I don't always listen to my books, but when I do.. I listen to Audible.
I really enjoyed this book. I am fairly new to audiobooks, and completely new to Erikson. I must say I was more than pleasantly surprised. An interesting world, it takes some getting used too but once your are IN, well, it's hard to get out. The world is hard, gritty and tumultous. The narrator gives a good performance, distinct voices for most major characters. This is the first performance I have been graced with by Lister, and outside of minor quibbles with some pronunciation (likely due to different nationalities) I truly enjoyed his reading. The biggest problem is that there is NOT MORE!! This is the first of many books in a series, and unfortunately the only one on audible.
I want more from this author and this series available on audible. I have to drive/travel a lot for my job, hours at a time and I love to listen to entertaining books that are over 20 hrs. Please add the rest of the series.
I am an avid audiobook listener of many genres, and I really like fantasy, but for me, this book needs the "family trees" or a printed cast of characters to reference in order to keep this story flowing. I was confused about names, places, who was "good" and who was not from the first chapter. For that reason, I can't give it a better rating as an audiobook.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
Steven Erikson writes gorgeous prose and passable poetry (some of it disguised as prose). He has a phenomenal imagination--actually an imagination beyond imagining for me. And he has the patience and discipline to pull a huge number of extraordinary creations together into a world and sequence of events which is consistent and which, by the time you reach the end of the book, seems like it probably all made sense. What he does not seem to have, at least in this first book of his gargantuan series, are a couple of the most basic skills of the story teller: the ability to keep his story in control in a way which will allow the reader to understand enough at any given point to want to press on, and the knack of making us care about characters so that we can invest in the outcomes of the journey we share with them. I tagged along to the end of the trip but only because I hate quitting.
Often while I was listening to the book I was reminded of the Emperor's line in "Amadeus." Having just listened to a Mozart opera, his response was, "Too many notes. Just...too many notes." The Emperor was wrong, of course, and perhaps I am, too, but for me there were just too many characters, factions, near death or return from death moments, deities and demi-gods, etc. etc. This sort of thing really appeals to some readers, and more power to them. For me the prospect of jotting all of this down on cards and arranging them on a wall so that I can keep the myriad factions and interests straight in my mind through the continuous process of alliance and conspiracy is just too much.
But what I found most off-putting was the fact that most of what transpired was the result of manipulation by entities lurking in the background about whom I cared not at all--some of whom I never met until the final confrontation. Since all the humans I might have invested in were parts of different and competing factions, I soon felt as though I were sitting somewhere far removed from the action watching history on which I would eventually have to pass a test if I wanted to get into the game. I realize that this manipulation by the powers beyond was the point of much of the story, but to work it needed to allow us to identify much more powerfully with a few of the human players.
Clearly a lot of listeners have found this book and series riveting, so I encourage you to read the best of the positive reviews and decide. As for me, I will not be continuing through the rest of the series.
I am a lifetime devotee to fantasy and sci-fi and I really wanted to like this. This book had wizards, fighters, thieves, assassins, fair maidens, and various sentient winged creatures. It had plots and plots within conspiracies within plots. It had all of the superficial elements the genre demands but somehow the whole never became any greater than the sum of these parts. There were too many characters and they were introduced too fast without sufficient background to "get to know" them. As a result, I spent the first 1/3 of the book a bit confused and I never fell in love with the characters in the way I have with other fantasy series. The narrator was pretty good but a few characters sounded annoyingly like leprechauns.
It's obvious form the other reviews that plenty of other people enjoyed this book much more than I did,but all in all it just never grew on me.
***This book requires your full attention!!!*** My husband recommended it to me since I enjoyed the Song of Ice and Fire series so much, but most of my listening is done while driving long distances to work. (I'm talking about 3 hours each way sometimes.) Bad idea. I think I listened to the first 4 hours 3 times and still had trouble following the story and timeline. I ended up reading the book which was much more enjoyable and easy to follow since it had my full attention and it turned out to be a wonderful book. And perhaps I am just more of a visual person when it comes to complex stories of this nature.
Absolutely! This book will need two listens at least. It is very involved and I agree with the other reviewers that wrote that this book is not for the feint of heart. It is obviously a large story and this first book is a bit confusing, though not as hard to follow as I thought it would be. Due to being a bit confusing I decided to rate the story 4 stars.
Having said that, I will say that this author is one hell of a writer. His writing skills are up there with the best fantasy writers out there (in my opinion). I place him in the company of George RR Martin, Robin Hobb, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, and Patrick Rothfuss. I knew within the first 10 minutes of listening to his prose that I was in good hands and even though his story was a bit convoluted in places, when I did get a little lost, I didn't really mind because what was being said was still very entertaining and by the end of the book it all came together.
I was extremely excited to hear that the story only gets better from this point on and that there are 10 books or so to look forward to! AUDIBLE and Mr. Erikson, would you please get your act together and get these books out in audio format! I am so looking forward to the rest of this series of books! I know that I will probably have to read these books now, because I don't think I can wait for the audiobooks versions to come out, but I know that it would be incredibly enjoyable and add an extra dimension to my enjoyment, if I could "hear" these books!
I really loved Ralph Lister's narration. This is my first time hearing him and I felt that he was a perfect choice for this book. He made every character stand out and I never was confused about who was saying what. He did an excellent job and deserves 5 stars for his performance.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
From the outset, this book seems like a good introduction to a very involved fantasy series. Try this book if you are very open to continuing on with the series. There is a lot that is left unexplained and much that is left incomplete, so if you want perfect understanding and all the characters rounded-out by the end of the first book, you'll be left wanting. However, if what you are wanting is an extended, multi-part fantasy epic, you could do a lot worse.
The very appealing thing about this book is the interaction of the various characters who, at first, seem very distant from each other, but then eventually collide in, often improbable, but quite entertaining ways. Even with the heavy use of prophecy as a foreshadowing tool, there is little predictability in these interactions. When you combine this fact with the lack of contextual development (i.e. history, mechanics of magic, pantheon etc.), you feel as if you are being swept along in a fast-moving narrative stream.
On the other hand, I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of character development on the side of the protagonists. There were quite a lot of them and their endeavors were given very egalitarian coverage by the narrator. So maybe the author spread himself a little thin. Where this really needled me was when I was trying to discover a particular character's motivation for their actions. This was lightly explained at best. Often a protagonist was acting as the tool of another through possession or some other kind of influence, but even in those cases, the motivations of the possessors was similarly left unclear.
I recognize that as the first of a larger series, much of this will likely be explained, but just taking the first book on its own merits, the characters need a little depth and the world they inhabit needs texture.
The narrator was very competent in developing distinct vocal characteristics for the various dramatis personæ. I would call a few of his characterizations a little odd relative to the way they were described physically. This did not detract from the story at all and most of his work was quite enjoyable.
NOTE: As of this writing the subsequent novels are not available from Audible.
I have read the Malazan Book of the Fallen series in paperback. I enjoyed them so much that I plan to listen to each of the audio books as they are made available.
Thank you so much Audible.com for making Erikson part of my audio library.
More fecund than any book of its kind. No other writer has a menagerie of fleshed out characters like Erikson.