This is the best fantasy series ever, hands down. I have read the physical books at least 5 times, and I have been awaiting an audiobook since my first time. Ralph Lister does an amazing job with the many, many characters, whose voices are often described in the text, and he reads the story with the drama it deserves. I highly recommend this book, and this audiobook, get both!
I read the print version of this book over 10 years ago. I remember enjoying it, but for various reasons had to read it in bits and pieces and lost track of the story. I decided to come back to it again and am so glad I did. The story is compelling and the narrator helps to make the already intriguing characters come to life. Thoroughly enjoyed this listen! Just waiting for DeadHouse Gates now. How about it Audible?? I hope Ralph Lister is working on it.
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 absolutely love my audible account, makes its from enjoying a book to loving the stories found in the books. Do forgive my errors in the reviews i do have dyslexia but i will share my love with everyone
Steven Erikson has a great way to merge several different magics into his novel. the magic is called warrens, most people can use there one warren. there is also his own version of taro cards called the deck of dragons. each warren is tied to a house in the deck.
what happens when the ascendents of the warrens start to mess with the empire of Malazan? the house of shadows seems to be the main opposition to the empire. Oponn the twins of chance are up to something as well. Anomander Rake, with all his power is playing games from his moon. Why are the ascendents so interested in the empire, and why are the bridgeburners wanted to be eliminated.
plots found inside plots, men fighting ascendents, ascendents fighting the empire. alliances are made and broken. and you can never trust anyone. This book has you listening to it over and over again
After reading Blood Song and realizing that the release date is over 12 months away I read about Steven Erickson's series on the Malazan Empire. Most of the reviews were universally good so I spent the $ 24.95.
I struggled through about 4 hours of the first book- one character after another until I lost count- with absolutely NO character development. NONE. Very little scenery of other descriptives - Erickson is trying to copy Black Company (a favorite of mine) with none of the humorous sarcasm and funny asides. The world is intricate for sure- intricately BORING- after a while I realized I was PRAYING for this book to end - HOPING beyond hope that one of the weird Gods of the Erickson's imagination (that I neither cared about or understood) would DESTROY the entire world, universe and everything in it and relieve me of the tedium of listening to his audio anvil I spend $ 24 bucks on. Really Erickson owes me $ 24!!!
Yes his world is intricate- and intricately b o r i n g!!! despite the B o r i n g none stop action- but none of the characters are developed, I could not keep track of what in the hell they were doing and who they were- and even if I could have - I really did not want to since they barely existed for me.
Okay if you like fireballs and demons and blood- this is your book. But if you want stories, characters that are human (0r hell I would take an alien with a personality) then STOP and save you $$$.
Much better choices abound: from Red Country (Joe Abercrombie) to Prince of Thorns Series (by Mark Lawrence) to Blood Song by Anthony Ryan to the old standby Brandon Sanderson. Scott Lynch "Lies of Lochlomara" blows this away. Each is different but by God they write decent stories. I am NOT the agents of these guys nor in any way associated with them- other than a fan who appreciates the craft these guys exhibit.
I read later that this novel grew out of a Dungeons and Dragons game in 1982. I should have guessed because it has the literary content and meaning of something 14 year olds pushing minature figures around a table and rolling strange dice about. But most DMs don't charge money (or they did not the last time I changed D&D in 1978)
Four thumbs down- and where is my $ 25 bucks!!!???? Really I feel like my pocket has been picked!!!!! This book should come with a warning on it!
For the life of me I cannot understand how this guy has sold a book much less won all these awards. I did read that one either loves this stuff or Hates it. Count me as the latter as you might guess.
Ralph Lister does a very good job as a narrator - but he can no more rescue this junk heap of a book than Sauron could rescue Saruman.
'I think hell’s a fable.' 'Ay,' says Mephistopheles, 'think so still, till experience change thy mind
I was looking for a series that compared to GoT, Wheel of Time, or at least The Name of the Wind; but I think this book fell well short.
Ralph Lister did a fantastic job, but even he could not help this
this book was so boring that characters are lifeless cut them all
Mostly use audio books in planes these days. Know I really like a book when I find myself with earphones still on from home to hotel
Started listening to this on an airplane and then continued on return trip. Spent the 1st 4-5 hours convinced I'd somehow bought a middle book or the 1st book in a series that had the background told previously. Nope - author just writes characters, their actions, the landscape, the whole entire universe like he wrote it down as he thought of them. Spur of the moment - no context for anything. You have parts, books, chapters all loosely driving a threadbare storyline.
While the Audible description outlines a plot seemly based on "WhiskeyJack" character, he's actually one of the least visible characters in book. Hours 5 - rest of book didn't get any better.
For those who talk about how complex the book is... badly written doesn't make a book complex. Will not be purchasing further books in series.
The story is enormous. It eclipses virtually every other work in the high fantasy genera.
The diverse cast of characters yields an atmosphere unlike any other book I have ever read.
These characters could not be better performed. Ralph Lister's style, pace, and huge library of voices is truly incredible.
If you have any love for high fantasy, just click buy.