What marvelous silliness! So many outrageous moments! Laugh out loud fun! What a surprisingly twisted tale. And Jim Dale's rendition of Captain Jas. Hook singing!!... Oh, My! Definitely right up there with E. Nesbit and Ms. Travers - so glad I finally treated myself at long last... Thanks, Amazon & Audible :)
This is an incredibly good series, especially if you love language, wit, and complex characters. The narration is perfectly marvelous, the characters (of all sorts) beautifully, distinctively, creatively and delightfully voiced. I found Chains and the Thiefmaker to be the same as in the first book, just far less of them (to disagree with another reviewer's impression). The narration is so superb that I chose the Audible over the Kindle when I couldn't wait any longer for Whispersync to happen (grrrrrr).
Scott Lynch creates strong and complex women and I applaud him for it. I really appreciated Sabetha and the refreshing change from a pat and predictable romantic arc, though I do hope further adventures in this series will satisfy my always strong desire for a happy ending. Sabetha may be difficult to get 'inside of', but she has her reasons, and we do get to see inside her head and heart at least once. Her feelings on her role in the Bastards are well articulated and raise issues not often addressed in fantasy fiction. The author appreciates and creates real characters of many differences.
The excerpts from the play the characters are enacting in one thread have the special complexity of language that so arrested my attention and challenged my understanding and tickled my fancy at the beginning of The Lies of Locke Lamora. Thank you. The insults here and there are a special treat, too.
The Shadow series is a terrific storyline, a true classic. This production almost ruined it. This truly needs redone. The voice actors are fine, for the most part, but the instrumental interludes are annoying in the extreme - untuneful, unrelated, interrupting, and overlong. However, the story is strong enough to overcome the production's flaws.
Production is better than the earlier books. Story reaches a conclusion, but there is obviously much more story to tell. Shorter than I would like, but not as short as I feared. Note to the author: I don't want to save money on impulse purchases with books in an established storyline; I want a full, rich, engaging story with multiple arcs and the continuation or completion of plotlines yet left unfinished or foreshadowed from prior books. Note to the producers: Thank you for not having annoying poor music interludes.
Be warned not to read this book before the first four Shadow books, it continues some storylines from those books, and therefore has major spoilers. It can certainly be read before or after the Speaker books. I very much enjoyed this interim story in the Ender saga, and recommend it. It would be nice if this producer would clean up and update the other audiobooks in this series. (Well, Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow were fine, but Speaker for the Dead and Shadow of the Hegemon were poorly produced, unfortunately.)
This space 'romance' is different and delightful. The interplay between the two protagonists and their cultures as well as each with her or his own political environment is very well done (though we only get to know her from the inside, a bit of a shame). The story is more epic and episodic and complex than I had remembered, so was a rewarding reread. The narration was excellent. While less manic and hilarious than Warrior's Apprentice, it has a lot to think about plus many moments of rueful irony as well as a few outright laughs. A very rewarding adventure.
This trilogy is my favorite of Valdemar, immediately after come the Winds trilogy and the Oath books plus Kerowyn's By the Sword. It is heartwarming and heartwrenching and deeply roots in your life experience without having to actually live it. Somehow Mercedes Lackey manages this despite too much exposition that could have been used as points of relationship development (i.e. Stef's recollections of his life history that could have been better better used for conversations with Vanyel). Her characters become completely real , except for the villians who are simply evil. Though my literary tastes have become more complex over the years, I still loved listening to these almost as much as the first time I read them many, many years ago (and a couple times since).
The narrator's voice and characterizations were excellent. The only thing that brought a 5 star performance down to 4 stars was a persistent mispronunciation of certain key words and a few English words as well. While they are made up words, it seemed obvious to me that shaych has a ch sound like cheese and not any other breathed gutteral or sh sound; also ashke should be ash-ke not ashk, and I always heard VANyel not vanYEL. While this can be overlooked and the story still enjoyed, I think a bit of research on unfamiliar words could have improved the performance to perfection.
Family romance with computers and good witches. Decent world building integrating witchery with modern America. Overall very upbeat and sweet with wonder but a minimum of oppositional difficulties - more like ideal real life life than epic fantasy. Great characters and family interplay. Narrator reads at a good speed with dramatic, amused overtones, very like the book's tone. This does have the unfortunate effect of making the experience almost TOO saccharin. So, though I have enjoyed these books one-after-another in Kindle, I'm not yet certain when I might get the next one in Whispersync Audible, though at the price, probably the next time I need a death-by-chocolate dessert after a heavier epic literary meal.
This is the first book I read by one of my favorite authors, the one that made me look for others, and an excellent example of her work. The narrator has a very warm, clear and intimate style, and is perfect for this book; the voice characterizations are excellent and subtle. This tale has several different story arcs that are related and intertwined, but not tangled or confusing, and are each as satisfyingly resolved as a short story could be, yet are important enhancements to the whole. The level of scientific speculation, while integrating wonder and even a nod to archetypal horror fantasy elements, is simply amazing. There is one first person protagonist, and several secondary characters who are presented in intimate third person, and even tertiary characters are well developed; the reader gains a great view of their motivations and development, and true empathy for many. This is a rich stand-alone story and rewards any number of re-readings, more complex even than the Black Sun Rising trilogy (also among my favorite books); highly recommended idea and character driven speculative fiction. Only possible improvement would be a Kindle edition with Whispersync (but not truly necessary).
I thought this narrator did a fine job. The many non-English names and words sounded about the same as rendered by the narrator of the first trilogy. The queen was a bit harsh but ok, and I adjusted to the somewhat older voice for Imriel by imagining him telling his memoirs rather than imagining the narration was 'real time'. After a few chapters it was fine. I've only listened to this third book so far (I've read them), and it's possible it's the best of the 3. I thought the narrator did an especially effective and subtle differentiation between the two 'personalities' of Imriel - it really enhanced my enjoyment of the story and gave it more depth and drama. The only character that sounded totally wrong to me was Mavros, but I could live with it. All together a fine listen.
In Chapter 3, on page 24, during Queen Ysandre's speech, a paragraph is skipped and the next paragraph is read twice, but the whispersynch stays aligned. For those without the text, the two paragraphs are as follows:
There was a genuine ache behind her words, and I did not think she took any pleasure in the fierce nods of agreement from those assembled on the left of the hall. I'd had my differences with Ysandre, but I'd never doubted she loved Terre d'Ange.
"Blessed Elua cared naught for crowns and thrones," she said quietly. "Those words, I'm told, were spoken by Melisande Sharizai."
This trilogy is one of my very favorite reads. Mr. Bray does an amazing job with the voices, especially the unhuman voices. Highly recommended to anyone who already thinks they might want it, and to those who enjoy an intricately plotted, character driven, richly detailed story which explores the natures of good and evil, altruism and self-interest, and unlikely allies. This is a complex series, yet each book comes to a satisfying conclusion, so one is not left hanging should one decide to stop after the first (hard for me to imagine, but tastes do vary). If you enjoy admiring an attractive villain, there are few as attractive as Gerald Tarrant, and Damian Vries makes an excellent hero as well.
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