I have seen this series recommended everywhere and so i thought I might give it a shot.
I completely regret that. I have forced myself through it, because some people have said it gets better, but it really doesn't.
Maybe i'm too used to people like brandon sanderson who build internally consistent worlds and don't rely on the Tolkienesque deus ex-machina school of world building. In this book, everything can happen, everybody is a god, people randomly "shift souls", there are a ton of beings that are multiple millenia old.
The whole world makes no sense, the motivation of the people is completely nonsensical, everybody is magic, but it devolves into a dragon ball z type contest, where the next confrontation is even MORE MAGIC! rinse and repeat.
I'm used to complicated books, I read a ton of fantasy, maybe this isn't a good book as an audiobook (because the narrator constantly sounds out of breath and his constant super emphatic style where everything is super important makes you just annoyed), but I have devoured Anathem by Neal Stephenson as an audiobook and that was far more complex in the topics discussed.
This book on the other hand was basically just magical word salad. And if the character was needed as a plot device in the next chapter a thingamajig kept him alive or not. and then he used a god as a pawn, or not. and then the gods use the mortals as chess pieces except when they don't.
The book is especially bad because I listened to it after words of radiance, which is an absolutely fantastic book.
I am an avid audiobook listener of many genres, and I really like fantasy, but for me, this book needs the "family trees" or a printed cast of characters to reference in order to keep this story flowing. I was confused about names, places, who was "good" and who was not from the first chapter. For that reason, I can't give it a better rating as an audiobook.
***This book requires your full attention!!!*** My husband recommended it to me since I enjoyed the Song of Ice and Fire series so much, but most of my listening is done while driving long distances to work. (I'm talking about 3 hours each way sometimes.) Bad idea. I think I listened to the first 4 hours 3 times and still had trouble following the story and timeline. I ended up reading the book which was much more enjoyable and easy to follow since it had my full attention and it turned out to be a wonderful book. And perhaps I am just more of a visual person when it comes to complex stories of this nature.
I don't always listen to my books, but when I do.. I listen to Audible.
I really enjoyed this book. I am fairly new to audiobooks, and completely new to Erikson. I must say I was more than pleasantly surprised. An interesting world, it takes some getting used too but once your are IN, well, it's hard to get out. The world is hard, gritty and tumultous. The narrator gives a good performance, distinct voices for most major characters. This is the first performance I have been graced with by Lister, and outside of minor quibbles with some pronunciation (likely due to different nationalities) I truly enjoyed his reading. The biggest problem is that there is NOT MORE!! This is the first of many books in a series, and unfortunately the only one on audible.
I want more from this author and this series available on audible. I have to drive/travel a lot for my job, hours at a time and I love to listen to entertaining books that are over 20 hrs. Please add the rest of the series.
I am a lifetime devotee to fantasy and sci-fi and I really wanted to like this. This book had wizards, fighters, thieves, assassins, fair maidens, and various sentient winged creatures. It had plots and plots within conspiracies within plots. It had all of the superficial elements the genre demands but somehow the whole never became any greater than the sum of these parts. There were too many characters and they were introduced too fast without sufficient background to "get to know" them. As a result, I spent the first 1/3 of the book a bit confused and I never fell in love with the characters in the way I have with other fantasy series. The narrator was pretty good but a few characters sounded annoyingly like leprechauns.
It's obvious form the other reviews that plenty of other people enjoyed this book much more than I did,but all in all it just never grew on me.
I tried this book on a whim and was I blown away. It takes a while to get used to the author's style but once I started following the way he writes I really enjoyed it. It has classic heroes and bad guys and people who you don't know what they are, the characters are unique and interesting and the narrator does a good job of putting voices to the characters. I really enjoyed this book.
I don't know how I missed Erikson for all these years, but the Malazan books are without par. In the vein of Cook's Black Company, but so much more. George R.R. Martin lost his way as did Robert Jordan building up tales that became so complex they became lost in their own detail. Not Erikson - these tales are action filled yarns with characters you care about.
Deadhouse Gates is a great introduction to this meaty tale. The naration is top notch.
Take it from a lifelong fantasy geek, these books are a great listen.
One caveat, only three of the 10 books are available and Brilliance Audio does not show book 4 available until December 2013.
A little more explanation of the world upfront. I understand that like a lot of hard sci-fi and fantasy that they just thrust you into the world, but I was more than halfway through the book when I realized some basic tenets of their world.
The performance was really spectacular. There are a ton of characters in this book, yet I felt I recognized each by their voice alone as soon as one spoke. Each character's voice really befit their character as well. I feel this is a good introduction to what may be a great series. My only complaint is that it really takes a while for the story to start making sense. He doesn't give much in the way of explanation of what is occurring in the first half of the book, and uses a lot of fantasy words he makes up for the story. I was utterly clueless about what was going on for the first 12 hours of the audiobook, but I am glad I stuck with it. He does eventually pull all those threads together into an impressive climax, and you are left wanting more. That's good, because now I have 9 books to go!
The in depth pervasive environment, history, well fleshed out characters. It's an epic fantasy realm unlike any other.
The kick-off to a great series!
He is probably one of the better readers I've listened to, perhaps the best. The Malazan books are full of different cultures, characters, languages, etc. and I think the reader does a great job at trying to create different accents, styles of speach, and attitudes for each character.
The first 30+ hour movie!
Why did he give Khalam a nasaly voice?! I am seriously holding this against the reader. I imagine Khalam as almost Khal Drogo-ish type of character and the reader makes him sound like British Milhouse from the simpsons.