Masters in Fiction from Johns Hopkins, aspiring science fiction/humor writer. Give me the unexpected with a bit of grit and humor, please.
I returned the book.
It is so . . . ignorable? I found myself rewinding most passages several times, but the passages were just too mundane despite the subject matter. The characters are easily forgettable and interchangeable (except for Cropper, who is much like Falstaff, a character borrowed from Shakespeare). There are LOTS of characters and lots of names. But, unlike other authors who make each one memorable, most times the name and profession is all we’re given.
It's like the author is TELLING a story, (SIMPLY telling) and not taking the reader along on the journey. The reader never has a sense of place, never quite knows where he is are or how he got there Things happen, but it's hard to care about the events when the reader has no frame of reference.
Part of the Hero's Journey is establishing what is at stake and the motivations for the characters. I'm all the way through part one and I still have no idea. People fighting for the sake of fighting. That's it. This book is like reading an instruction manual, with lists of dry details. It reads like part II of a series where the reader is already familiar with the background of the characters so the author has no reason to show depth.
Here's an example:
I still don't know what Moonspawn, the floating fortress, looks like. Is it round like an actual moon? Is it a floating hill or a construct of brick? I don't know where I missed it, but looking for a particular description, if one even exists, within an audio book is all-but impossible. I'm leaning toward the assumption that Erikson mentions it in passing long before it had any relevance to the story, as with most of this book. I think it's too much to ask that I memorize irrelevant details in hopes that they may become important later. How am I to tell what’s important and what isn’t?
In my re-reading while looking for what the heck Moonspawn is, a character mentions, "A sapper named Fiddler took me down" (into the tunnels). Fiddler is a character that is described in some detail MUCH later in part I. How is a reader supposed to reference one un-memorable line, seven chapters ago? In re-reading, I have a frame of reference because now I know who fiddler is, what he looks like, etc. This happened again and again and again with many details. It's like Erikson is writing backward.
Erikson starts his stories as if you already know the characters and the world they live in. There is no context setting and you spend the first third of the book just trying to figure out what is going on and who is who. It is really not until you are half way through the story that you can really follow all of the characters and you begin to see how the story is coming together. You would think that would make for a bad review, but the story is absolutely brilliant. Events follow one after another in an unpredictable but very realistic manner. The world he creates is immense. And as you approach the end of the book you are left to wonder how he could have written such a brilliant story. It’s dark, it’s realistic, it’s funny….it is a great fantasy read!
This series is characterized by superior writing, excellent plot and character building, and consistently exuberant world-building. Ralph Lister performs in a professional manner that extracts simplicity and emotionality from complex story-telling. I sincerely hope Audible releases the remainder of this series that regularly appears on top-ten lists of Fantasy/Sci-Fi series.
The structure of this book make it stop and start from now where. While I have read reviews about this problem I thought it would be something that would prove worth while. It has not been.
I gave this book two attempts. One in normal daily situations, cutting the lawn or going for a walk. That sort of thing. I could not get in to it.
I went camping deep in the hills where I would not be disturbed. Tired and ready for a peaceful night by the fire, I was bored to tears.
choppy - slow
sure. Good narrator.
I have no idea. Maybe have a reading guide to go along with it.
The story is good if you can understand what is going on however it seems to skip around and follows too many characters without piecing them together. All in all if you have the time to listen and re listen to the book a few times it is a good story the reader was very good i have the book in paper form as well and it is also hard to follow.
It was good and it leads you to the next book in the series
he give the characters depth and is very creative with distinguishing each character
it would make a good series but not a movie it has too many different roles and i am unsure who to put in what role.
Fifty something, small business owner, married, no children. Love travel, beaches, tropical isles, classic cars and listening!
I tried, I really did, I'm 4 hours in and have absolutely no clue, I don't know, maybe it's my listening style but I continually reset and listened again. Perhaps it is the narration or my habit of listening in short bursts, I'm totally lost, after 7 days of trying, many resets and no idea of the plot or ability to follow the characters, I finally gave up.
Of course, "your mileage may vary"
I love fantasy, and I like listening to complicated and dry things. Honestly, I found this book kind of a slog, and I can't decide whether I'll tune in for book two.
Interesting, well drawn world. Unique and compelling use of the supernatural. Tons of promise in the relationship between deities and mortals. Potentially interesting story. Really comes alive in the third act, and by the end I completely believed that a lot of the foreshadowing and hinting will bear interesting fruit in future books. A few characters were well drawn and interesting (loved Kruppe, like Tool).
I don't believe the society at all. It feels like an excuse to house various fantasy tropes.
I don't believe the motivations of any of the characters, seen or unseen. The author doesn't seem to know how to write for deep emotions, or how to realistically grow relationships among characters. Sometimes, bam, they're in love. Sometimes, bam, they're angry at each other. Bam, angst that we're supposed to relate to somehow. It's just out of the blue more often than not.
Often, characters simply deduce things they could not possibly know to advance the plot. This could just be me missing things, but I feel like the book doesn't always take the time to explain things when it should. For example, we hear the word "Otataral" as an adjective for several hours before anyone tells us it's a special mineral. Took me forever to figure out that a Jaghut Tyrant was not a Jaghut that happened to be a tyrant. Is a hound bad? What's a finnest? What's a Bridge Burner, and why do I care? What's a Tiste Andii? Could we spend a little time on how warrens work, and what a path is? Things like that. Robs many scenes of drama until you can piece together what's what. Some of this stuff would be easier if you could read what was capitalized.
Writing is sometimes suspect.
On the reader side:
One major problem here. The book shifts from character to character without headings. Instead, there's an extra line between paragraphs marking the end and beginning of a character perspective. The reader does not pause at all at these transitions (in fact, he goes a little faster), and so it's easy to miss them.
Separately, sometimes, I think the reader is unsure of what the character is feeling when it talks. I don't think he pulls off "Sorry" for this reason.
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.
When I first read the blurb for this book I thought it was right up my alley. Epic fantasy, complex plot, large cast of characters, intrigue etc, etc. Unfortunately, the book itself did not live up to expectations.
Indeed, the only reason I stuck with this book to the end was due to the large number of reviews saying that it would be worth it.
I've read and enjoyed titles by Jordan, Martin etc, so don't get me wrong I know a complex storyline when I hear it.
There is no doubt that this book is complicated. At the start we are thrown in head first to, what seems on the face of it, the middle of a story. We are introduced to a large number of characters very quickly. We know nothing of their history, allegiances or motivations. Over time things do settle down a bit and by the middle of the book you feel that you are finally getting to grips with things.
Unfortunately the problem is that things just don't develop from there. The story just seems to drift on with no obvious goal. Various gods and mythical characters make cameo appearances, and at times it just feels they were introduced just for the sake of it.
There seems to be several different magic systems in use, but none of them are ever properly explained ... it just seems to happen.
Another significant problem I have with the book is there isn't really one character that you particularly like. Its always difficult to invest time and effort in a book when you don't really care all that much what happens to the protagonists.
Finally, the narrator really doesn't help the book at all. His interpretation of female voices is just awful and he has a habit of fading away at the end of sentences which makes hearing what he is saying quite difficult.
So, all and all, I won't be continuing with this series.