there is no objective way that anyone can claim that this is worthy of 5-stars, unless you're scoring on a 10-star system. Even accounting for differing tastes, a 5 hour story that has just two plot points, has horrible narration (is the guy TRYING to impersonate Will Farrell cheesing it up?), and that just DEAD STOPS is not worth 5-stars.
Seriously, if someone had asked me how this book was 10 seconds before I heard the "story continues in book 2" bit, I would have said that it's been a slow start but that it looks like it is just starting to pick up. I actually went back to my library to confirm that "Book" 1 has only one part.
I can maybe see if some of the reviewers have never before been exposed to the concept of fiction, but if you've ever read a fantasy book before in your life, you will be DISAPPOINTED by this audiobook selection. If you enjoy plot or dialog, look elsewhere. I agree with others that one's money/book credits are much better spent on Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, or damn near anyone else than this audiobook.
The only reason I gave it two stars instead of one is that it might be the start of a decent book. But considering that I will have had to pay at least two book credits (or $40) just to have the possibility of reading a complete book that isn't really that great to begin with, I am definitely passing on the rest of these. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Shame on you , RP Audio!
Like other reviewers, I bought this book on the strength of its ratings and I have to say I'm disappointed. First of all, the characters lack depth and differentiation. As another reviewer put it, there's little in the characters that makes you want to care about them. Second, the narration is terrible. The narrator gives every sentence the same intonation and inflection; it sounds more like someone reading the ingredients list off of a loaf of bread. Third, while I enjoy long, multi-volume stories, I still insist that each volume have some substance and an engaging plot. This first-of-three novel is mere introduction to the rest of the series and has neither substance nor engaging plot. I don't know which book the more positive reviewers of this book listened to, but it wasn't the same one I heard.
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.
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.
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.
I'm not sure who would enjoy this. The wording is too convoluted for youth but the story is much too underdeveloped for adults.
Read like a first draft. Disjointed writing style. Makes some major time leaps at times as well as leaps in believability.
Breathy and affected accent. No character or emotional differentiation--how can the character be shouting and the narrator sound like he's just completed a short sprint.
Too underdeveloped to say. Within 4 hours listening time three completely separate stories that began in multiple locations spread across this universe's world had converged. I can't plan a gathering with my local friends and bring them all together so quickly.
Waaaay too expensive. Seems like a steal at approx $7 a book, yet the "books" are about four hours. Compared to fully developed series whose books can run 30 - 40 hours, these mini-books can rack-up the expenses quickly.