I imagine I will get dozens of unhelpful reviews for what I am about to write, but what can you do?
For a long time I have been hearing about this crazy and whacky series, but never thought of listening to it. When I choose to listen to fantasy, I prefer the more gritty stories, so I felt this would not be my type of story. However I watched the movie “Going Postal” based on one of these novels and really enjoyed the creativity and humor. I then listened to Good Omens and knew then I wanted to read more of Pratchett’s work. I read the first couple of chapters and was intrigued, but I really can’t read a lot in grad school unless it is a scientific article. I decided to listen to it instead and that is where I went wrong. I found I could barely make it through the first ten minutes, and it was not due to the story itself. The narration was not enjoyable to me, which is odd because in most cases the narrators do not bug me. Based on some of the other reviewers comments, they seem to like and enjoy the narrator. If you were to consider this book for your next purchase, it would probably behoove you to listen to the sample all the way through and determine if you like the narration or not. I hope that they will either find a new version with a different narration or I find the fortitude needed to finish listening to this version because I really want to listen to this series.
I am big fan of military history based fiction, mostly in Medieval to the 1800's, therefore I was more than happy to try a new author and a new era. To start the equipment, army organization, and location settings/descriptions were well executed, but good descriptions are not enough alone. I have listened to most of Bernard Cornwell’s books, and noticed striking similarities to those stories and this one. An example is a bit on the nose, but the main character is from an area/class seen as inferior, somehow rises to command, and is resented for these things. I know this is not unique to Cornwell’s novels, however this story line is no longer original and cliché for this genre. The second, a bit less obvious is the Hibernian (Irish) sidekick devoted to the main character, much Harper like in the Sharpe’s series. Those are just a few, however having realized the similarities really took me out of the story. The story line was weak, unoriginal, and poorly executed. The main character commits a major crime in the start of the book, but the author never gives a reason why. Instead the author tries to convince us the character is honorable and not one to sway from his principles. The author also uses cheap tricks to try and awe the readers. I am no prude, but there was an overly graphic sex scene that did not move the story forward. It was if the author was trying to use the shock of the scene to convince the reader of the grittiness of the story. I have no desire to continue with the series and would not recommend it when there are other superior works that have the same storyline.
Yes, because the depth of the story and the amazing characters. Also to fill in time until the next book is written!
The start can be slow and confusing, but give it a chance because once the real story begins, it moves fast.
Having always been a history buff regarding western history and living in areas full of historical figures, I never quite knew all that much about the true story behind Tombstone, the Earps, the Clantons, or the OK corral. I heard stories where the “noble” Earps weren’t exactly all that honorable, but never in all that much detail. Having recently moved to Tucson, I visited Tombstone and was amazed to see the history there and how much of the myth behind this town is only that, myth. Upon reading reviews this book said it gave a whole different point of view regarding the Tombstone events, I knew I had to listen to it. I am quite pleased with the wealth of new and less known information regarding not only the key figures of the OK corral gunfight, but also the town of Tombstone, life during that time period, and southern Arizona history. The book uses information from public accounts and court documents, but does not do so in a dry fashion. Instead it is woven in the storytelling, and makes what could be boring transcript, into an interesting account of history. This book does not sugar coat the truth and will show you the real person behind the men we saw as heroes once.
This book was a nice mix of Master and Commander and the Eragon series. I am not typically a fan of dragon focused fiction with the exception of the Paoloni series (but that is a whole other review). This book was entertaining and easy to listen to all the way through to the end….. However it was not riveting. The book had so much more potential to delve deeper into this world. I wanted more about the characters, the setting, and the dragons. While I try not to let details of the period distract me, I can’t help but notice them. Perhaps I have been spoiled too much from Bernard Cornwell’s books, but I enjoy books of this genre that can not only have a good story line, but also have great details of events, attire and equipment. While the author did a nice job of describing the dragons and their equipment, the same cannot be said about the military equipment, which at times was inaccurate. These are small and did not ruin the overall experience. I am troubled by the fact at the end of this book I was not compelled to get the next book in the series or even put it into my wish list. This is not the feeling I like to have when I start a new series, and therefore I doubt if I will continue to listen to these books. I would recommend this book if you are absolutely bored and want an easy to listen to book without much thinking required. I would rate it PG-13 as far as content and therefore could be a good listen for a family road trip if you are fine with your kids watching a movie of that rating.
The book was entertaining with a good performance by the narrator, however when I finished the story I did not find myself rushing to listen to the next book. The characters were somewhat intriguing, but by the end I really did not care for who was left and did not really ever have any emotional attachment to story. I would say this could be described as a movie you randomly rent and pass an hour or two. Is it entertaining and new story? Yes, but it is no blockbuster. Enjoy it for what it is, but do not have high hopes for the overall series keeping you intrigued or excited to hear the conclusion. Perhaps I may finish the series some day, but there are plenty of books I am looking forward to listen to before this one.
I am a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell, and actually began enjoying his novels with the Starbuck series then the Sharpe books. A few years ago I listened to this book and was hooked immediately. It seems to me some writers struggle with creating a fictional story in a historical setting and remain accurate to the period. These writers can create good characters, but not describe historical events correctly or with correct props. For example the description of weapons, when a person inaccurately describes equipment used by the soldiers it takes me out of the story. On the other hand someone may be spot on with the historical descriptions, but may be lacking in character or story development. Cornwell does not suffer from either of these problems. The fact that he has done his research and based his writings off of historical data makes this book seem like it Starbuck was really alive and this was his biography.
I do have one problem with this version of the story, the reader. I have listened to the other version with the different narrator (this version can be found on Audible), and he gave the characters unique and individual voices. This narrator was not able to change his accent all that much and many of the characters sounded the same. It was just not as good as I remembered, and the only reason I bought this version was because it was on sale. I would recommend the other version and will be sure to get the rest of the series with that narrator.
I have always been a fan of the Lonesome Dove mini-series and remember watching that with my dad. Even to this day if it is “lazy day” we will pop that in and watch it. For just as long, I have been hearing about how amazing the book is. I tried to read the prequels a few years back and was not impressed. However I have heard many folks praise this book and now I can see why! I enjoy gritty fiction (lately GRR Martin or Joe Abercrombie), and this is very similar in writing style and character types, in that you feel conflicted about the protagonist. At one point you may like a character, only to dislike them 10 minutes later for something they say or do. Nothing is black or white, but many shades of gray in between with these characters. I find the same emotions GRR Martin or Abercrombie evoked while listening to those, being felt in this book. It is not necessarily the setting, be it fantasy or western, that makes a book this amazing, it is the characters. Also it is one helluva way to end the book the way McMurty did in the last few sentences, but it makes you think the whole thing over. Would definitely be a great book for a book club discussion!
My only criticism of this audio book is the narrator. At times he did an amazing job, but his reading of Gus was very distracting. It felt as though Gus was ALWAYS yelling. It was so distracting at first I found myself getting irritated. However over time I got used to it and am quite glad I did not give up!
Being new to the gritty fantasy genre, I was looking for a filler for my GRRM and Abercrombie withdrawls, while I wait for another one of their master pieces. Reading some good reviews online about how this new author was an upcoming "star" in this type of fantasy, I took a risk. I meany when you get a tip at the race tracks, you tipically bet on said tip. I accepted the bet and wager a credit on it that it would be good...... So, you know the old addage about every once in a while a blind squirrel finds a nut???? Yeah, looks like this squirrel is going to starve a bit longer. The book was hard to get into and honestly I did not care what happened to ANY of the characters. In fact there towards the end it was just background noise, and honestly I could not even tell you one of the characters names. I may give it another chance later on, but I will be sure not to have high hopes.
Where to begin? First let me say that I was skeptical when I began this series. I have not been a huge fan of fantasy until lately when I began to like the “gritty” fantasy (Abercrombie or GRR Martin types of genre). I was not quite sure how I would like this series, but it has been amazing. Another concern I have had is that having seen and read Russian literature and performing arts before, I do not know what to expect from this novel. Anyone who has ever seen more than one Russian film may understand what I'm talking about. The storytelling in such films and books at times can be patchy, unclear, unorganized, and have weak conclusions. However this book did not have any traits and was executed flawlessly. Like other reviewers, this was an impulse buy, and I did get lucky. The past few books I have tried to listen to have been getting good reviews, but I just cannot get into them. This one however was well worth the risk and I would recommend it to anyone who needs to fill in some time while they wait for the next GRR Martin or Abercrombie book. Is this book as vast and gritty as those? Not really, but it is still entertaining and really isn’t that what it’s all about?
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