I have listened to many audiobooks, and this one is now in the top 10. Excellent characters and a intriguing plot! Kate Reading lends her talents (Wheel of Time) making this a must for those who love science fiction books. Fantastic mental imagery! Kudos to Jim Butcher for another fantastic book, and the beginning of a series that I am sure will bring me many hours of listening pleasure.
I just couldn't get into this world. I tried to care but by the end I was just happy it was over. I will cintinue most other fantasy series' just because I feel invested in the characters. This is an exception.
I personally do not re-read books (or re-listen in this case) very often, but I would be quite content to listen to this book again with a friend or family member.
For me, the most memorable moment of the book was at the very end. Pretty much everything had been said, done, and been wrapped up. I found myself only half listening, assuming the story was done and the narrative was just tapering down to an orderly ending. And then Kate Reading calmly read a plot-shaking sentence with a character reveal that I had to rewind to make sure I heard correctly.
This was the first time I've listened to a Kate Reading ... reading. I love her voice. She does accents and tones with such ease that I never once became confused with which character was speaking. She may become one of my favorite readers.
There were a few funny moments, and while they did evoke smiles, I don't recall much laughing. No "onions" moments, either.
I loved the world (themed heavily after the ancient Roman Empire) and the fantasy elements of everyone being able to interact with and control elemental beings, the "furies." Some of my favorite characters were the more "grey" villans. I thought they stood in wonderful contrast between the sadistic baddies that didn't have a redeeming trait and the shining, honorable heroes who could do no wrong.
I really liked that this book had romance, high adventure, betrayal and danger without getting too gritty and desolate. There were some dark, dark moments, but as the reader, I always felt safe to hope that it would all turn out all right. I even dared to invest my favoritism in a few characters. Don't get me wrong - I often enjoy the dreary, overcast and dark reality epic fantasy series, but sometime I need a break. This book was like a breath of fresh air, and I'm very much looking forward to hearing the rest of the series.
First off I should mention that I am a HUGE fan of the Dresden Files. Like, huge. I love them more than I should. The genius of James Marsters' narration only adds to their brilliance. If you have not listened to them, you should. Right now. I also should say that I have always defended the sometimes frustrating way that Dresden primarily thinks with a body part other than his brain, if you know what I mean. I defended it because it is a character choice on Butcher's part- his protagonist is flawed, interesting, multi-faceted. He can be somewhat of a pig when it comes to women, but he makes up for it with bravery, charm, wit, and vulnerabililty. He is a real person.
Yet... I am beginning to see that there might be something to these criticisms. Maybe it is more than just a character choice. In the Furies of Calderon, women are first described in terms of their sexual attractiveness or lack of sexual attractiveness. Every time. The main one makes such stupid choices right from the beginning that I have difficulty liking her. In addition, I am beginning to see a theme in Butcher's work- much younger women being attracted to their older mentors/teachers/protectors in a way that is not...quite...ethical. In fact it's weird, and it creeps me out. I also did not appreciate the rape scene at all. It felt thrown in, and was very disturbing. Furthermore the system of magic made no sense to me, and the worldbuilding was shallow. There was just something that was off about the plot, and I can't quite put my finger on it.
Now, onto the narration. Oh, the narration. Narrators are such a personal preference, I know, but I swear that if I never have to hear Kate Reading say "bulged" again I will die happy. Why does she say things so oddly? So overpronounced? It drives me crazy! I might try to actually read the second book in the series, as I heard it does get better, and I believe in Butcher as a writer, if not as a feminist. :)
There were good points in the book, which is why I still gave it three stars. I loved the main character Tavi and really just wanted to get back to his POV. I will read the second for him, and so I can understand what the crap is happening with these pokemon things they call furies.
I picked this up because I read reviews citing it as a cool mix of Pokemon an fantasy. It is not. The "furies" which people seem to equate with Pokemon are nothing of the sort. First of all, there is only 1 type of fury that any person in this world can have, and that fury is seemingly random; changing how the person acts and dictating the person's profession in the world. A cool concept, but nothing like the "use spirits to fight other spirits and find stronger and stronger spirits to become mega-powerful and awesome" theme I expected.
And it is for this gross misconception that I give this less than glowing rating. The read is great, and had I not bought into the "Jim Butcher's cool take on Pokemon" interview I watched, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it more. But alas, I had expectations (possibly because I actually played pokemon?) and they were not met.
In short, it's a good read, unless you're actually expecting a cross between the roman Legions and Pokemon. This is more "random medieval world with spirit guardians for one specific race of people"
An experiance that should not be missed. A masterful Epic with many twists and turns that keep you well engaged through the entire series!.
The Orator is amazing as well with a range of voice and emotion that will make the Epic come alive and dance.
I've never owned the print version.
The story kept me glued to my earbuds. It's exciting and realistic. Tavi is a great character.
I loved Kate Reading's performance. She gives the characters life and depth.
I didn't want to listen to this boom in one sitting. It's too long. I was able to savor it bit by bit.
Love all the Codex Alera Series, Want to hear more! Everyone should listen to this book! It's full of adventure and action.
Nice balance of description vs. dialog, etc. Well done... it's just the choice of details I don't care for. In The KingKiller Chronicles, you are given DETAILS. "Boring" details, interesting details... the kind that make a Life (or at least simulate it somewhat)...and it just happens to occur in fantasy land. It's not all titillating and scandalous things that only happen a LOT on TV, etc...with the window dressing of fantasy. I mean really... the only way to show movement in a story is NOT by JUST setting up adversarial relationships between a whole bunch of people. If I wanted THAT kind of story...I'd head for "fiction" baby...or watch some "reality" TV. Ugh. This is SCI FI/FANTASY. I wish they'd come up with a new category SCI FI FI? "Reality" Fantasy? LOL. Anyway. This story doesn't drag as much as many of this sort....but it does start bogging down as the "characters" gain "momentum". I mean, we have to find out about the slave collar that makes women do things that they'd rather not... and the sad widow who is turned on by the beautiful, mysterious young lady... and the bureaucrat who is more wealthy son than fair minded official... and the boy charged with rape who didn't really rape THAT girl, the slavers and their past, etc. etc. etc. Jeez. It's a shame. I REALLY enjoyed the Dresden stories. They got kinda dark in the details...but...the story MOVED along nicely and had humorous highlights (Bob, the Skull, etc.). I got EIGHT HOURS into this one and said, "I've had it." Stopping here baby. Not my cup o' tea.
"There is someone dying, I should probably save them. Hmm... I wonder what I will have for dinner tonight... Does this sweater go good with these pants? oh yea that person is almost dead... I guess I should get to saving them..." other than this method of building up tension the writing is good.
The biggest issue with this entire series isn't that it is predictable or formulaic (most of Butcher's work is, but he has a talent for making that work); it's the reader. Additionally (and also throughout the entire series), the editing is poor. Musical fanfare is thrown in at odd places (in the middle of chapters), audio cuts will cause one sentence to start nearly on top of another (less than 0.25 seconds from the end of another chapter/paragraph), etc. If a poor reading ruins a story for you, then steer clear!
One thing I like about this series (all of the books) is that it does truly develop more than one character. If I had to pick one for this book, I would have to pick Amara. it is rare to see a strong female character standing on her own merits in a fantasy novel. Incidentally, this series addresses that issue in it's storyline, though peripherally.
Lines are often read in the wrong voice. The reader seems to be unable to read the story and note critical things, like who is giving a line (if it's noted after the line is said). Instead, she continues with the previous voice. This can be quite annoying. Voices don't match with the descriptions given at other times in the same book. Particularly Tavi's voice; the reader doesn't bother changing it from a whiny boy's voice until the last chapter of Book 2 even though it has descriptively been developed several times before that. The reader gives little to no energy to the story. Many times she can get quite monotonous. I often listen to audiobooks on my commute, and this series has almost put me to sleep a few times. I've read the books, and like the storyline. It's the voice that gets to me.
I would. Interestingly, this story lends itself to the blockbuster style treatment that Hollywood would give it anyhow, making it a fair bet for faithful adaptation,
For all it's negatives I enjoyed both this book and the series. I just hesitate to recommend it to anyone given it's glaring faults.