Well done. Rather documentary in style. For as much piratical villainy as is covered in this narrative, the prose is fairly sterile and the reading lacks the swarthy luster one might associate with a tale of such swashbuckling.
I can't believe this book has gotten such high reviews. Cristofer Jean does a terrible reading (sorry, CJ) and sounds like an un-enthusiastic surfer dude. Even aside from that, the story is lame, the characters are cheesy, and the mechanics of magic are silly (like Weeks is striving for some Brandon Sanderson world of complexity and doesn't really get it). I really wanted to like this book. I rely heavily on reader reviews and feel baffled and betrayed by how far from my own experience this book's ratings are.
If you like Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, Bernard Cronwell (as I do), this may not be your bag.
If you like Joe Abercrombie and have read his other works, you'll love that this one continues in grand style with his masterful formula for gritty, flawed characters, in a rich and nuanced world, getting down to dirty, bloody, tough business. There are some surprises and great depth to his story.If you haven't read Joe, go back and start with his First Law series, then read the prior books in this series. They're all so brilliant, I can't get enough.
This book is trying to be something like the Lies of Locke Lamora but it is a weak execution diluted by simplistic plot contrivances and shallow character development dropped into thinly imagined world. It lacks grit, substance, and elegance. I wanted to like it but it just never got down to business.
This book is for high school D&D players who've discovered the drow elf character for the first time and get a thrill out of the idea of an "evil" society. It's silly and full of characters running around calling themselves "evil" and getting a real kick out of how that feels. It doesn't make sense. The world is a 2 dimensional sham that I couldn't quite finish. The high ratings on this book must be from readers who have already read other Drizzt books and liked them.
You must first read Lies of Locke Lamora (the first in this series by Scott Lynch). If you loved that, you will love this. I did. I feel like this story may have been forced a little too hard to twist a thief story into a pirate adventure - as if Scott thought, I've got these great characters that I want to write another book about but I'm in a real pirate adventure mood at the moment, so I'll just come up with a way to work that in. That being said, Lynch's writing is so damned good that he must be forgiven his plot acrobatics because it is such a great read/listen. Michael Page's narration is spot-on perfect. Thank you, both, for bring Locke Lamora and his world into ours.
Clever, gritty, dark, wonderful character development, and rich setting. This feels like Joe Abercrombie wrote a thief novel - and narration is absolutely top notch. I've read a lot fantasy, medieval, and thief stories and this is so far above anything else, there's just no comparison. The characters carry deep baggage and the sort of human flaws that make them feel realistic without tarnishing your love of them. The setting is a rich world with its own culture, nuance, and unique elements that are brought to life organically through the characters' interaction instead of tedious description.
Overall, really good. I had some trouble following the timeline because there is so much skipping back and forth between current time and 4 years ago from chapter to chapter. I still have some trouble with the young age of the character being so unstoppably dominant over everyone else in this story but I can usually allow that to slip out of mind and just enjoy the action. Dark, bloody, good action, interesting twists, excellent narration voice.
If I boil the whole plot down to its bones, I start to feel like I'm missing some major elements and struggle with the motivations of the antagonists that really drive this whole engine. However, it's so well written, and the world it's set in is so cunningly explained that I am able to forget about some of those hang ups and really enjoy this book. The cultures, religion, mystique, and characters are well done. Good long book, too - really gives one their credit's worth.
Written in such an old, classic literature style that the pedantic lethargy with which the plot moves left it feeling like a chore to me to endure in parts. The reading couldn't have been better - Homewood's got a great voice for this epic and exotic tale. And even the plot is full of tension and drama and revenge. But the convoluted prose Dumas employs in his descriptions often rob the reader of suspense and charm. I know part of the problem is me and my impatient brain which is unschooled in the enjoyment of classic literature and seeks the more immediate gratification of modern fiction. In the end, I'm glad I made it through and found myself appreciating the characters and the Count's fine exploits but I know I'd have never made it through a paper version of this. Thank you, Bill Homewood, for getting me through so that I could savor some of the fine moments threaded into this complex weave.
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