I think that the story in Ironskin is told very well from a writing standpoint. The prose is very tight and conveys character and their emotions very well. Jane as the point of view character is able to portray the world around her well.
However, while the story is well told, the story itself does suffer at times. It is a very slow developing tale, which is mostly about Jane and her relationship with Dorie and how the two struggle against one another until the end. Jane’s romantic interest in Edward seems borderline shallow, only stemming from the fact that he touched her and that she was starved for someone to make even the most innocuous of contact with her. Since she is fey-cursed, apparently not many people do that. That’s the way I felt anyway.
I’ve seen this book billed as steampunkish in nature, but there really isn’t much of that element to the story. In fact, the steampunk elements were so far and few between, and so glossed over, that they seemed only put in place to make the claim that it could fit into that genre. The aspects of Fey technology was much more predominant.
Towards the end is where those who enjoy a little action with their story will be most satisfied. Without saying too much, I’ll just say that the Fey actually start making an appearance (after a very long wait) and there are a couple good action scenes with Jane battling the Fey Queen.
The story does fall off a cliff at the very end. But, with a 2013 sequel (surprise, surprise) that seems to be the norm for stories these days in an attempt to draw people into the next bit of the story. I would have preferred to have had a little more resolution at the end of Ironskin however.
Overall, a very nice, light fantasy tale that doesn't cookie cutter a lot of what is out there.
The Desert Spear is a good follow-up to The Warded Man, but it isn't of the same caliber. It is a good story, but it drifts away from the story of Arlen, The Warded Man, and focuses too much on other characters. And too many, if you ask me.
This is a come fault I find with much that exists in the genre of Fantasy. The story flows, but what made the first book hum along is missing. Leesha, and Rojer and more front and center and the book rewinds and takes us back into the life of Jardir (who is the main character of this tale).
Everything eventually starts to catch up later on, but it takes a while. The story makes sense, but it doesn't flow well with the first story of the series until later on in the book.
It's worth a read, and a quality story. But, if you like The Warded Man, and The Warded Man in particular, this story has a different focus, so be ready for that.
The Name of the Wind takes a while to get going. And the beginning of the book has little, if anything, to do with what happens in this first installment of the series. It also tends to wander, or should I say meander through the life of Kvothe as he recalls it for posterity.
Normally those things combined kill a story, but The Name of the Wind recovers just at the right times as it seems to head off into somewhere where you don't want to follow and brings you back in.
Of course, being told from the perspective of Kvothe in the future also takes away any sense of fear you might have that any number of bad things which happen to him might mean his demise. So you never really sense that Kvothe is in any real danger.
But, despite all this, the story is better than good. It's great. Warts and all. You read the story to learn how Kvothe came to be an innkeeper, instead of a man who was once feared. That's what keeps you going.
I loved Paolo Bacigalupi's The Alchemist. The story was vibrant and tight. But The Windup Girl was not so much so. The magnificent prose is still there. But the story seems to wander. Everything fits together, but the story is just ... eh.
There seemed like there were so many substories going on, but nothing that was really a main story arc to grab hold of me and keep it together. I found my mind wandering a lot and then having to rewind when I realized that I hadn't been paying attention for 5 minutes.
Not bad. Not great. Just average. Unique, but average.
I don't know what it was about The Black Prism, but for me it really didn't have the umph I look for in a story. Plus, I thought the narration was quite subpar. Was it me or did it seem like Gavin had a surfer dude accent that seemed almost just too unbelievable?
Anyway, I thought that the story, itself, as a whole, had some interesting elements and the magic system was certainly out of the ordinary. I hedge at calling it "unique" because I seem that recall reading stories in the past were light affected the type of magic that was able to be used.
I was almost ready to give up on the story when the author committed, what I feel, is one of the biggest no-no's in storytelling. That is, without giving to much away, learning that one character is not who he seems to be even though we have been inside his head for so much of the story to that point.
But I do think the overall story arc of the story is good. It's just the execution that throws me off from what is going on. This is another one of those stories where you have a bunch of POV characters and, by the end of the first book some are just getting fleshed out enough to make them somewhat interesting and make you care about them. Others are just flat though.
I know, it's a trilogy, but I don't want to be wandering through an entire book wanting to actually care more about the characters and their plight that I am able to. And I know that authors like to give different perspectives on things, thus they throw in a bunch of POV characters, but I tend to like a little more mystery and intrigue and getting to see things through flawed eyes rather than jumping into the head of every character that seems to want to tell their side of the story.
Sometimes these flaws can be overcome by the second book of the trilogy, and I am sure I will give the series another chance, again simply because I think the overall story arc is good from what has been presented so far.
I'm not recommending that people don't read it, only saying that there is much to be desired and you have to be willing to accept that going in.
Mr. Lawrence can obviously write. The vividness of the battle scenes in Prince of Thorns proves that. They are good. But, the problem is that same talent to write is not translated into other parts of the book. Most importantly, character development and plot. This story is very shallow in those departments. It feels like a draft of a complete novel.
For me, it was just lazy dark fantasy. A decent listen for sure, but not some elite (or even great) tale. It barely registered as average thanks to Mr. Lawrence's writing of the aforementioned battle scenes.
But, I stand by my statement that the story itself is lazy. It tries to be grit and gore and no more. Prince Jorg is one dimensional and never developed into the sort of anti-hero that I could root for. The encounters that stand in his way seems like they are only partially serious.
I suggest it if you like a nice, quick dark fantasy listen/read, but know going in that you are going to get a tale that is about blood and Prince Jorg's quest for vengeance with no meat to the bones.
So, we're back and following the continuing adventures of Sonea in this follow-up to Canavan's Black Magician Trilogy. Got it. But the story seems to rely too much on the previous trilogy. Anyone picking this series up without having read it will probably feel lost about exactly why Sonea is feared as a Black Magician. The reader is simply, bluntly, told that she is feared and distrusted and then thrown right into this new tale.
The story, as my title for this review states, is pretty much average. It feels, I am sad to say, like the author understood that she had to fill three (sizable) books for this trilogy and took to that task with eagerness. Unfortunately, the story tends to drag because of the vast amounts of stuff (for lack of a better word) included. It's one big pacing fiasco in my opinion.
The problems really arise from the fact that out of all the POV characters we are treated to (Sonea, her son Lorkin, Ambassador Dannyl, or Cery) none of them have a truly compelling narrative and make a play for the story's lead protagonist. At the same time, this muddles the story's antagonist to the point where, when it ends, leaving us hanging for book two, you really are left wondering who (or what) was the overall force driving the story. There are sub plots galore, and they all seem to be possibly intertwined, but the antagonist is just simply ill-defined.
I also felt like the story was simply flat from start to finish. There really did not seem to be a true rise in the action towards a climax of any significance. And once we were treated to what I guess was the climax, it was short and almost not even a real test for the character(s) involved.
I had been prepared, going in, to read the entire trilogy. Now I am not so sure. I will have to let it sit and stew for a little while and ponder if the slowly developing plot is really something I am interested in moving forward.
I really liked The Warded Man. All of the characters were believable and more fleshed out than you sometimes get in novels these days. The reader actually cares about Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer from a very early point in the story.
The magic system of the world (the use of wards) is also sound and believable, which lends to the strength of the narrative. I’ve read some reviews by people knocking the magic system, but it is obvious that either 1) they did not read far enough into the story to fully understand it or 2) ignored pertinent descriptions as they were given.
The corelings themselves are also very logically and consistently portrayed, even if they seem just a little too dimwitted at times.
The downside of the story is that there is no real mystery as to how things will unfold come the end of the story. As a reader, you know where the story is headed by the half-way point (if not sooner). The only thing that is a slight mystery is exactly what steps will get the characters there.
I think, as far as fantasy goes, The Warded Man is a very good read and worthy of a rating of 3.75 (rounded up to 4 for audible) out of five stars. It’s not quite elite fantasy, but hey, not everything can be. I say it is very much worth your time if you are into fantasy literature. As of right now, the sequels are definitely on my to read list.
I think I liked best that the author did not give us the typical paranormal sci-fi fantasy story where vampires and werewolves command the bulk of the text. Yes, there are vampires. Yes, they are powerful. But they are only a sidebar to the real story being told about Myfanwy Thomas.
I would not have drifted away from Myfanwy's POV randomly like the author did. I think her story was compelling enough to not require it. Also, some of the letters from Myfanwy to herself and designed to impart back story were just droning and seemed out of place if not wholly uncessary. The one concerning the dragon sticks out in my mind as the worst offender of this.Also, while a lot of the abilities the paranormal people had in this book were utterly believable, some of them were just too strange to accept. It made them seem too comical and hard to take seriously as characters who belonged in the story.
The way Susan Duerden ended almost all of the sentences that were not dialogue, with the slightly cadence change to her voice, made a lot of the reading sound like it was being done by Microsoft's Anna voice in a text to speach software. She didn't talk like this in dialogue portions of the narration. Don't ask me why.
Becasue you have to give round numbers of stars on audbile.com, I gave The Rook 3 out of 5 above, but really it is a 3.5 out of 5 star quality book. It's good but not great. It was definately a change of pace from what I have been reading a lot of lately.
The fact that the story continued on without any surprises or unbelievable twists that disrupted what had been previously told in the story.
The most memorable moments are when the heroes are facing off agains the gilarabryn while trying to recover the horn and the final battle duel for control of the human and elven realms
I think Heir of Novron is a fitting conclusion to one of the best fantasy trilogies I have read in a long time. Yes, I still think there were too many different characters used for POV. Yes, I don't think that the "twists" were well disguised and were very predictable. But the fact that it is just a good story over comes these faults.This story is very classical for the genre. I think will be liked by anyone who has a taste for epic high fantasy stories that are fun with lots of action and intrigue.
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