This book is a turd of diamond. By the end of the first audio segment, I was in a mood to set fire to kittens. by the second, I wanted to massacre every single pro/antagonist myself. Halfway through the third, I swore I'd delete the entire accursed thing from my hard drive. By the end of the last segment, I desperately needed a hug, but feared human contact.
I hated nearly every minute of this book, and yet every time I decided I couldn't bear the spleen-imploding misery of the plot's latest apocalypse, Abercrombie would bash my face in with another epiphany of prosaic genius. This is one of the most gratuitous, disgusting, brilliant, and unique things I've ever read.
If you lack any trace of suicidal tendencies, have friends who will tolerate a massive week-long mood swing, and do not own a particularly flammable kitten, then it may be safe to read this book. I'm pretty sure it's worth it.
It's a bit of an unexplored field here in which O'Brian has chosen to write. I personally like to skip around genres randomly; a little Sci-Fi here, some historical stuff there, maybe some modern military fiction etc. I found this one to be a great choice. The characters here are extremely well developed. No shallowness in sight. Not even in the minor ones. The plot keeps your interest without becoming cheap and predictable. I do see one possible point that could turn sour for some readers: If you aren't one that can stomach vast amounts of technical and strategic details, you may have some trouble with this book. I for one had to go searching the web to find out what the heck a Studding Sail was. Not to mention that keeping the directions straight can be a challenge. (starboard, larboard, lee, windward, port, etc. and that's just for the two sides).
One problem I often experience in certain series is a tiresome feeling that the author has begun to write on a formula, or I begin to predict every twist of the plot. Not so here. I'm still working my way through the books, but the plot continues to develop and move without the sensation that situations are being routinely thrown in, then conveniently popped back to the status quo like old reruns of Star Trek. Unlike the Sci-Fi series, it is reccomended that you take these volumes in order or else you will lose the plotline.
The late, great, Doaglas Adams has created here a wonderful farce of just about everything from conventional assumptions of Sci-fi, to alleged alien sightings, and the dysfunctional workings of modern civilization. This series is a great way to refresh your mind in between being coerced into reading the rot that english teachers celebrate as "Literature". Tolstoy, Shakespeare and Hemingway are tolerable, but the gratuitously nauseating, dismally depressing, and offensive works like "Beloved" and "Typical American", horrifyingly bland works like "The Great Gatsby", and pretty much anything written by Nathaniel Hawthorne can get to a guy after a while.
I seen to have digressed into a rant against my curriculum, but I hope I have made it clear that this five book trilogy is just what the doctor ordered for someone who hasn't laughed enough recently.
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