boring book, forgettable characters no real world building , and an extremely lazy weird mash up of Christianity and the zodiac? he talks about Jesus Christ and multiple references to real Christian beliefs but no real explanation of what's actually going on, is this earth? no? maybe? who the hell knows. pretty lame magic system as well, they travel to rooms in their minds and then proceed work vague references of power without describing what it is. also I felt there was a real lack of descriptions for the monsters in the first 3/4 of the books. in short this book was a chore to read. stay away.
This is a fantasy novel which was hard for me to finish. Although I listen to a lot of SF and Fantasy, I usually find that good writing in the latter category is hard to come by. I've found that most of the posted reviews I which rave about this or that fanatasy novel are not to be trusted. Because when I try most of these highly rated books, they give me literary indigestion. Most are just awful...poorly written rehashes of hackneyed themes which were, in most cases, handled a lot better by earlier writers. Still, I keep trying them out, looking for the few that might just be gems. And, I've found a few...a few.
The Red Knight is an example of another disappointment. In some parts, near the beginning, it even showed flashes of the start of something really good...the single reason I gave it more than 1 star. But, the flash dies off quickly, each time, and the reader is forced to continue to trudge on along the book's prosaic path to its mundane conclusion. I guess this kind of over worn, comic book, style of writing appeals to a lot of readers, like the ones who rate unimaginative, poorly written fantasies with 5 stars. But, for me, its just another "fantasy" novel I wasted my time with.
I'm a pretty picky in my criticism of audiobooks. I demand three dimensional characters, a good plot, good writing and of course an above average narrator to tie it all together.
While Red Knight showed promise in many of these areas, I don't like having to pay a "price"
or "premium" of "getting through the first 10 hours" to appreciate a story. I demand to be ensconced in the story throughout most of the book.
The narration was probably the best part of this fantasy story. The battle scenes were done well, but after a while, I kept asking myself whether I cared if the bad guys just killed everyone. Unfortunately, my answer was...No, I don't care.
I'm a teacher and a 30 year reader of genre fiction. Urban and Epic fantasy are my main jams.
This book is a mess. Yes, the author can describe in painful detail every piece of armor that a medieval knight would wear. Yes, he can tell you the order these things are placed on the body and how it takes squires to get them on and off. Yes, he can describe weapons down to the length of the butt spike on an axe. Can he tell a story that's interesting and doesn't sound like a ren-faire worker's D&D campaign? No. This book is lazy and it's incredibly insulting to people who want to read quality fantasy.
Things this book is missing:
1) Its own theology/Gods. One of the things that makes a great fantasy novel, should it deign to talk about its theology, is a solid pantheon of gods or at least a religious system. GRRM has it in the Seven, Pat Rothfuss does it with Tehlu and all his angels, but this guy just slaps Jesus on it, mixes in a little allegory for paganism and calls it done. If you want to write about a world grounded in Christianity, then write historical fiction. Have the balls to set your story in medieval Europe and do as much research there as you did on arming coats and hauberks.
2) Original names. The queen's name is Desiderata. Come on. Did you pull that off the inspirational poster hanging in your study? Willful Murder? Come on. Did you realize "Black Dow" was taken? Maybe you could have had a ranger named Smizzt. Every other character sounds like your SCA friends (google the Society for Creative Anachronism) gave you their persona names or their D&D character names.
3) Real Worldbulding. This was the deal breaker for me. There's no real sense of place. Nothing is important, there are no footholds to make me feel like this is a world that's been lived in. This started with having Christianity and the freaking Zodiac mixed in. How hard is it to come up with your own Gods and arcane symbology? It comes off as supremely lazy.
This novel reads like its something REALLY AWESOME your buddy from the comic shop had been working on as his blog. I could see tattered xeroxes of a this passed reverently among fighters at an SCA event as something Sir So-and-So wrote and is getting PUBLISHED, did you hear! Ugh. I'm pissed that I wasted an audible credit. Just gross and lazy.
This military fantasy has the potential to be an epic fantasy series. No ground was broken in this story--pretty straight forward battle of opposing forces (one nominally "good" and the other nominally "evil"--yet those lines are certainly in question in the book and likely developed further in the series). The story set up enough convolution between the characters' backgrounds, the magical system, and the main conflict that I could see an interesting series developing out of this mostly run-of-the-mill first book.
In short: the characters were engaging; the motivations, setting, and plot all interesting.
This was a good "pass the time" book for me. I'm not dying waiting for the next book in the series, but I will very likely read it.
The character development was great and i will be looking forward to the next book. For me the strange part was the use of the Catholic Church / Jesus along side demons. Not a big distraction and will still look for next book..
The book and premise are good although is some parts it kind of hard to keep track of who their talking about at any given time. The premise is quite different from most epic fantasy books I have been use to. I'm Jordan, Sanderson fan. There are a few more but you get the idea.
Mostly use audio books in planes these days. Know I really like a book when I find myself with earphones still on from home to hotel
Very tough to get into. The author switches from 2-3 dozen points of view randomly as the book starts. Sometimes from the "hero's" point and then to the villain and then on to a random village with a caged bear from the "wild" where you hear the events described from different points of view including the bear's view. Some of these switches are only a few sentences long. Many may be the one and only time that anything is told from that point of view.
Despite the "I want this made into a movie" style of writing, the core storyline is not too bad. Typical quasi good vs quasi bad bad guys plot. You're well past 8 hours before you begin to pull out an overaching storyline. Up to that point it feels like you're just listening to random scenes. The 2nd half of the book (about 15 hrs) is basically a series of battles at different places and points of view.
Debating whether to get the 2nd book. It if picked up in a similar fashion as the way book 1 ended, that would be OK. If it repeats the way the 1st one started, ugh.
The sheer fearful and down right scary aspect of the "Wild" and it's unending hoard of monsters.
That very VERY creepy and self absorbed a-hole of a knight burning down the Inn. Boy, I can't wait till he gets killed by the Red Knight!
All were fine, and well done. No harsh or strained voices. a very good reader.
When the ex-wench was knighted. I got all misty eyed. a great, unexpected, and very warm moment. This shows, while writing gore and horror, the author remembers to write a tale with heart, and love.
A great huge epic of a tale, about heroic knights fighting against seemingly unstoppable and horrific army of hideous monsters. This had creatures you could find in a science fiction or a horror story, yet it held tightly to it's fantasy genre by the author's knowledge of medieval weaponry, armor, and warfare. Very well done!