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.
As always, I was immediately swept away, reveling in the well-developed plot and fascinating characters. It's great to revisit old 'friends' and meet new ones. Thanks for the hours of enjoyment.
For Ralph Lister, absolutely, he's did a great job with a story that was just hard to follow. As far as Erikson...I'm not sure, it would depend on the reviews, this story which I had very high hopes for turned out to just not quite be for me.
I felt like I never quite really connected to the characters until the last 4 or 5 hours of the audiobook. I kept going in hopes that I would get more invested in the story, but it just felt shallow...I felt left out as the reader, like I wasn't pulled in and personally invested in the story.
He did a great job narrating the story, he gave awesome inflection and emotion when the story begged for it. It was a tough read for him though...the story wasn't deep enough to pull the reader in, I feel like he did the best he could with what he had.
I was disappointed. I really wanted to like this series, I just didn't feel like I was able to connect with the characters, they were never humanized.
This series has the grit of Glen Cook, the intrigue of Game of Thrones (GRRM), and a sense of loss as profound as that of a Memory of Light (Robert Jorden/Brandon Sanderson). This book can be a bit heavy for some because the introduction to the world is not the best. However, if you can get past the beginning, you will find a truly memorable series with some of the saddest moments of a book series.
The fatalism of the soldiers. The betrayal at pale.
Overall, Ralph is a great narrator. I've heard a few as I have a large collection of audiobooks in my library. Ralph is definitely one of the better narrators.
Fatalism. Hope. Can one squad of soldiers, against the world, save the very world they are fighting against?
Booya. Actually though, you'll be doing yourself a huge disservice if you pass up this series. I've found my eyes wet when reading only a few books; Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, Memories of Light, Book 15 of the Dresden Files, and this series.
I will not attempt to read any more books in this series.
A book should flow easily. After listening to chapters 1-8 twice, I decided that was enough.
I truly tried but absolutely could not get into this book. I love a good syfi. This book was an unpleasant effort.
Eliminate the too frequent jumps from character to character without a clear break point. Very easy to get lost - to the point of annoyance.
So hard to track.
He did a decent job
Meh...could not finish it.
I would be hard pressed to recommend these books. I feel like even though I am very used to fantasy novels and writers this series requires you to essentially listen and take notes.
Paran I think I mean god know who all the characters are and half of them have similar names. I'm not even sure I know what is going on.
Hire an editor for your next book
I'm a liberal minded person, enjoying philosophical discussion and dilemas. I read about 45% Crime/Thrillers, 45% Fantasy, 10% Other.
One of the best...both for performance and enjoyment, providing you can handle a huge cast of characters, a vast world, and subplot upon subplot. If you are looking for a coffee table 'pick it up, put it down' or a 'sit on the beach, half a sleep' popcorn novel, then steer clear. If you want a thoroughly engrossing complex plot, full of intrigue, where every word counts, resulting in giving your brain a good work out...then this is definitely it! Were the latter to apply to you, then pay no attention to the ratings and reviews on this site. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this site's demographic will not represent the veiws of discerning Fantasy fans, and Steven Erikson is not a household name...therefore, knowing little of what this book contains, a large proportion of those choosing to download it on a whim, would have known little of what to expect. Among hard core Fantasy readers and authors alike, Malazan Book Of The Fallen is a hugely well regarded series, and from this first book alone, I can see why.
The story is multi layered, characters are both intriguing and well developed, and the journey is totally unpredictable. None of your much repeated Fantasy cliches are here, and you never know who to trust...for the most part anyway. For all it's complexity and detail, the action is pretty relentless, although subtle. Several events happen in every chapter, and the story moves swiftly. One this is imperative though, you need to concentrate on every word. If you are distracted by events around you, or in your mind, don't try to read this novel, and if you've already started it, come back when you can devote your attention to it...the concentrateion will pay dividends in the end. For many, Song of Ice & Fire is the best Fantasy series available today. I disagree. George R R Martin's epic tale reads more like a soap opera compared to Malazan Book Of The Fallen. It spent vast overlong chapters revealing relatively little to further the stories. While sex is neither embarrasing for me, nor offensive, Song of Ice and Fire seemed to indicate that the author was obsessed by sex, and it became boring and tiresome. Don't get me wrong, there is much to like about Song Of Ice and Fire, but given the several years we have to wait between novels being released, it hardly seems worth it. Malazan is a completed, ten book series now, and the author did it in a relatively short period of time. To create this masterpiece, so quickly, and without padding out the story out with overused sexual titillation, is commendable.
To read a print book and to listen to a book be read to you, are two entirely different experiences. One allows your own interpretation of character's personalities and voice traits, and will be limited by your imagination and acting ability. Good audiobook narrators are charged with knowing the charaters, usually by reading the book once or twice before recording it, thus knowing all there is to know about a character before applying it's final voice, accent, and personality...something that reading a print book can't do for you. A good narrator will enhance a print book by entertaining you, and allowing your mind to focus more on the plot and dilemas. Ralph Lister is one of the best. He has carefully applied the voice and personality traits to each character, and accurately, given the story that unfolds. He is clear, interesting, and acts the dialogue faultlessly. This makes this hugely complex book far easier to grasp. I will have no hesitation in seeking out other books read by him, and be extremely happy should he turn out to be the reader on future novels I want to read. I have a forum thread running on Amazon's audiobook forums, where I have created a 'league of narrators' and Ralph Lister will be in the top division.
Sorry, don't do spoilers. Once again I say, Audible, give up on this Q&A style of writing reviews...particularly questions about revealing elements of the plot. What's the point of reading a book if you know what's going to happen?
When I obtained this book, it was available as one complete volume. Given the low take up (revealed by the extremely low review count), I am flabbergasted that it is now on offer as a two part, two volume edition, forcing those now to have to give up 2 credits. It is a 26 hour book not a 40 hour book for god's sake. You'll never shift more downloads by making an already low rated book (ratings I totally disagree with by the way...it's a first class read) more expensive!