This must be the WORST book in my library. I absolutely hated it. Maybe I just don't like historical fantasy, I don't often read it, and this one just seemed brain-dead from any angle.
Germans are depicted as cruel comic-imbeciles, who nevertheless have achieved a technological highpoint the Allies never manage to understand. The English are equally cruel and unkind to their own people, and try to overcome the Germans with Enochian magic, which (in this book) is savage yet futile in its usage.
There is never any attempt at an explanation of either technology or magic. We're supposed to simply take it all at face value.
The whole thing just strikes me as stupid. I'm not able to give it less than one star, but my advice is to steer clear.
i loved the premise of this book, warlocks vs uber men in WW2. Really original and unusual. however, i am mystified by the incomprehensible decision to have an american narrate the story. Mr Pariseau CANNOT do any sort of British accent! his upper class toff, cockney, and home counties accents all sound like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Absolutely terrible. As for his Scottish accent, oh my god!
this really spoiled the quality of the book. The author's work has been completely traduced by this terrible, terrible narration. it looks as if there will be more books in the series. the publishers need to get someone else to read them, such as Sean Barrett. then it would be worth listening to.
despite really enjoying the story i am not sure i could tolerate listening to this narrator again. were it not for the poor narration i would give this 5 stars
Frankly I would have to, there are so many aspects of this story, so many minute details that later come back to haunt you that re-listening to this book would be quite enjoyable. Not to mention the fact that story, reading and flow are all brilliant.
It's the pace, the mood and the accents. He has a good voice for action, intrigue, but also intimate moments.
We'll meet again, I know where, I know when. It's a tiny play on a song that is mentioned in the book. Incidentally I would also have that as the theme song for the trailer. Vera Lynn "We'll meet again".Incidentally I doubt this book could be made justice in a movie, It would on the other hand lend itself perfectly to the mini series format. There are just so many little facets that don't seem all that important at the time, that turn out to be crucial to the plot later.
As for the book and the story itself. It is simply breath taking, it has been years since I've had to stop an audiobook just to give myself the moment needed to gather my wits after the author simply turns my view of everything upside down in the most marvelous way I've experienced.
The Character's themselves are magnificent, human, brittle broken things, but still larger than life heroes doing their utmost to save what they believe in the most. This book and the one that comes after it are by far the best thing I've listened too / read in years. The integrate weave of plots that the author, and the characters weave around and through themselves will cause you to break out in shouts of horror, apprehension, delight and excitement all at the same time.
Truely Breathtaking work.
I have to save my sensitive eyes for thesis-writing, so audiobooks are how I keep up with my favourite authors and have fun.
I can't wait for the sequels! Great story, great characters, and well-performed. It held my attention from start to finish - couldn't put it down! Intellectual, fantastical, and rich.
An interesting story, but the narrators laughably bad German accents draw the attentions away from the story and characters. However, I won't lay the blame for this on Kevin Pariseau, who's reading is fine when not doing the accents. The problem is with the producer who should has recognized this problem and directed the talent to tone it down. Might have to recommend that you buy the book and read it instead of listening to it.
Ian Tregillis tells a compelling story, and the trilogy as a whole is highly recommended. Not as audiobooks, unfortunately, since Kevin Pariseau's narration is painful to listen to -- over-rendered, oblivious to meaning, and pretty much ham acting. See the Audible.co.uk reviews for further details. Yes, why use an American actor for a story that takes place in Britain?
I didn't intend to read/listen to yet another alternate WWII fantasy novel this spring… (I didn't know there were that many alternate WWII fantasy novels out there…) But there it was in my Audible library, and as I've been using earphones defensively against the onslaught of noise in the office (why do people have to yell at the top of their lungs? And have multiple radios going?) I've been going through a good many audiobooks this year.
It took quite a bit of getting used to, this alternate timeline. After other books I've read this year, between Connie Willis and Erik Larsen, I've become a bit familiar with the ebb and flow of WWII. So this was odd, with so little context for the warlockly doings. It made it difficult to tell how or if the course of the war was altered – the grafting on of what Richard (Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways) has called Magicque. The fleet of private ships that evacuated Dunkirk failed in this reality – or not? It isn't clear – but the evacuation ship City of Benares was sunk, just as it was in the current reality. (Though the latter was almost made to sound like something resulting from the Eidolon and the OKW.) It was interesting to see the Red Orchestra show up. Even something like the "heil Hitler" salute – it came as a surprise when someone used it, which made me realize that was the first one of the book, as far as I noticed. Which, considering some half the book is set in Germany or amongst the Nazis, is odd. I don't think as much was really done with the branching of events as could have been; apparently the war ended in 1940, and there was little exploration of what that meant in the world at large. I came to very much dislike Jo Walton's Small Change series (which featured a non-magicque alternate timeline), but in some ways exposition of what that world was like was done rather better than in this book.
With half the characters being from London and its surrounds, I wish the narrator had been British. Or perhaps I just wish he had better at accents; main character Raybould Marsh starts out as a street urchin, and faces disdain among politicians because of his origins – but the accent the narrator gives him isn't far off the others' with had much posher backgrounds. Will's was nice, and Lorimer's, but the German accents reminded me alternately of Arnold Schwarzeneggar and Hogan's Heroes. Also, it was distracting and sometimes confusing that characters' internal monologues were in, basically, the narrator's own accent, not at all the characters'.
I keep trying to put my finger on the quality that makes one book perfect for me and another anathema; in a synesthetic sort of way I can almost associate a color with an author's writing. Bitter Seeds felt like a sort of ochre, a little heavy, a little resistant. But there were moments that I loved; one I made a note of was: " The flint in his gaze had been knapped into arrowheads, all aimed at Marsh." That's quite nice, I thought.
Then of course there was the moment it made me smile and think of Firefly: "'Dangerous? That's your question? If you're seeking a new hobby, Pip, you're better off juggling rabid badgers on a street corner. You might even make a few quid.'" Some people juggle geese…
Another flash of amusement came from "Klaus wondered if many great men shuffled around in their dressing gowns and obsessed over their bowel movements." It struck me, based in part on the weird variety of books I've been reading, that … yes, actually, a fair number of great men probably do and have done exactly that. (And not so great men, too.)
All of the senses are attended to in the storytelling. The falling of a syringe makes a distinct sound. Cigarette smoke; the flight of birds; the grip of a handshake; the flavor of chocolate – taste and touch and smell and sight and sound permeate the book, to the point that it stops being a good thing and simply becomes repetitive.
Part of the disconnect I felt with the book was in the fact that despite the attention to detail in description, more information would have been useful in other places, or more specific information. As mentioned above, the alternate WWII timeline could have been made more clear. (Warning: this gets a bit squicky…) One character sacrifices what is specifically described as a fingertip… but the shears "crunched together at the center of [his] finger", and thenceforth he suffers "phantom limb" pain, and there is mention of a "missing finger". In my world, the fingertip is the fleshy bit at the, er, tip of the finger, the bit that will make contact if you bring your finger straight down onto your desk. The end of it. Small area. Tip. Not even necessarily including any nail. My father lost the tip of one finger in an accident long ago, and you'd never have known it. So … Er?
For Will's story alone, this nearly went up to 4 stars, and he would be the only reason I would pursue the series. I became impatient with Marsh, and never could scrape up much interest in the almost dimensionlessly Evil Nazis, but Will was a fantastic character with a compelling arc (though his path might have been too determinedly downhill to form an actual arc). Unfortunately, I don't think he's enough reason to go and seek out Book 2.
Garbage story, unimaginative sci-fi elements, and trope plots. Doesn't develop anything worth caring about. Pass. Fantastic performance by the narrator though. Truly that was remarkable.
I'm a web developer based out of Sacramento, I listen to books while I work, and love audible.
Great story marred by bad dialogue and mediocre characterization. If this author was more adapt at creating believable characters and with dialogue to go along with it, this book would have easily be 5 stars. Don't get me wrong, the dialogue is not the worst I've ever read, nor are the characters, they are just a week point to such a degree that is is very noticeable when compared to the rest of the complete package.
I would assume the writer will only get better since this is a first book, and I plan on reading the next one.
This book is disturbing, and incomplete. I get that it is supposed to be a series, but it should at least offer a full story. And the unnecessary brutality toward children and human kind in general is simply disturbing.