Tupelo, MS, United States | Member Since 2003
This novel kicks off the 2nd series. Jennifer Van Dyck is great as usual in her narration. Characters are easily distinguished and the pacing is great. My primary issue is while the first series focused on a primary character, this new series focuses on many characters. I normally has no problem with that structure if the author plays out each fully. While the plotline is great, as usual from Elizabeth Moon, I wish each character's story line was explored more fully and in the same kind of detail she used so wonderfully in the first series.
Started listening to this on an airplane and then continued on return trip. Spent the 1st 4-5 hours convinced I'd somehow bought a middle book or the 1st book in a series that had the background told previously. Nope - author just writes characters, their actions, the landscape, the whole entire universe like he wrote it down as he thought of them. Spur of the moment - no context for anything. You have parts, books, chapters all loosely driving a threadbare storyline.
While the Audible description outlines a plot seemly based on "WhiskeyJack" character, he's actually one of the least visible characters in book. Hours 5 - rest of book didn't get any better.
For those who talk about how complex the book is... badly written doesn't make a book complex. Will not be purchasing further books in series.
Initially begins so oddly that you wonder if you somehow missed a volume between the last book mostly set in South America and this one. You slowly learn that it does indeed pick up the tale. Overall, this book is divided between 3 situations - each as interesting as the last. I again deduct a star for overall rating because the author again randomly ends the book. This ending is even more abrupt than the ending in Book 7.. It's not so much a cliff hanger as the book just stops. Not particularly fond that that practice in this series and given the free form storyline, you begin to wonder if the series will conclude.
While the book leaves open possible opportunity for more (hopefully), it neatly closes most of the back-story elements of the 1st two books and even provides much of the pre-history that moved the 1st two books forward. The author manages to propel the characters into yet another new situation (this time more politically oriented initially) without loosing a step. I'm very impressed with the author's skills as she has managed to create 3 separate storylines in 3 books that are non-repetitive and leave you wishing for more.
The storyline in this 2nd novel is more varied and ranges from an initial "discovery" setting in the home forest to an odd twist that turns into an old fashioned quest, but in a very unique setting. Given the progression and growth of the characters and a good pace overall, very good listen and lives up to promise in 1st book.
I am nearly convinced there are 2 different authors posing as Mercedes Lackey. The Last Herald Mage series being a gloriously exciting and well-written story. This series is so different in writing style and even mythology at times that I could swear it couldn't be the same author. Where the Herald Mage series propels the storyline forward with wonderfully vivid descriptions of events and characters, this Winds series tells the story from within the thoughts of the characters - what an inane and repetitive means to tell a story when you literally can spend 15-20 minutes listening to a character think about the pros and cons of doing something and then skip past them actually doing it. So little actually happens plot-wise because hour after hour is spent listening to the obsessive thoughts of characters that you find yourself skipping forward to get on with it. As I write this, I'm just about finished with book 3 and it's taken a more than a month to get through this series. I just can't understand how the same author can seem so completely totally different in writing style. Based on release dates, the last book from Herald Mage series and this first book came out the same year - no clue why they feel and read/sound so different.
Let me start by saying this is unlike almost any "fantasy" book I've ever come across. It reminded me A LOT of Avatar in the setting initially, but the more the story continued, the less similar it seemed. I must say I really did enjoy this 1st novel. Have no clue what the title means as related in the book, but the plot is very good and very unique.
Starts with a loner who is trying to fit it with people who aren't like him, but you're not really sure why. The author takes her time setting up the mythology, but once all the pieces are in place and the main characters are fully fleshed out, it's actually a pretty excellent story.
Great characters and unique, creative world. It does seem to veer toward romance pretty often in this first volume. The other 3 books in the series are less so. I do like Bujold's storytelling skill, however; so, the love story parts weren't off-putting. Only other comment is I would have probably enjoyed series more if it had been 2 volumes vs 4. Volumes 1 and 2 seem paired together in plotline and 3 and 4 definitely follow the same plot as a tradition journey and return story.
Love Elizabeth Moon's series. The characters are well developed and numerous - but now bordering on too many. There are at least 10 intersecting character paths that pull the plot focus every chapter or so. While I love this unique universe she has created, I do wish events wove around each other without the need to shift across this many people and locations. Even half as many focals would let the plot proceed without feeling like you're reading an endless Robert Jordan series. Only other nit is this book and the last just seem to end. Especially in audiobook format, I've not had a clue the book was ending at that point until the odd music they use suddenly comes on.
Others have complained of the narrator. I was fine with her. I am curious why they use a female narrator when only 1 or 2 character paths are female out of the total of 10 or so. For the original Pak's books, it was logical to use female narrator. Most of the main characters here are male and this narrator's limited vocal range does produce a few odd voices when there are SO many different male characters - but they are consistent and the pronunciations match previous narrators.
Love this series, but this one sort of plods along and then just suddenly ends. Almost felt like... "ok, reached page 325 and everything else goes into next book"
Similar to first book in moving point of view across dozens of characters - almost always at some kind of critical point for that character (very irritating). The interesting part of this 2nd book is that it lays down more of the total picture/history of the world. The disappointing part was that there were issues with the plot - the Other Lands are populated by race that is sustained on souls and is supported by a slave quota of children that's said to be in the thousands sent by the "known world." Problem is these slaves can't reproduce and yet you get the impression there are millions of them in the Other Lands... can't get from a few thousand kids a year to millions with people who can't reproduce in a normal lifespan.
I found it frustrating that as the books have continued, the creatures are getting out of proportion to the rest of the environment. I can only guess to emphasize the point that the upcoming war will be hopeless for the people outside the Other Lands. It's now to the point that creatures of dinosaur size apparently exist alongside everything else - why?. Human-type races range from normal size to 8 foot - why? Would be more enjoyable if the created world had had a little editing applied.
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