Abercrombie seems to have run out of ideas after a terrific start with the First Law trilogy. Now we just get a series of relatively straight forward stories that seem to go nowhere and give us no new insight into the greater picture of the land, it's people and politics.
Abercrombie needs to return to the style of the First Law: expansive, in depth, political, twists and turns and some real good surprises, not to mention a little magic and the sting in the tail ending.
This book like the Heroes and Cold Blood seem to be a platform for venting his liking of uninhibited violence, mutilation and general antithesis of mainstream fantasy. It would be more palatable if put in a greater context which is seriously lacking here.
This is probably the last book I'll listen to from this author even though Pacey really makes it shine as he did for the rest. If the next book is a mostly a cut and paste of the others with a change of characters and slightly modified plot line, then I'm afraid Joe has lost a listener.
This review covers the trilogy as each book in quality and content is about the same, so if you're going to listen to the first book you may as well listen to them all as they are consistent throughout.
I like Friedman for the darkness she portrays in the human soul. This series is one along the lines of "soul sucking vampire" types as her excellent Coldfire series was. This series however doesn't quite reach the heights of that one.
The problem I have with this series is that there are too many central characters for development and thus each is lacking something despite their importance to the storyline. In particular, the main character, Kamala has significant gaps in her story and in some places her story lines end quite abruptly and unsatisfyingly. The feeling of "loose ends" is evident in a number of places. One gets the feeling she isn't fleshed out enough.
Despite this, the story ideas are solid and overall it's a good series to listen to if you are a fantasy fan. Had this series been longer to allow full development of the characters it would have scored 5's across the board.
The narration was good although with an even mix of male and female roles it may have been better done by a man and woman as Elisabeth did struggle on some of the male voices.
This is worth a listen to as there are some great ideas and concepts with a solid story line and telling of it.
This offering from Dan Simmons is more of a horror thriller than a strictly sci-fi genre book. Ordinarily I wouldn't have listened to this book, but having recently listened to the Hyperion series I decided on the strength of the storyline to give it a go. Needless to say I wasn't disappointed, despite the lack of "sci-finess" (or fantasy) which I usually look for.
This is a long book and understanding Simmons penchant for long and involved descriptions, almost rambling sometimes, he still builds a wonderful and gripping story that begs you to listen to the next chapter.
Simmons provides an interesting twist on the vampire theme now so common in print and video and with this being written almost 25 years ago, the variation is quite unique. In addition he skillfully blends in historical events and presents questions of morality that help to build the depth of the main characters in the book.
The bad characters are so horrible, they are almost likeable. They do the bad things you expect and the good guys are presented with situations that question their ethics and morality. Questions that still very relevant in today's society.
The narrators do an excellent job. The point of view swaps between first and third person depending on the character, but is consistent and works well as intended by the author.
The book and historical material is deep, insightful and well researched, giving great support to the overall premise of the storyline. If you wear a tin-foil hat you might almost believe it!
Overall a great book and worth the time to listen to a great yarn from an outstanding author.
As Sanderson's first publicly released book, Elantris is a good effort. Although the actual style is a little immature, he shows the promise of a great storyteller that is eventually delivered in subsequent novels (and his completion of Jordan's epic series).
If you haven't yet listened to a Sanderson book, this is a good start, but don't be put off by the style and dismiss his other works. They really are a cut above this one and it's nice to see the author's development in writing.
This book displays a lot of classical themes. The outcast hero suffering the trials of an unwanted person, a corruptly led society on the brink of disaster ripe for the picking, deception, betrayal, revenge, questions of faith and responsibility and of course the beautiful, intelligent princess that is a central character to the whole story.
Sanderson's Elantris starts off slow and builds like a tsunami to an inevitable climax with some nice twists along the way. Some of them are predictable and others enlightening, but on the whole he completes the book as he does with his other works by making sure all the loose ends are tied up.
Overall a good work, with a good narration.
Having not read the trilogy that this preceeds, nor any of Friedman's works, I recommend a listen to this short piece to get a feel for the writer's style, the world he builds and quality of narration.
Dominion is a hook, and if you like the taste of the bait, you'll be immersed on the world of Erna before you know it.
I very much enjoyed listening to this and am now listening to the Coldfire trilogy and enjoying it, partly from having listened to this short book as it provides a little more background to help one understand the trilogy better. It's fairly much a prologue, but not necessary to the main work.
Another good book in the Mistborn series by Sanderson. Excellent narration by Michael Kramer helps to bring the characters to life (although I felt he had trouble with the half cockney, half Aussie accent of Wayne, but it was entertaining in any case).
Whilst this novel is fundamentally a detective work and not my usual cup of tea, I did enjoy it tremendously. It's some few centuries on from the fall of the Final Empire: we have guns, trains, electricity, horseless carriages (well, I never!!!!) and new fangled machines.
It's all reminiscent of 19th century England or North America as you so desire to envisage. Sanderson provides a great setting and a well thought out plot. The characters aren't as powerful or versatile as the old true Mistborns, but within that constraint there's a lot of intricate and detailed use of the skills they have available which makes for interesting visualisations of how they achieve things. It's different, but still similar enough to what came before to keep it interesting.
There are still some ties to the distant past giving a feeling of familiarity so one is totally disassociated from the original trilogy.
I fervently hope that Sanderson follows this novel up to get on with the unfinished business and tie up the loose ends that the end of the book leaves us at. There is certainly a full novel worth of material to do so.
In short, if you're a fan of Sanderson and this genre, you'll like this book. I highly recommend it.
The Heroes is once again a very well written book and supported by the excellent narration from Steven Pacey. I rate this book above Best Served Cold (BSC) as it gets back to the meat and potatoes of his world and gives us a further insight into the large scheme.
If you like the general Abercrombie style: raw, bloody, full of human failings and no real happy endings you'll like this book. His style cuts closer to the real world than one expects, but has a whole lot more entertainment and is bolder to boot.
There aren't any real surprises in this book, much as Best Served Cold, but it has the usual excellent character development, lots of bloody action, remarkably little sex (he's getting better at it ;) ) and some nice twists in the plot. More so than BSC but a lot less than his First Law trilogy.
This is where I feel that Abercrombie is falling down. Yes the individual books are good, a nice diversion, but frankly he's set such a high bar with First Law that the following novels just don't match the majesty of the trilogy. An individual novel just doesn't give the room to expand grand ideas and create marvelous intricate plots.
This book, much more so than the last at least gives more in the way of the trilogy, but it still pales by comparison. We get reacquainted with some old characters, but essentially we don't know much more about his world nearly a decade on.
Frankly, I'd like to see his talent put back into a First Law effort. This is what he is best at.
This is a good book, but in context of the world he has created, just a little slice of the pie to keep you going.
I seriously wanted to enjoy this, but a number of hours into the first book I had to put it down. Firstly the narrator is incapable of varying his voice beyond a monotone, provide any sense of engagement in the story line or make the characters sound different enough that you aren't left guessing who is talking at the time. When you've come from listening to Stephen Pacey you'll understand.
This really killed it for me.
Secondly, I find Martin's writing style to be verging on the childish. Character thoughts and actions don't string together well. Stupidly unnecessary sexual references and a distinct lack of real connection to some characters makes it very difficult to feel involved in the story line. There is so much chopping changing from one scene/characters to the next, I felt totally confused.
Fortunately, this excellent plot series is rescued by the screen drama, which despite losing some of the detail makes the whole series very enjoyable. This book is like a draft for a television drama. Tortuous to read or listen to, but with creative guidance it makes for top viewing.
I certainly won't be listening to anything further by Martin or anything narrated by Dotrice, but I'll gladly buy the GoT series on DVD.
My recommendation: skip the book, watch the series.
This sequel to Hyperion neatly wraps up the adventures of our intrepid pilgrims as they face up to the future unknown being deposited at their feet, willing or not. Simmons keeps the listener glued to the book as the story unfolds and all the threads come together in a brilliant climax.
Definitely one of my best in a long history of science fiction reading. Characters with enormous development, technology and time shifts to spin the mind and a brilliant story to bind it all make this a "cannot press pause or stop" book.
Hyperion leaves you on the edge, thirsting for more. The Fall of Hyperion drowns you in the scale and breadth of the sequel.
A brilliant book with brilliant narration make this a modern day classic equal of the best in any genre.
Brilliant finish to a gripping trilogy. Sanderson weaves a subtle and intricate plot, always keeping the listener guessing. Indepth character development really bring the people in the story to life and the descriptions of the impact metals have upon the world from the ordinary misting right through to the omniscient gods bring a whole new dimension to the world.
Sanderson brings the right level of detail without becoming boring or long winded or skimping on something that is essential to the story.
If you like a good "can't put it down" sort of book in this genre, this trilogy and especially, this final book is the one for you.
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