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.
I love a good story, especially one with a bit of a dark side.
I guess I am in the minority here. I just never felt invested in any of the characters enough to care what happened to them. I listened to 16 hours of it but just found myself daydreaming too often. The writing is fairly good, but the plot is too buried for my liking, if there is one. The story begins from too many distant strains and just never seemed to really merge. I'm sure they end up together, but I just never could get into it.
I'm 24 hours into it and still don't know what's going on or why and I don't care about any character or plot line. People die but are still alive. Wounded but healed but wounded but sort of healed miraculously or sometimes not. Big and mean but impotent. Small and fragile but impotent. But sometimes not. Everyone is against everyone else, or not, sometimes. Yeah, it's like that. There isn't any focus. The writing jumps from one seemingly irrelevant place to another relevant place with no known relevance.
Lister has an incredible array of voices and moves easily from one to another. He is a great reader.
I'm done with this series.
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.
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.
As is the case with many fantasy books there is a period of confusion and world building at the start but once you get rolling with the main two groups of characters it really picks up and will have you guessing what will happen next.
This is better than Wheel of Time, Harry Dresden, or Game of Thrones. Solid character development, very tight story, great interleaving of clots. It's a wonderful first book. I hope they're all this good and it looks like they are. My new favorite series. This is a D and D lovers heaven. I greatly appreciate the magic and countermeasures for the militarized magic
Probably easier to read than listen to because of the complexities of character names and number of strange story lines but for someone who listens to 500 plus hours of audio books every year thus is one of the few I need to drop from my device and just move on. I gave it 6 hours before giving up wishing I could get a refund.