Hard to get into at the beginning third, so many characters introduced and his accent is a bit hard to get used to. Once you know the characters and the story takes off it is an amazing book. Take the time to learn about some stuff on a wiki without spoilers and it makes it all the better!
It's a tale that one either cherishes or leaves unfinished due to the inability to fathom the vastness of this Web Erikson's has spun. He does not leave a tale untold and is a big fan of EPIC Convergences of Powers . In this series you won't have cliff hangers, so no ending in the middle of a life or death situation and having to wait until I'll the next book to find out who's going to die. However, every character will play a bigger role in these books; from the leading protagonist and antagonists, to random extras from the background so be sure to keep track of what everyone is doing, even the long winded fools. Otherwise by the times the match has lit the torch, you are left lost in the dust of every the best story ever...do you have what it takes to get your mind BLOWN!
Audiobooks are my workaround to the pesky laws forbidding reading while driving. And I'm pretty sure my dog likes them too.
As a print book, I am convinced this tale is amazing. Or, if I had an attention span that could focus purely on an audio experience, this tale would be phenomenal. But I had the audio book. And my attention is always split at least two ways while I listen. I felt bad about this, until I finished the book and read other reviews (I don't know why I didn't notice these before buying...) and realized I am not alone - and it's not (necessarily) my IQ that is failing.
First, the good:
- Narration. Is. Awesome. I really, really, really enjoyed listening to Ralph Lister. Maybe too much, because I'd kind of drift off with his voice in the background, pleasantly letting my mind wander while his expert performance continued. This can only happen if there is really NOTHING to annoy me about a narrator's voice. He was incredible. I'd cancel Pandora if he and Michael Kramer would just record a duet reading the phonebook. Among my top 5 narrators.
- Magic system! Incredible! Complex! Even that doesn't quite describe my enthusiasm for this imaginative and detailed organization of the magics used in this tale.
- Characters were well-crafted, endearing, had depth and complexity, were often witty without trying to be funny. I became attached to Whiskey-Jack and Captain Perrin and Tattersail (spelling unknown on each, these are what I heard). Their storylines are what kept me listening.
OK, now the not so good:
- Nearly everything that is good, is also somewhat negative, at least for me. The complexity is really this book's greatest strength and greatest weakness. I listen mostly while driving. Or while doing crosswords. Or exercising. Or doing chores. Or while reading other books. I am a serial multi-tasker who hates the television, so I listen to books for my background entertainment. This book is so poorly suited to this role. I had to restart the book 3 times, and rewind innumerable times, to figure out what I had missed (only to sometimes discover I had missed either nothing, or something that happened hours ago and I just had to deal with it). In print, I would be able to focus on these complexities and really enjoy them as they were meant to be enjoyed. But then I'd miss out on the narration ... Choices.
- No matter how much I liked the characters, I have no desire to listen to the next book. None. Usually, in a series, especially an epic one like this, after spending over 25 hours with the characters, I am itching for the next book because I just have to know what their futures hold. I did not feel this way when this book ended. I was actually relieved it was over because concentrating without my mind wandering or focusing on traffic (such a petty distraction) was getting exhausting.
Steven Erikson is clearly a mastermind. One whose intellect and capacity for meticulous detail exceed my everyday abilities. If I go on a long plane ride, or train ride, or suddenly wake up and find myself with inhuman focus, he will get another chance. Possibly sooner. But, for now, he has tested the limits of my attention span and I have failed. He is just too good.
If you are a focused listener who doesn't often flip backward when you read in print, this epic is for you. And I envy your ability to enjoy it in a way I never will.
I loved it even if the start was hard to follow. The names only gave sense when the brilliante narrator spoke their voice. I was hooked and thought a lot about how it would continue the next time i heard it. I was wrong every time.
The person that would enjoy this book is someone that could plot out on paper all the characters and the basic story. You just don't get it from normal reading.
It has not turned me off of the genre, just willing to read more reviews of the books I choose to read in an effort not to make this mistake again.
Not the narrator's fault that I didn't enjoy the book.
The author tries to write too big and misses laying the basic foundation of who is good and who is evil in this story. I truly had no idea who all the hundreds of characters were that I was supposed to follow.
I can't imagine
made the story line comprehensive
he was fine
I love fantasy but couldn't figure out or follow anything that resembled an actural story line. I listened to 15 parts and the first 5 about 4 times. Thought I was losing my mind. and then we have puppet and twin death guy and wizards and who knows what else. I couldn't figure out anything about a connection to anything.
I got through about 3/4 of the book and just couldn't continue. I was told by many the series picks up and gets better in the second book but i just didn't care. I had no interest in the characters or what they were doing. Nothing at any point grabbed my attention. That said some might really enjoy this book and series, its a little slower than i like and has a LOT of characters.
Not at all.
I really wanted to like this series, definitely disappointed.