I have been a Heinlein fan for a long time. It is for this reason that I find this work so disappointing. Heinlein was prone to a certain amount of preaching but this book contains little else. I fear the author would have been terribly embarrassed by release of this work. It is clear that the writing was preliminary to several other stories but was not complete in itself. It contains lengthy expositions that are simply wrong and always have been. The work is poorly conceived, having little plot, scant character development and amazingly wrong guesses as to the future. I winced at the descriptions of the futuristic space program. I suppose Heinlein's inclusion of the future use of cigarettes and asbestos is understandable but the entire work seems to contain little besides these archaic bits of guesswork. Of course there are the truly mind numbing lectures on religion, politics, economics, law and sociology. These run for hours as you wait for a story. If you are a fan, skip this one and reread The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress or Stranger In a Strange Land.
The concept of a Djinn interacting with twelfth century crusaders was a fine one. Sadly, the author ran out of steam early in the story and reverted to formula solutions. Having a primary character use a flint lock gun, which he invented and shot for the first time, five hundred years ahead of actual invention was disappointing. The examples of failed history research and inaccurate context were legion.
The narrator regularly mispronounced words and missed sentence meaning. The performance could have been mailed in.
If you enjoy good Sci-Fi and Fantasy, this is not the book, author or narrator you were looking for.
Clearly the writer had a command of the history and technology underlying this story. The read was thoroughly entertaining and gave insight into little discussed yet interesting topics. The book is long with numerous side stories, some of which bear little direct impact on the plot. There was for example, an endearing vignette on the perfect way to consume Captain Crunch cereal that exposed perhaps excessive understanding of obsessive, compulsive character. The portrayal of the key Marine was beautifully done and you would swear you have met this person somewhere else. The history of China and the Philippines during WWII was graphic but portrayed that era in an understandable manner.
This is a fine story with imagination. The plot develops reasonably at first then there is a lengthy period of deep suffering and humiliation that is reminiscent of Tolstoy. I am sure this is a matter of personal taste but I was bored by the lengthy crushing weight of the development of this singular point. Perhaps that is the authors' intention; the hero must undergo this tedious crushing experience. Much like going to law school!
The characters have not developed since the first book. The situations are contrived. The plot thin and slogging. This is a most difficult book to complete. I enjoyed the earlier books but found this to be filled with meaningless tensions and cheerless results.
Not a page turner. This is a book with an agenda. If it had a decent plot line or even a decent character or two, it might be simply boring. This book has a contrived hatred of the Catholic Church coupled with every trite plot element. The author has little command of the history. He has a hatred and he wants to share it. I regret I wasted so much time on this author.
Beautifully written, well performed and quite enjoyable. If you have any interest in the King Arthur legend, it is a must read
If you have had a horrible day and need some fresh horror coupled with mayhem, this is your read. The concepts are fresh, the violence is over the top but the story contains humor and insight. The human condition is well observed. There are always victims and survivors. The characters are believable in their various bizarre contexts and the story is fun.
Nothing in the Audible description suggests this series is written for the ten and under crowd. Yet, the style, pace and content of the book are clearly pointed to a very young audience. Significant portions of this work were devoted to how special it is to have a pony. Portions of the book were dedicated to dealing with bullies. Sadly, the conclusion on bullies is that you beat them bloody and take away their profession. The plot is slow and simplistic. The characters are shallow and predictable. The alternate, pre-technology universe is like every other such fantasy writer's universe only more boring. There is nothing here to recommend that any reader of any age spend their time or money on this book.
Perhaps Freud would have enjoyed this novel as a study in dysfunction. The characters are deeply flawed and their actions evoke either pity or revulsion. The only new plot device in the story involves self centered adepts on drugs and alcohol. Throughout this confused and plodding mix, the author exposes his hatred for the Narnia series and its author. Far from being a contemporary Narnia, this sad work is merely a showcase for the author's angst. Even so, the Magicians moves from its study in depression to a contrived "happy ending" tacked onto the last pages. This appears to be an attempt to commercialize the work and open to the next book. I will not be reading the next book as it is certain to be as shallow and depressing as this one.
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