This series is one of my absolute favorites, with complex characters, an engaging plot, and a fantastically rich world full of seemingly living, breathing cultures that really show off Mr. Erikson's education in anthropology and archaeology.
I love the lack of initial exposition in the narrative, and that Erikson trusts his readers enough to just dump them in the middle of a story as complex as this with the hope that we'll hang around long enough to get our bearings. It's well worth the attention it demands of its readers (listeners), though, and close attention to details rewards the audience tenfold later in the book, and one hundredfold later throughout the series.
Mr. Lister is an excellent narrator. His cadence and delivery make for a very easy listen, and his ability to establish different and distinct voices for the characters throughout the book is superb. He pronounces a lot of the vocabulary of the world a little differently than I have in the past, but I wasn't too put out by that.
The only real problem I had with Mr. Lister's narration was that a few of the voices he gave to the characters were nothing like I had imagined them when I read the books myself. This is completely a me problem, I know, but I just couldn't seem to get over it. Dujek and Whiskeyjack's voices were problematic for me, but every time Kalam spoke I was pulled out of the narrative and forced to scream "That's NOT what Kalam sounds like! He's a powerfully built, kick-butt assassin out of Seven Cities, not a nasally, anemic rat-catcher from south Bristol!" (Apologies to all nasally, anemic ratcatchers from Bristol.)
I would have liked to have given Mr. Lister's performance 5 stars (and really, it does merit 5 stars), but I just couldn't get over those voices. Well, Dujek and Whiskeyjack stopped bothering me by about the 15th hour, but I never got over Kalam. I am an evil and spiteful person.
I am so excited to hear the rest of the series, and am so glad that Audible has made these available to me.
In closing, I really do hope they keep Ralph Lister as the narrator, but I'm going to warn you right now; if Coltaine is given a sufficiently non-heroic voice by the time his story comes around, I will find whoever is responsible and kick them right in the shins!
You have been warned.
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