I've never read anything from Orson Scott Card before, but decided to give this book a chance. It was different, combining a thriller with sci-fi and fantasy. There are two separate stories intertwined between our world and a lost world of gods. Both stories were very interesting, and I assume they will wrapped into one story as the series progresses.
The main character of the book is a very likable boy who learns that he has magic powers, and spends much of this book learning how to use them. Other characters in the book are likable as well. Overall this was a very good start to this series.
Wanting a break from my usual listening fare, I decided to give City of Stairs a listen. The book is described as a fantasy, but it is definitely not your typical story of Kings and Knights set in a world of Elves and Ogres. City of Stairs is set in a world with magic and wonders, but also some modern conveniences.
This book would seem to have all you need for a fantastic journey, starting with a very good performance by Alma Cuervo as the narrator, who's voice seemed perfect for the main character Sharra. The premise of the story is good as well. In a city built by gods, Sharra is a secret agent who has come to investigate the murder of a top government employee by the long suppressed people of the city. The gods have been killed by a long since dead relative of Sharra herself, and their country has been occupied ever since.
I liked the premise of this story right from the beginning, however quickly found out that there are some issues with this book as well. To start, the first half of the book starts to bog down as there is nothing really happening other than long sequences of info dumps. Characters seem to sit around and tell the story of how the city came into being rather than the story naturally laying out what had happened as the story progresses. In one example, Sharra is confronted by a city leader over her questioning of a citizen of the city. She reluctantly lets the citizen leave, and then is so angry that she invites everyone around her to the kitchen where she cooks a meal for them and proceeds to tell the entire history of every god, including what their beliefs are, their relationship with the other gods, and how they died. All interesting stuff, but the scenario made no sense, and the telling drug out miserably.
Other issues were the setting itself. I was intrigued by the setting initially as fantasy type books usually don't include such things as cars, trains, and guns. The odd thing though is that even though Sharra arrives and departs on a train, then rides in a car to the embassy, and speaks about the use of guns hundreds of years before, none of these things are featured much in the story. Cars are available, but everyone walks everywhere. Guns are available, yet everyone uses swords, knives, and cross bolts. Trains and cars have been invented, but modern conveniences like lights, plumbing, or phones have not. It's a little confusing.
Overall, despite the slow start, once the story gets going and the action picks up, I did find myself enjoying this book. The characters were mostly likable, and that carries a story with some holes in it.
Preferring to get the most out of my money for the credits I am allowed each month, I have never used one of them on a story this short before. However, being a big fan of Mr. Sanderson, and seeing many good reviews for this book, I decided to make an exception this one time.
I think after listening this book is worth the credit I used on it. It is a very short story, but typical with Sanderson's books, I found myself quickly absorbed in this story about a girl who is kidnapped and then ordered to use illegal magic to remake the soul of the Emperor. Angela Lin's narration was perfect for this story, bringing out the personality of the characters.
If there is any downside to this tale it would be that it leaves you wanting so much more. I hope Mr. Sanderson comes back to this story again in the future.
After listening to Blood Song, I felt it was one of the best books I had listened to all year, if not one of the best I have listened to period. I was very excited for the release of Tower Lord, and pre-ordered it. However, before I could listen to it, I started to see reviews panning the book for it's change from a first person point of view used in the first book to a multiple person point of view. Since I loved the format of the first book, and after reading the bad reviews of the second, I started off my listen of Tower Lord with a negative impression before even getting started.
After finishing the book, I'm happy to say my doubts were all for nothing. I found myself enjoying this book from the get go, and never looked back. I found the new POV's storylines to be just as interesting and exciting as the storyline of Vaelin. Of the three new characters, only Riva is a new addition to the story, and her part intertwines with Vaelin’s for much of the book. The others are Princess Lerner, who finds herself maturing into a leader a she travels as an ambassador to foreign lands, and Frintis, Vaelin’s friend and comrade from The Order whom is thought to be dead. Of the three, I found myself most enjoying Frintis’ storyline. Thought killed in the war, Frintis is instead taken as a slave and turned into an assassin by a mysterious woman with magical powers. The other character’s stories were also very interesting, as well as Vaelin’s part in the book, which in my opinion doesn’t suffer at all with the new additions.
Overall, though initially having doubts, I found this book every bit as much as enjoyable as Blood Song. I never would have believed it prior to listening, but I think Mr. Ryan made the right call by opening up the book to more characters. While the single POV format of the first book was perfect for that part of the story, multiple POVs will undoubtably expand this story into something much bigger. The narration by Steven Brand was spot on once again. Excellent series so far.
Wow, four books in, and you would expect a low in the series. Not happening here. The Dagger and the Coin series has been excellent so far, and the excellence continues here.
The book continues the same format as the others, with four central characters split among the chapters. Geder's now control's much of the world, as it is now clear the Spider Priests wish not to rule the world, but to throw it into caos. While Geder has become a tyrant, you can empathize with him as he is still a chubby boy who has been picked on most of his life within his mind. He is manipulated by those he trusts, and you feel that he is beginning to realize that he has gone too far. The other charters continue their attempts to stop Geder as the war spreads farther and farther.
This book is action packed, and it is a welcome relief to enjoy a series which gets better with each book. The narration is solid as always. I am eagerly anticipating the final book in the Dagger and the Coin.
This series has really grown on me, and The Tyrant's Law is no exception. While often an epic fantasy series will become bogged down in middle books, this series grows stronger and better with each book.
This book continues in the format of the last two, with the chapters divided among four main characters, Cithrin, the voice of the Madean Bank, Captain Wester, her body guard and friend, Geder, the naive minor noble who has made his way to power with the help of a dark foreign priest, and with the death of her husband, Clara now takes over as a main character in the book, and it is her story that drive much of the tale here.
The story itself broadens out, while at the same time, brings into focus the direction each character's role within the story. Geder continues to be manipulated by the Spider Preist, and his extreme paranoia sparks a deadly reign. The other characters conspire to bring him down, with Clara seeking to topple him from within, and Cithrin without. Captain Wester and Master Kip seek a long lost magical weapon to use against him. The country and the world itself are falling to war and famine.
Overall, this series is becoming one of my favorites. Both the writing and narration combine for an excellent book. I highly recommend this series.
While the first book was very good, The King's Blood takes the Dagger and the Coin series to a new level. The book retains the same structure as the first book, with chapters split between the four main characters, as well as few chapters to other characters. This works well to keep the pace of the book entertaining.
This series is not your typical fantasy series, as the usual fairies, elves, and other fantasy creatures are replaced by races of people made in the long lost past by dragons. They vary in type from human to humanoid like people with scales and fur. As with any population with varying races, some are wealthy, and some are victims to prejudice. There is some magic in the series, but it is not a common trait in the book, and is not a quality used by any of the main characters.
This book is driven mainly by the characters, all of whom are likable in their own way, even the villain. My favorite is Cithrin, an orphan girl who is taken in by the local bank branch, and who grows into a powerful bank manager. The other three main characters are Geder, a minor nobel who despite his bumbling nature grows to power, and becomes the villain previously noted. Captain Wester, an ex military general, who takes in Cithirin as replacement for his fallen daughter, and Dawson, a high nobel and adviser to the King, who sees the world as black and white, and is determined to force his will on the country. Also given a few chapters were Clara, Dawson's wife, and Master Kit, a traveling actor who is more than he seems.
Both this book and the Dragon's Path are driven by these characters, and I found myself looking forward to the next chapter to see what they were up to next. While their paths didn't often correspond in the first book, they begin to intertwine in this one as the story begins to take shape.
Overall, this was a very entertaining listen for me, as both the story and the narration were top notch.
This book starts out with an exciting tale of a priest who escapes from a temple where the followers worship a spider goddess. After this, the priest mostly disappears from the book until the end when his identity is revealed.
Between these two sequences, this book seems to mostly set up the characters and the beginnings of plots for the rest of the series. There are a few exciting happenings going on, but at the end of the book you realize that the major plot happenings will be in the future.
This description may not sound like a ringing endorsement for this book, but despite the relative lack of any action, I found myself really enjoying this book. There are several solid characters, and I liked most of them. The book switches between them at the right times keeping the pace moving well. Pete Bradbury's narration is solid as usual.
Overall, this book was a fun and enjoyable listen. I like to listen to my books before bed, and was surprised that this story kept me up late an more than a few occasions. I'm looking forward to the next book.
I have been thinking about this review for awhile. It is a grand book and I felt it deserved a grand review. But to give a complete review of this book would take another book to do it justice. I have decided to keep it simple.
I have read a lot of books, a listened to quite a few since joining audible. The only other series that has come close to The Stormlight Archive for me would be The Wheel Of Time by Robert Jordan. The two series have many similar plot lines, but are also very different. I know there are other reviews here comparing the two works, and it is only natural considering that Sanderson finished the WOT books. But I noticed something when listening to Sanderson's books in the series compared to Mr. Jordan's. As much as I loved all the books in the WOT series, once Sanderson took over, the pacing of the books were much improved. Whereas Mr. Jordan would have long and often time meandering chapters, sometimes staying with one character for a quarter of a book, Sanderson breaks things down into smaller chapters, keeping the flow of the book exciting, and having the reader want more, not wondering when you are going to move on. In the end, I think that is what will make this series be considered one of the best ever when it's completed. Maybe the best.
There is one other comparison between these two series. Mr. Sanderson is a prolific writer, however he currently has several projects going at the same time. If he continues on the Stormlight Archive at his current pace of approximately one book every 3 to 4 years, you have to wonder if he will suffer the same fate as Mr. Jordan and never complete this series rumored to be at around ten books. I am now in my 40s, and I wonder if I will be around to complete the series even if Mr. Sanderson succeeds.
Overall, an awesome book and excellent addition to the series. The narration is excellent as always. I will continue on whether I make it to the end or not.
So, I just finished a book, and need a new book to listen to before the release in one of my favorite series comes out in a few weeks. I need something not to long, but that I know I will enjoy. I decided to come back to the Riyria series that I loved so much with the first trilogy.
Beginning this book, it was like coming home. While the Riyria books aren't complex like the Wheel Of Time or A Song Of Ice And Fire, there is something endearing about these books that just simple make you happy when you read them. The tales of Royce and Hadrian are like following along with two old friends on grand adventures.
Author Micheal J. Sullivan has created a wonderful series in the Riyria Revelations and Riyria Chronicles, especially in the audio format. It's just the right mix of setting, characters, and narration, that makes you want to come back again and again.
Hope for many more of these books.
So here we are, in what is billed as the third book in the Shadowdance Trilogy. In the first book, you have the story of Thren Feldhorn, leader of the thief guilds who terrorrise the city of Vehlderan, and his son Arron/Hearn, who learns to despise his father as he grows to be an adult. In the second book you have the now adult Arron/Hearn, who is now “The Watcher”. Throughout the book, he takes the lessons he learned from his father to take control of the city, and force the thief guilds to play nice with the wealthy merchants.
So now that the third installment of this trilogy is here, does Arron/Hearn/The Watcher wrap up these threads left from the last book? The answer is no.
Arron/Hearn’s entrance into this new book begins with him learning of a copy cat killer named The Wraith (more on him later) in another city who is leaving the symbol of The Watcher whenever he kills someone. Arron/Hearn goes to his home he shares with the mercenary band with whom his hopeful love interest Delisia belongs. It has been five years since the last book, so by now surely the love has blossomed into a relationship right? Nope. Arron/Hearn still acts like a scared teenager in high school, and in fact only gets his first kiss upon telling her he is leaving town. As the book goes along, you begin to realize that the plot lines followed from the first book, are not to be followed in this one. Arron/Hearn’s confrontation with his father never happens. The mysterious plot hinted at revolving around Death Mask never materializes. The story of Alysa’s son is dropped, as he is quickly sent away to another far away kingdom after seemingly taking up the majority of the last book to get him back. The storyline of the two churches and the priests are non existent, along with the faceless ninja like nuns, with Zusa now nothing more than a body guard to Alysa.
While some may enjoy this book as an additional tale added along to the first two books, it makes absolutely no sense as the final book of a trilogy. There are no answers here, and no continuity of the plot. The author apparently realizes these faults in the story, and in a message at the end of the book states the ending of the last book was rewritten so as to add another book or more to the series to wrap up some of the loose ends.
And now, the narration. I blasted the narration of the first book, but went easy on the second having read them back to back. I had begun to get sort of used to the voices by then. After listening to the second book however, I found the third was not yet available. I went on and listened to another book. The narration in that book (Blood Song by Anthony Ryan if your interested) was perfect. The voice of the reader perfectly complimented the book. After the experience of listening to a awesome reading of a very good book, it was a shock to my ears when I came back to this series. I had forgotten just how horrible the narration for this series was, and I had a hard time getting back into this book. This narrator is just beyond terrible, and once again I was struck by the cartoonish reading, and the awful voices. The perfect example of this is new character The Wraith. You spend the first part of the book listening about how frightening this Wraith is, and have an entire scene where he goes to the well guarded home of the most powerful man in town and slaughters not just his family, but all of his guards by himself. After this scene, the manly, skillful, and deadly monster known as The Wraith sneaks into a meeting of elves. As they see him they become fearful, most like from his visage of testosterone, and he begins to speak. Does he have the voice of a manly man? No. He sounds like a twelve year old girl. A twelve year old girl who has been spoiled her whole life by her rich mommy and daddy.
This whole book, and now in hind site, pretty much this whole series, is just a huge disappointment. After reading early reviews I really thought I would enjoy this series. The first book was promising, but it is downhill from there. The series as a whole never completes the promise or plots it set out with, and I think I overrated Mr. Dalglish’s writing ability. The narration takes this series down even further. I am tempted to go back to my first review and title it, “Don’t get pulled into this mess of a series”. I will probably not move on to the new books added to this trilogy in the future unless a new narrator is brought in.
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