There are some tales that, unfortunately, labor under the limitations of their genre. Many folks are turned off by science fiction and literary types tend to pile on derision.
Some tales would succeed in any genre. This is one such.
Sure, it's set in a war, in the future, against ants. There are explosions and spaceships and all the trappings.
It doesn't matter at all. The point of this yarn is the tale, not the props that surround it. It's about people. Deeply conflicted, believable, fascinating people doing remarkable things.
If you've ever given someone a copy of Dune and cried a little inside because they "just couldn't get into it" when you know the real problem is that it's science fiction and they never gave it a chance... well this is another.
You'll just love it all the more because it is.
I'm sure some fool will post a "it was too confusing / I couldn't get into it / there were too many characters/ what does Moonspawn look like anyway?" reviews sooner or later. Which, of course, will beg the question: Why would you buy a 42 hour long book if you've the attention span of a gnat?
It's as good as all the positive reviews suggest.
And unlike another remarkably skilled fantasy author, Steven Erikson has completed his grand saga. You actually get to see how it ends... how the author penned the final page.. not how HBO finished it because the author got fat, rich, lazy, and had a heart attack.
Suzanne Collins has written several books that might appeal to the sensibilities of the negative reviewers... I'll bet they can even follow the plot on those.
For anyone who loves that rarest of science fiction treasures, a complex and fascinating tale couched in prose that shows genuine competence with the written language, stop here.
I think that the "only slightly psychotic" warship "Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints" may be one of my favorite characters in any tale, ever.
This is one of those tales that will not appeal to anyone who looks forward to summer blockbusters for their enlightened storytelling and character development.
Rather, it's a gloriously intricate tale focusing on the maneuverings of intelligence services. Not surprisingly, and exactly because intelligence services mostly attempt to outthink and not outfight, things blow up irregularly and progress deliberately.
If you've struggled with a John LeCarre title or found that Umberto Eco moves "too slowly", this is not for you.
Even with the black things from other planes occasionally shredding some hapless dude.
I'd love to see HBO try to edit this sprawling, inane mass of cheap cliche and adolescent sexuality into a compelling narrative.
Perhaps someone will start anew from scratch. It won't be worse.
On the strength of the reviews which claimed this was somehow different than the hundreds of mediocre swords-and-sorcery tales already written, I grabbed it.
Nothing unique. Nothing new.
Somebody's already done it, somewhere, better.
Pros- Outstanding narrator who carries the entire experience. Original, fascinating system of magic. Decent political machinations somewhat reminiscent of the great house struggles in Dune.
Cons- Sanderson can't actually write dialogue or develop characters in an convincing manner. It's not as bad as the Wheel of Time drivel, but not worth your time.
I'm diametrically opposed to the last reviewer's comments regarding Davis' narration.
Gibson's books contain a polyglot of races and accents. Davis is the perfect choice for these works as his ear for accents is nothing short of amazing. He's one of the few narrators who can manage southern, hispanic, and african-american accents and not force me to cringe.
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