El Sobrante, CA, United States | Member Since 2009
The main character is horribly unlikable. As far as I can tell, he is supposed to be charming in his bullheaded disregard for authority, but he just insults everyone he meets and, in response, they offer him money and jobs. The supposedly sympathetic prince comes off as soft and not particularly bright. The carefully guarded conspiracy seems incompetent and its members constantly telegraph their involvement. The villain might as well be a cartoon for all the subtlety with which he is written.
This isn't a terrible book, but it seems to have been written for dim children.
I have read fantasy novels all my life and I love the genre, so it is no small statement that this is the best fantasy novel that I have ever been exposed to (together with its sequel).
It is a rich and believable world with characters that are easy to identify with and root for. The line-by-line writing is at times lyrical and beautiful, but never distracts from becoming immersed in the story.
If you want an escape that makes you long for more, don't read more about the plot, just buy it and discover it.
There are two possible drawbacks to this novel.
First, it is the premier novel in a trilogy and the third book isn't done (as of April 2012). If you get drawn into this world only to have to wait for the next book, it might be very painful.
Second, it is the life story of a bard as told by him. For this reason, it winds its way slowly through the tale of his life, meandering from place to place without a clear goal at times (this is more true of the second book but at times true for this one as well). If you don't like a story where the journey is more the focus than the destination, skip this book, but it is a journey unlike any other.
This may well be the greatest story that I will never hear. I have tried 4 times to listen to this book but, as it turns out, the narrator makes me want to stab something sharp into my ear holes. He has a TERRIBLE, casual sort of Keanuesque-inflection that makes any passage truly irredeemable. I have listened to hundreds of audiobooks, and none of them have made me so angry at the narrator. Even the annoying full-cast-audio debacles are tolerable enough to slog through and enjoy a good story but James Yaegashi is an assault on the ears that no one deserves.
I am going to get a text version of this book and have my computer read it out loud to an mp3 file and I suggest that you all do the same.
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