I'm a longtime Terry Brooks fan and read the original Shanara books for the first time in high school. I've devoured every new book, even as quality has declined and themes have become repetitive, and this trilogy has been no different. I have my reservations though. The first black character that I can remember in any Brooks book is a charicature with an attitude problem (even worse, named "Panther"), and the narrator doesn't improve the situation by voicing him as a jive-talkin' throwback stereotype. Also, even with the new, post-apocalyptic backdrop, many of the themes are rehashed from earlier Shannara books. You should read (or listen to) this book, but be aware that you are not getting the best of Brooks.
The book that preceded this one, Altered Carbon, stunned me with its clever plotting, original take on future technology and solid writing. Many reviewers have argued that this second book surpasses the first, but this sadly is not the case. Broken Angels lacks the cleverness and originality of the first book -- I was never surprised or amazed because it all felt so familiar. I attribute that to Morgan's extensive borrowing of plot elements from sources such as Stargate SG-1 and the (bad) movie Virus (as well as the dozens of similar movies where a research team with marine escorts slowly falls victim to an unknown menace).
I never regarded James Marsters as a remarkable narrator, but he had become the voice of Dresden and defined the supporting characters. This narrator is much too old to pull off Dresden's wise-cracking, and the supporting characters are all misinterpreted (or at least different from what I've become accustomed to over 12 previous books).
The story is just okay. Way too many flashbacks and asides in the midst of action, which is Butcher's worst indulgence. It's like time dilation -- action that takes one minute for a character could take half an hour to read. I hope the series finds some brevity.
I may have enjoyed this book when I was 13. The characters are described in hackneyed terms and resemble a child's conception of a "bad guy" or a "bored child with talent." Also, this narrator would make me dislike even the finest book -- she reads far more slowly than this material deserves, and her style is that of a condescending teacher reading to a kindergarten class. Maybe it gets better after the first few hours, but I will (thankfully) never know.
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