This book follows much of the formula of the 1st book in the series (The Warded Man) but, seems to intensify both the good aspects of that story, and the not so good ones.
My main issue with the story is that probably the 1st third of the book is the back story to Ja-Hadir (the man who steals the spear from Arlen in the previous book). It's not a bad backstory- it does flesh out a lot more of the character and give more insight into his culture and the reasonings behind why he does some of the things he does. But it's not the story we are left with at the end of the 1st book, and I found myself impatiently waiting for the backstory to stop and the timeline of the 1st book to pick up where it left off. Bad news, you've got several hours before that happens, and I found myself relatively disinterested and impatient with Ja-Hadir.
Secondly, it's obvious that the author has drawn a LOT of inspiration for the Crasian (not sure how to spell these things- it was an audio book) culture in the story from Middle Eastern, "Arabic" societies- and the more strict ones at that (Taliban comes to mind). While there are aspects of that culture that are very honor bound, it is within the framework of their society's references, and as such it's pretty offensive to my western ways of thinking. Misogynistic, caste based, zealots, uncompromising, elitist, and a "weak serves the strong" instead of a "strong protects the weak" viewpoint make it difficult to view them in a positive light, or even to want to know more about the culture in general, much less read about it for several hours.
Also, the author uses a lot of culture-specific words (and I mean LOTS of them). Which is fine, except it forces you to go "now what the heck is a 'Kafite' again?" every time you hear the word until it's meaning syncs in your brain. Might want to keep a notepad handy for the 1st third of the book so you can keep it all straight- he explains the meaning once, and then throws the word around whether you caught it's meaning or not. A LOT.
My final gripe: Harl Tanner. I've don't think I've ever loathed a character with as much vehemence as this one- and we get a lot more of him in this book. He's a bastard, and reading about his exploits are just plain difficult. Guess it's not bad to have a person you hate in a story, but it's a hard and dark read to go through- that's all I'll say.
Good parts: The story all comes together masterfully at the end, though maybe not with every ending as you'd want it. Still, at the end, I looked back and it and was pleased with the story as a whole. It probably could have been shorter and not lost much, but I did really like the character arcs, particularly with the main characters from the 1st book. It felt like it really delivered in that regard, even better than it did in "The Warded Man". And of course, the narration is top notch- great job by Pete Bradbury.
Despite my review griping a fair amount about the story's flaws, I gave it high marks and felt it was well worth the credit, if you don't mind a fair bit of dark tragedy mixed in with your hero story.
The world is captivating and quite unique, but the consistent sexual overtone was wearing as it didn't add to the story, but was more a filler. I started skipping through certain characters chapters as they once again appear to be filler (since they're secondary characters)
I'm ecstatic that I've come across this series and took a chance. almost on the same level as the bulgariad series but not quite on the same field as the sword of truth epics. with at being said, comparing this to two of my favorite series of all time is saying something.
The first half of this book picks up on the other side of the last books time in the desert spear. It continues in similarly well written and exciting fashion and really drives the series along. Then comes about 15 hours of over sexualized meandering amounting to basically nothing.
No idea, have only listened to it but I will say it would be hard to beat now that I'm used to the nariator
I can't think of one, it's really been fun for me to listen to and its not close to previous books I've experienced. Looking forward to Book #3
I liked the strength of the female characters and the twists and turns and unpredictability