I started listening this book more than a year ago and grew bored of it after some hours, the book sounding like a list of uninteresting nobles and their relationships.
I picked it up again last week and couldn't stop listening. Suddenly the world in the book was very alive and interesting.
I would recommend this one for people with the patience to dive into the world and let Ellen Kushner take care of the rest.
I didn't finish listening to this. Just not my thing...bit of a soap opera. I've really liked Neil Gaiman stories and just kind of went with it on that recommendation. I found the book a bit more descriptive (I don't want to use the word crude as that's not quite right) than I'm interested in.
I actually listened to the second book first - if I had gotten this one first, I might not have gone on, so if you have doubts about this one, hang in there.
I would recommend the book with reservations. The narration is all over the map with the narrator sometimes speaking for a character and then a different actor speaking for the same person, so a little confusing. Voices weren't consistent and I think that made the story line a bit disjointed.
Narration & pace of the story were pretty good apart from the inconsistency of who speaks/narrates.
I love full cast audio books when they are done well. While this is not strictly a full cast - Ellen Kushner reads the majority with background and secondary characters filled in by the supporting cast - it has the same all encompassing quality of full cast productions. I was so drawn in by the narration that I was unable to do much of anything until I had finished the book.
The written prose of the book is also exquisite. The imagery is lush and sumptuous as a bubble bath, rich as dark chocolate. I think I am in danger of becoming addicted to Ellen Kushner's writing.
I have been a long time subscriber to Audible and travel for a living. As such I listen to audio books an average of four hours per day. When I research my purchases I take some time to read reviews, etc, and usually they are spot on (not so with this series). Within a few hours of listening I was bombed with scene after scene of homosexuality. No where in the reviews was this mentioned or I missed it. I can endure a bit of that if the rest of the work held up but that was not the case. The writing is what I would expect from a first year college student and seems forced with no real objective in mind. The plotting seems to be a second thought, as though we are supposed to be so enthralled with the descriptions of the sensual thoughts going through the minds of the players as to ignore anything else. There is nothing here of any value to save this work including the author's narration. She needs to leave this to the professionals. This is the first time I have been motivated to write a review. I have been so pleased with my book selections in the past that this one stands out as a big mistake!
As far as I can tell no one reviewing this book mentioned that the story is a sappy, homosexual romance.
I read it because Neil Gimond described it as "what Jane Austen would have written if she wrote fantasy". The comparison is a slander of Jane Austen's writing style.
Swordpoint doesn't have much action and frankly the "witty dialect" and plot consist of characters speaking somewhat in period for Jane Austen's books. This is not enough to entitle a book to the description of clever. The only shrewd part was two sentences on fireworks. I kept waiting for a surprising plot twist or something.
If someone had bothered actually saying what book was about I would not have wasted my time or a credit on such trash. Thank goodness for Audible's return policy.So fair warning.
a dedicated dilettante
Swordspoint is a particularly good example of the challenges of book selling in a world of genre focus and the challenges of making your work known. Swordspoint has been called a "melodrama of manners", a fantasy, a high romance and a fairy tale for grown ups. To me, it seems like an alternate world history novel about the political and sexual intrigues of court. Obviously that's not a genre. One distinguishing feature of the novel, and possibly the fantasy element, is that nearly all of the men are bisexual; none of the women are depicted this way
Her descriptions, characters, pacing (for a book on court intrigues) and world creation are spot on. It is a testament to her writing that I became invested in what happened to Richard. Her descriptions present the world of Riverside in such a way that I feel as though I've furtively traveled through the streets or wandered up the Hill. It's also described in such a way, that I wouldn't like to visit, let alone live there. The characters who peopled her story were often complex and clever. Ironically, the two people who seemed to have the best character were killers: Richard St Vier and Vincent Applethorpe (a former swordsman who ran a fencing school).
It is a well built world I don't care for peopled with complex characters that I mostly don't like and has as its main focus clever politicking and sexual intrigue amongst the lords of the city which I don't prefer as a focus. If you like this stuff (and the bisexual element doesn't bother you), then you'll like Ms. Kushner's book.
I had an opportunity to listen to much of the audiobook (I went between the Kindle and Audible versions using Whispersync for Voice). Overall, it nicely done. It was not quite a full audio play but it was a multi-cast reading with sound effects. While Ms. Kushner has solid narration skills developed doing radio with WGBH (Boston), the tone in her voice is not my favorite. She does a nice job of narration; this is simply personal preference.
I did not like this book. It was slow, tedious and boring. The plot seemed to meander. The characters were depressing with few redeeming qualities.
Graphic Designer. Culinary Enthusiast. Mostly User Friendly.
When I started listening to this book, I was excited to realize that this was an Audible Neil Gaiman Presents selection -- the first that I've listened to. In his opening introduction, he states that "It's as if Jane Austen wrote fantasy... an imaginary world where the characters are real people..." He had me at Jane Austen, of course, and if Jane Austen were a tad spicier, a fair amount darker, and had dealt with same-sex romance, that would be about right. I had a little trouble following all of the intrigue in audio form, even with the theatrical multi-voice narration. I do tend to have trouble with those sort of entwining storylines in general, though. I thought this was a very well-written book, and interesting in it's uniqueness. It felt like a mix of Fantasy and Regency Romance, but with a darker Historical Fiction sort of underbelly that made it seem a lot more real-world than those genres usually do.