I almost returned it during the first chapter, but I'm glad I didn't. Butcher did deliver a nice set of story arcs. Some of the story elements don't have polish that I've come to expect from Butcher, but he did a fabulous job raising the stakes in increasingly uncomfortable ways.
The narrator is a mature pro and held her characterizations well, but the few times the story took a romantic turn, it felt awkward.
I'm not sure I'll return to Alera anytime soon. The magic system felt overly forced. The further the story went, the more nuanced the magic became in bizarre ways as Butcher began to feel constrained by the Pokemon system of furies he originally set out to build. The inconsistent linguistic elements and naming drove me nuts. And the hyper-simplistic social system didn't seem plausible given the extreme isolation of the society from other human influences.
Overall, it was a fun romp and I did eventually stop hating Tavi and the other principal point-of-view characters. Maybe I'll come back and see what they're up to next someday. . .
I love sci-fi fantasy. My favorite series are the Galactic Football League series, Chronicles of Gor, and Dragonriders of Pern.
I simply adore this book and series. hard to believe that it was written on a bet that Butcher couldn't take Pokemon and the lost Roman Legion and put them together to make a novel. But he did, and it is amazing. The Audible conversion from book on CD to digital struggles at times, which accounts for only 3 stars on the performance, but that is not Kate Readings fault. It seems as though the files messed up on Audibles end, running together and occasionally jumping, at one point skipping about five minutes of the escape from Cord Hold. These issues don't exist in the CD format, only the audible digital.
Overall though, this is a piece of high fantasy at its best. Totally original. if you love fantasy epics, you can't miss this!!?
Tedious is the best description I can come up with, It did not engage me at all although I normally like Mr Butcher 's work. I got through the first couple chapters and just could not continue
waiting for the next in cinder spires or dresden
dull dull dull
its best redeeming feature is that I could stop listening to it
I've finally found my next series to emerse myself in! Book one has laid the foundation for what I expect to be a fantastic story. After just finishing book one, my ONLY disappointment is that there are only five more books in the series to go!
I have become a big fan of Jim Butcher, having listened to many of his audiobooks while at work, or doing chores around my house. He is a great writer, and a master storyteller.... And the narration/production of the audiobook is very well done. That said, the one drawback to many of Butchers books is that they can be very overly-complicated. This series in particular is one that requires constant attention to be able to follow what is happening in the story. It's not a book that is easy to listen to while I am doing other things.... I found myself having to rewind several times because I had missed something important. The main trouble is that he jumps right in with an insanely large cast of main characters, spread over 3 or 4 different simultaneously running story arcs, that he is constantly switching back and forth between... So that it almost requires the listener to keep a notepad with all the characters to keep everything straight. Not to mention the seemingly random list of abilities that everyone seems to have. All in all it actually is a very entertaining and well-written book if you are able to give it your undivided attention.... However it is not for the person who is going to be intermittently interrupted by other tasks.
I love the book and the author tells a masterful story. If there is anything to criticize, the first time I listened to it, I wanted a male reader. Now Kate Reading is part of it.
I prefer reading over listening but it is becoming more difficult to read as I get older.
The story started slow and somewhat confusing, but nearing the tenth chapter things began to fall in place and became intriguing. I enjoyed the various lessons of morals and loyalty. The narrator was quite good a maintaining the different voices for each character. The reason I have given 4 stars rather than 5 is the anoying fan fares played throughout the narrative and the slow start to the story. I would recommend this listen to others, and intend on purchasing the rest of the series.
I wanted to like this story more. The worldbuilding is interesting on its own but the protagonists and antagonists are so covered up in plot armor that after the 4th or 5th "mortal wound" or "get-out-of-no-win-situation-alive" it just becomes boring. Overall, not bad but I'd have to be very bored to continue the series.