Imaginative and interesting premise. BIGtime. Heavy handed and slightly ponderous on the execution end. Ditto on the narration. The author was DEFinitely exploring a theme of: "the responsibilities of a ruler to the people".
I wasn't sure what to do with the first book (somewhat misdirected expectations, a la other reader's reviews). The second book came via a sale...so I read it. Wow. Not mind boggling, just very nice. I KNEW where to put it now (in my mind): An Entertaining Read. By the time I finished book 3, I must admit to a bit of disappointment that book 4 is not out YET. LOL. This series is Very Nice and Quite Enjoyable...like a cup of very good, strong dark coffee (or, I guess "tea" would be more appropriate). Nothing over-the-top, but still QUITE hilarious. AND, nicely subtle. Police procedure is followed, witticisms flow and fantastical details... accumulate in a British sort of way....
Once I opened my mind to the reality that this series is not really like Terry Pratchett's Discworld series and/or the Harry Potter stories (albeit an adult version).... I was able to see the story for what it is: very witty, very nice and (in my humble opinion)... well written. I'd read too many reviews and, unfortunately, that colored my perception. Don't get me wrong...that IS what made me pick up this series in the first place. I never would have given the books a second glance otherwise. Ironic, eh? There are common threads...but only in an overall, generalized sort of way. British humor for one and an apprentice learning magical skills. That's (roughly) about it. This series has a unique identity and that's awesome :) I'm glad I picked up book #2 in a sale. BTW: Book #2 (Moon Over Soho), is a tad different from Book #1 (Midnight Riot)... Have you ever heard the classic line by an actor/actress: I'll do nude but only if it's relevant to the story line...? THAT applies here. There is nudity and sexuality but it is not over done and does not linger for a page-after-page-after-page sort of nonsense ...just to be sensational, etc. There's actually a reason for it. Anyway. This book is very witty, the characters are allowed to grow, police procedures are followed and there is entertainment to be had. Enjoy. I did. That is one thing that this series really does have in common with Terry Pratchett...it makes me laugh a LOT. LOL.
The Pratchet/Python mentions in other reviews drew me in. This book is DEFinitely none of that (over the top extreme craziness), ...but it is VERY witty in a dry, understated way. Very Nice, if you like that sort of humor. The tale DOES travel across magical spaces and into mythological places... but not in a flamboyant sort of way. Low key and Understated are very good words for this tale. Interesting. Unusual. Entertaining. Ok. Very thorough in the police procedural sort of department. Not sure how I feel about it actually. Very real world for all the fantastical slant (and NOT in a "reality TV" sort of way :) LOL. There is a "quality" to the story and that's a fact. Anyway. I'm not a professional critic. I'm an artist who like a book with LOTS of imagination. Form your own opinion. Book 2 was on sale and I picked it up, but I think I'll take a little break in between.
Interesting. Entertaining. Enjoyable. Reminds me of old-school sci-fi sort of thinking... why, how, etc. (re:mankind). Reminiscent of the "golden age of sci-fi" sort of thinking... but from a modern perspective. Some VERY interesting thoughts included within the premise :) Note: The author likes to be in control of the story and tends to hold some things back in order to surprise you...but he doesn't keep you in suspense about it for tooooo long. I'd rather be a part of the story rather than an audience member but that's a teeney thing really. Don't know if I'll be looking up more from the author... but I DID enjoy this ride. It didn't wow me, but it was very nice. The story wasn't what I expected... even when deeply into the tale, it kept trying to move around and change. I like that. LOL. Anyway..."interesting" is the word that keeps coming to mind.
Nice balance of description vs. dialog, etc. Well done... it's just the choice of details I don't care for. In The KingKiller Chronicles, you are given DETAILS. "Boring" details, interesting details... the kind that make a Life (or at least simulate it somewhat)...and it just happens to occur in fantasy land. It's not all titillating and scandalous things that only happen a LOT on TV, etc...with the window dressing of fantasy. I mean really... the only way to show movement in a story is NOT by JUST setting up adversarial relationships between a whole bunch of people. If I wanted THAT kind of story...I'd head for "fiction" baby...or watch some "reality" TV. Ugh. This is SCI FI/FANTASY. I wish they'd come up with a new category SCI FI FI? "Reality" Fantasy? LOL. Anyway. This story doesn't drag as much as many of this sort....but it does start bogging down as the "characters" gain "momentum". I mean, we have to find out about the slave collar that makes women do things that they'd rather not... and the sad widow who is turned on by the beautiful, mysterious young lady... and the bureaucrat who is more wealthy son than fair minded official... and the boy charged with rape who didn't really rape THAT girl, the slavers and their past, etc. etc. etc. Jeez. It's a shame. I REALLY enjoyed the Dresden stories. They got kinda dark in the details...but...the story MOVED along nicely and had humorous highlights (Bob, the Skull, etc.). I got EIGHT HOURS into this one and said, "I've had it." Stopping here baby. Not my cup o' tea.
I can't believe that THIS series was counted as one of my FAVORITE's for soooo long. Jeez. I JUST got book 1 ...with tons of trepidation. I have recently re-purchased a few books that I had put in that "Favorite Sci-fi/Fantasy Books of All Time" category ....which did NOT live up to expectations. Well, just add another one to the bunch. I am amazed. I realize NOW that this was a mild precursor to George RR Martin's series: very early soap opera (a feuding fantasy royal family dancing across magic space, etc.). Wow. Don't get me wrong. The first time I read George RR Martin's books I was amazed. I loved them. It was when I went to re-read them to get up to speed for Feast Of Crows... that I realized how much I disliked them. To this day I haven't read Feast Of Crows...although I do own it. LOL. All the soap opera elements: double-crossing EVERYONE, adultery, murder, etc. etc. ... while the fantasy elements are pushed into the background. At least the Amber series was VERY mild in that aspect (that's why it was a precursor). The magic is MORE present than the soap opera.... or at least they're running even-Steven. Anyway.
The character development is very thin. The story is extremely dialog driven (and it's TV dialog nonetheless). Etc. Etc. Wow. I was SUCH a sucker. Apparently I was.... easily satisfied and at that.... with FLUFF! LOL.
The self-deprecating humor of the main character keeps it humble (and funny)... which kinda balances out some of the over-the-top comic book action. Which isn't a bad thing but, it's very much a Game brought to "life" (so to speak). Guns are given loving attention and LOTS of detail but it's not gory. Go figure. This book runs a strange balance. Know these things and you'll probably enjoy it tremendously. Very much in the style of an arranged/managed roller coaster ride (I can't tell you why I say this without really giving away details that could spoil your story and I won't do that). Interesting characters. Interesting situations. But. I won't be going onwards... but I'm sure PLENTY of people will... and... quite happily :)
Gibson writes with a very dense, thick weaving of concepts... artistically presented :) This early book is very easy to get into and pretty easy to follow (comparatively speaking). Almost plain English from a Gibson-ion fan sort of standpoint. BUT you will have to pay a little bit of attention until you get your feet under you. LOL. Three separate story lines converge, slowly. Very interesting story. Not terribly dated...but a tad...although not in a too jarring way if you are willing to let the story carry you along. I enjoyed it a LOT... but I'm not really "normal". Form your own opinion :)
Well written. Layered and complex (enough). Slow unveiling. Dark and brooding storyline. No cheating by the author to make it all fit. Wow as to the end. The story twisted and turned and twisted again (hurricane winds you know). Not a HUGE surprise but an enjoyable ride. All I asked for, from this book, was some solid entertainment and it delivered :) I found the denouement and the questions asked by the author ghosting my mind afterwards.... Jeez.
Very very cheesy and corny dialog. Think of every old fashioned PI story or movie you've ever seen and THIS incorporates ALL of the cliche lines, etc. ...gathered into one tall tale. You're being TOLD a story by a PI (who KNOWS everything and could NOT be surprised by anything 'cause he's seen it all...). You are not invited into the story, you are sat firmly on the sidelines...outside the story but in reach of the supposed witticisms. Sorry. Don't mean to be a smart a** about it, but the main character tends to bring that sort of thing out. LOL. I laughed all the way through part one (it was THAT cheesy) and when part two started...I realized that I could NOT finish this one. It was just too much. Ugh. Anyway. If you like the TRADITIONAL sort of private eye story (think Barretta, etc.)...you will probably appreciate this one. I didn't even make it back into the nightside (the second half of the story) so I missed out on all of the magical stuff. The irony is that I am a HUGE King Arthur buff, so it is shocking that I just couldn't get through to the end. I guess my tolerance for really corny, cliched dialog did me in. The narration was excellent. Go figure.
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