Wow! Awful, awful, awful narration. To Hatchett Audio: whomever made the decision to put this yahoo narrator on this book should be fired. This guy actually got paid to do this narration? If I were Brent Weeks I'd be seriously upset. The narrator absolutely ruined the book. A surfer dude magician? You gotta be kidding me! I will listen to the audio samples from now on. I'm really sorry I didn't prior to downloading this one.
As others have stated, the writing is a bit sophomoric in places, but it could have been salvaged with a decent narrator.
One of only two books I have failed to finish after over 100 titles. You have been warned. Nuff said.
Here's the stick that broke the camel's back...When the main characters dog called a 2000 plus year old enemy an, "Epic douche." Then went on to tell his owner to, "Testify." Are you kidding me? That's just, well, stupid. It is an adolescent and childish statement that takes 100% of the believability out of the story. What little it had anyway.
I get that kids today talk in a certain way. Heck, I talk that way sometimes. However, the melding of fantasy with contemporary speech just does not work.
The main character makes jokes in the face of death. You want to take believability out of a story? Just make your characters crack jokes as they are about to get into a life of death struggle.
Lastly, the author needs to research what cops and detectives actually do and say, because there are several chapters in the book that are rediculous. I'd say he has a problem with the police in general and used his book to invent an embarrassing situation for law enforcement.
This was quite simply the most enjoyable book I have heard since becoming a member of Audible. After listening to over 100 titles, this is the only one that I felt compelled to buy (in hardcover no less) after hearing it. It is also the only one I have listened to twice. It is the only book I have raved to my friends about and told them to listen to the first few chapters. Sells them every time. I am normally a closet audible listener.
Simply amazing story. Yes, there is a lot of build up in some of the plot lines, but it never goes flat. The action sequences are the best I have ever read. THIS is why I love fantasy! Big battles, big heros, big swords, valor, magic, and just pure "bad-ass-ness." Awesome! Lots of books claim to be epic in scope. This book delivers. The opening and closing chapters alone are worth the price. The book fires on all cylinders. I found myself listening to some passages, two, three or even four times, because they made such an impression. Way of Kings has what I always wished The Lord of the Rings to have. WoK doesn't nibble around the edges and hint at powerful beings and magic. It serves them up on a big platter and blows you away!
This would make such a great big budget movie or series. Actually it would have to be a series to cover all of the material.
Narration: Michael Kramer's deadpan delivery is perfect for the book. Kate Reading does a fine job as well.
I don't want to give anything away, so I'll end here.
Bottom line: If you don't like this, then you don't like fantasy!
This book is the story of a collection of characters with massive egos whose biggest concern seems to be engaging in verbal one-upmanship with whomever they happen to be speaking with. This is such a prominent character tendency (flaw) as to make the book unreadable.
This is especially true of the women in the series. They are all way to much, "I am woman, hear me roar!" Not just one or two mind you, but darn near every one, antagonist and protagonist alike. It's enough to drive you crazy. I can appreciate a strong female character. Look at nearly all of the female characters in Sanderson's The Way of Kings. They are strong, and they manage to have civil conversations with others without getting completely worked up over every cotton picking little thing.
No one gets along in Jordan's universe. I mean NO ONE! Even if they are on the same side, they can't have a single conversation without gritting their teeth, tensing their jaw, coldly staring or just flat out screaming at the other person and storming away. It seems at times that every character feels that they should be worshiped. How dare "so and so" talk to them in that way!
It is strongly implied that the protagonists are the most powerful, wise and intelligent warriors and magicians that the world has ever seen. At the very least, it is reinforced, time and time again that they are are uniquely qualified to save the world. Yet they can't put their petty squabbles away long enough to work together to save the entirety of mankind. These people are supposed to be HEROES!
Such a shame because the world and concept that Jordan created is very deep and detailed. Too bad the characters, with a few exceptions are arrogant jerks.
I know real people like this. They are not happy and they are very hard to be around. I don't like hanging around real jerks. I surely don't want to waste my time reading about a bunch of fictional ones. Flame away Jordan fans...
Martin does a good job filling out the characters and the world he has created. I must say though that I did not like the narration. Why?
1. He gives many of the upper crust characters "cockney" accents. I'm sorry, maybe its just me, but a knight just should not sound like that. A whore, yeah that makes sense, but a knight? Com'on!
2. Several of the characters have such over the top accents that it's laughable. You know that British butler accent? Well two prominent characters have that. Ridiculous! It doesn't end there. There is also a character with a bad French accent. On top of all this he decided to give a couple of the characters pirate accents! That would be okay if they were sea captains or sailors, but they are not. They're just normal characters. Its like he randomly assigned how each character should sound with no regard to where they fall in the social pecking order.
3. Lastly, too many of the characters sound like they're old. The reason for this isn't so much because of the sound of his voice as much as it is the wierd "old person" accent he gives most of the characters. There was several times he made teenagers sound like old men or women and it isnt until several paragraphs later that you find out that the person is only supposed to be 13 years old.
I really can't believe that more people are not turned off by the narration. Just because the guy acts out all the characters doesn't make him a good narrator. The voices need to fit the story and too many times they just don't.
I like the story, so I am gong to get the next one in the series, but I really wish it had a different narrator.
As a longtime reader of fantasy novels, I understand that the first book in a series is many times a bit slower paced than the later books. The author has to paint the picture of an entire world and the characters and things within it. This book however was a bit of a yawner. Williams is a tallented writer as far as describing things in the universe that he has created, but he falls far far short on character development.
There are four main story lines in the book, with most of the book concentrating on the two most uninteresting characters in the story. A spoiled prince and princess. There is a pretty good storyline about a mysterious orphan boy and a dwarf (for lack of a better word). I'd like to fiind out what happens to them. I never will though, because after thirty plus hours of listening, I don't think I could take another book with the same boring characters.
You can have an interesting story and universe, but if you don't fill it with interesting characters, characters that readers will care about, then you just have a long boring slog to the end.
The narrator does a fine job on the book. He gives the characters very definable voices and livens things up. But try as he might, this book still falls short on several different levels.
Favorite authors lately: Robin Hobb, Jim Butcher, Guy Gavriel Kay. If you are a fan of these three authors I reccomend you stay away from this one.
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