I read these books a long time ago and audible now gives me the chance to revisit them in my spare time. The story is well written and the narration is suberb. I am currently nearing the end of the "First King" and it is equally as good. In my opinion unabridged is the only way to go. If you like fantasy adventure then The Shannara books are a real treat.
The first two books of this trilogy are well written and full of twists. In fact it is so involved that you wonder how it can all be wrapped up in the final book. Sadly, the ending is a horrible disappointment. There are some things are just left without explanation (i.e. weka dart & Grianne's surge of power). Other wrap up items seemed rushed (Pied). But the worst part was that the ending made no sense and did not feel consistent with the story at all. It's not that you do know what's coming but rather do not understand why the author goes down that road. There is just no lead in to explain it. This book also suffers from making things waaaay too convenient at the end for the good guys. The first two books demonstrate that the evil forces are calculating and intelligent. For it to end the way it did would have required a complete mental meltdown on their parts. The bottom line is that if you have come along for the journey this far, you will wind up reading this trilogy. It's not bad but it just does not live up to the high standard that Terry has set in the past.
I am so glad that this series came to Audible as it has become my new favorite series. The author has a gift for making a 35 hour audiobook seem like it is only 8 hours long. Every word has purpose and meaning and builds the story. What I love about these books (the first two anyway) is that there is a completion to a story line while a new one is left open to develop for the next book. Having this closure in each book is unexpected as many of this genre like to end with a cliff hanger leading you into the next book. Mr. Goodkind just leaves the door open and takes you on a whole new journey with each new book. With many books in a long series I find myself losing that sense of wonder after the first few books. Not so with this series. I did note that several people complained about the narrator. While I respect each person's preference I would urge anyone who is on the fence to give the series a try. While I am not enthralled with the reader, he is not awful and it certainly is not a good enough reason to deprive yourself of some of the best stories ever written. My advice is the same as a classic commercial... Try it, you'll like it!
Someone commented that this book needed better editing. That implies that the story could have been salvaged in some way. Unfortunately the only thing that would have accomplished is to have ended the listeners misery a little sooner. The fact that I had to cough up 2 credits to find this out makes it that much more painful. What is specifically wrong with this book? It is hard to say specifically without giving away plots in the book so I will intentionally be vague. My primary gripe is that the author does not seem to know what he wants to do with this saga. The characters are pulled in all sorts of directions and you do not get the sense that there is a real plan here. Numerous times in the book the author digresses into longwinded explanations and meaningless events. If he were say a Terry Goodkind or Robert Jordan he might be able to pull this off but he clearly is not in their league. Eragon is also not emerging as an interesting character which is pretty bad considering he is supposed to be the hero. He whines more than not and his skill set seems woefully inadequate. Other gripes include the unrealistic way in which events resolve themselves. From normal humans being able to kill hundreds single handedly to being able to put protective wards all around oneself so as to be protected from harm are just two examples of ways the author moves his heroes from challenge to challenge. Don't get me wrong I am grateful for any shortcuts that move this beast of a book along but try to put a little more thought into it. The most disappointing part is the way it ends. The other two books had real stopping points. This one does not. I truly hope the author decides to end this series soon as the world he created while graphically described, is just not that interesting.
I am a fan of the Odd Thomas books and therefore was excited when the book was released. I was a little disappointed in Brother Odd and was hoping for a return to a more supernatural twist with this book. Unfortunately it never quite got there. It starts out fine and moves very quickly but the book merely teases you postponing the payoff for another book (hopefully). I also found the use of psychic magnetism a little too gratuitous in this book. It almost seemed to be done like a super hero power as opposed to super natural power. In fact Odd himself seems transformed from fry cook/tire salesman to a secret agent. I realize that I am being negative and I do not want to imply that the book is a bad read. It certainly is not. There is a lot of action packed into the 8 hours of audio and some interesting uses of Odds powers that will surprise readers. The problem is that I came into the book with a preconceived notion of who and what Odd is and this book left me wondering whether I had been mistaken over the last three books. While I can appreciate an author wanting to take a character in different directions to keep things fresh, I felt the change was too sudden. The unanswered questions at the end of the book should normally leave people hanging at the end of their seats either scared or worried. I felt neither. The only real emotion I had after the last sentence was confusion. In summary, it is a must read for Odd Thomas fans but not the book you will place as your favorite in the series.
I started reading the author's books with the odd thomas series. The book is not horror per se but more like a thriller. While there are definitely elements of the supernatural in the story, the real horror comes from the human characters. I was amazed at how dark and twisted the book could get and yet how uplifting it could be as well. Dog lovers will appreciate the way dogs are worked into the story and the pivotal role they play. What makes Dean's books so popular is the way his story just flows. It seems almost effortless how all the pieces to a puzzle fit in at the end. What I really like is how the tempo keeps going, giving you just enough information at the right time to keep your interest but never enough to put the whole puzzle together until the end. It is the ending that I have a small quibble with. For some reason Dean likes to end things quickly. I think the story would have benefited from a longer ending sequence that culminated in a twist similar to his first odd thomas book. Even so the book was well worth the listening credit and I would highly recommend it.
This series should not even be spoken of in the same sentence as Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. It is truly awful. I have listened to books 1 & 2 and tried to be open minded. I started them originally because I thought I might like to see the movie and the book usually fills in gaps that movies leave open. I knew going in that the book would challenge a Christian's belief structure but figured that it would do so in a tactful way. Not a chance. It flat out calls the church corrupt and immoral but seems fine with having the lead character, Lyra, using lies to accomplish her goals. Still I am not judgmental and can tolerate others beliefs but what I can not abide by is poor writing. This book has it in spades. Ridiculous dialogue between characters that would be fine if the target audience were elementary students but then why would one include graphic violence or expect such a young child to understand the religious references? Such things make the book a hard listen because it truly does not know who it wants its audience to be. It is written in a style for children but wants to convey complex religious ideals. The only real positive is the use of an ensemble cast. This is a great idea for other audiobooks but is unfortunately not enough to salvage this one.
I enjoyed the first two books of this series. They told a story and kept the listener captivated with twists and turns. This book should never have been written. It is more of an indulgence to the writer than a treat for the listener. Why do I say this? Primarily because there is not much action nor does it advance the story. It is basically a side story that could have been done in a chapter or two and did not need an entire novel. Since I do not want to give away the story I cannot go into much detail other than to point out that the only purpose for this book is to give you background on the Aurenfaie. This book also ramps up the gay love affair between Seregil and Alec. If you had a problem with this in the previous books then you will will definitely not be able to handle this. I personally do not care about this as long as the story is good. Unfortuantely it was not. An hour or two of backstory is fine but Bilairy's codpiece not 20 hours! Sorry I just needed to work that phrase in somewhere. I am hoping that my time spent listening to this was not wasted and I will be rewarded in some way with the fourth book. The author is clearly gifted and can spin a good tale but needs to remember that people pay money for this and expect more than just character development.
The reviews are a bit misleading. I can see why some of the comments are made but do not agree with them. The narrator does try to take on the personas of the characters with her voice, it is NOT simply read. For example she hisses when speaking like one of the snake people and adopts a lower voice when being hawkgril. The problem is that she is just not that good. She is not horrible, just not good. As for the story, it will take you a good hour to two hours to get into the story. It does jump around a lot at first but in the second part of the download it starts to steady. There are still some things you do not understand but I am assuming they will be explained in the next three books. At first the characters seem lame but they do redeem themselves as the story goes forward. The problem with both the characters and the narration is that the book jumps to flashbacks in the middle of a story and then back again. You figure it out after a few moments but it is annoying. Another item which I hope is eliminated in the future books is that one chapter contains multiple story lines which go back and forth, some of which are only a few sentences in length. That is probably what the other reviewers meant by "hard to follow". The fact is that there is not much in the way of unabridged series in the fantasy section and this is better than most. Therefore, I would recommend buying it if you have already listened to the Robert Jordan and Terry Brooks stuff.
I read this trilogy many years ago and was thankful that there was an unabridged version on audible that allowed me to revisit the Shannara stories. The Wishsong is clearly the darkest of the trilogy and the best written. Contrary to an earlier reviewers comments, this is NOT a LOTR knockoff. If someone writes a book that has a shark kill someone does that mean its a JAWS ripoff? Of course not. It's a fantasy book. There is going to be a good and evil character in it. Deal with it. Terry Brooks is an excellent writer and storyteller and the world he creates is dark yet full of hope. I also found the pace to be much quicker in this book then the other two and much less predictable to figure out who was going to die and what was going to happen. As for the narration, Scott Brick is the MAN! Anyone who thinks otherwise has obviously never heard Charles Keating butcher these novels. For those who venture into the Shannara realm you will be rewarded with some of the best storytelling of our time. Treat yourself and make sure you get the "unabridged" edition so you don't miss a beat.
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