A warning for people not to waste their time on this.
This is a fun book. It gets you smiling all the time and sometimes outright laughing. I definitely recommend it.
First I would like to comment on the narrator. I didn't think John Lee was bad in the fourth book, as I have liked his reading from other books very much. That said, I did miss Roy Dotrice's very recognizable characters from the first three books. It is not in error that Roy Dotrice was recognized with a Guiness Record for his work on The Game of Thrones. I was at first very happy that he would be returning for the fifth book. I would like to point out that I started listening to these books just a few months ago and listened to all in quick succession. Therefore I am can very well say that the quality of the last books narration was underpar for Mr.Dotrice. Very familiar character voices were not familiar, male or female. Although Daenarys' voice for example is an oft remarked example of a voice that suffered.
Now for the story itself. I guess it was ok, but not on its own merits. It carries forward mainly because of the weight of all the previous books, especially, the first trilogy of books, so masterfully written. And although Martin's prose is unmatched, it just seemed like he got lost in this book, or maybe there was a lack of editorial control. No one would say Martin is shy to kill off his characters, but maybe he was when it would be time to kill off a few chapters in this book. In summary, the book is ok, but only because we want so badly to see what happens to the characters we connected to in the first books.
Thanks Audible for the bonus balance which allowed me to get this prologue. This prologue is amazing. Only Chapter 1 available at tor is even more amazing.
First of all, the narrator's not the same as the other two books, and after hearing 30+ hours of the first two books' narration, you get used to it, and associate the protagonist with the Todd McLaren (who does a very good narration). Second, on the first book, there is a whole section on how his name is pronounced one way and not the other, and how it's a big deal to the protagonist. Now, the new narrator didn't check that, nor anyone else who proofed him. The result is the protagonist calling himself exactly the way he doesn't like to be called. Other planets are similarly spoken with a different pronunciation.
Third, this new narrator put various sound effects into the audiobook. Now, I don't mind a well done sound effect that adds to the story, much as some very nice stories from here in the sofa. But on this narration of Woken Furies, during the sound effects, the quality is bad, you can't understand what he's saying, it's annoying, and when you think you free of it, it comes back to haunt you again.
Last, I'm stuck through it to find out how the story ends. The author built a lot of expectation in the readers with various unexplained things in his books. Some things are finally resolved, some are left mysterious, which isn't bad. It's the mythos of the series. I guess my greatest single complaint from books 2 and 3 is the way the protagonist attaches to other characters. Sometimes it doesn't seem very believable why he allies with one group and not the other. This fact, makes the believability of the character less. You get he is a hard to relate with person, but it's strange how all of a sudden he's attached to somebody like it was his brother/sister or something. You don't see that coming, so it seems artificial. If you want to stick to one book, stick to the first one.
To get a feeling for this book, Mr. Bacigalupi has released various short fiction stories on the web (calorie man, yellow card man). This is a fantastic book. Its about an uncertain time in the future where corporate greed and unconcerned use of resources by everyone has led to a partial reversion of civilization. There is a bit of getting use to listening to foreign names and words, but beyond that the story is very well laid out. There are branching stories intricately woven together. There are no cop-outs, sticky situations aren't magically resolved, and the ending is fitting with the feeling of the story.
Sanderson's final book is masterful. I was absolutely addicted to listening to it and couldn't set my ipod down. It's very well written, never feeling contrived. I felt sometimes there were a little bit too many explanations intended for somebody who started at the third book and didn't read the others which would drag on a bit, but this didn't take away from the book. Most, if not all loose ends feel tied up. The magic system he created is almost entirely disclosed and his revealing it bit by bit is well done and keeps you interested. Character development is supreme and watching them grow through their struggles is very entertaining. I highly recommend this book and the ones leading up to it.
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