This book series is on my top 10 list. Be careful though as the books are very complex and take some effort to appreciate. Think I started on book one three times before I finally got through to it and it was only around book three that I really started understanding what a gem these books are.
The books are read very good. There is a nice distinction between the characters (which is impressive considering how many they are). I would give it a 4.5 if there was an option for it only because I might not agree with some of the voice/character pairings.
I did enjoy both story and performance. What I won't do is remember the book in six months. There really was not anything that stood out. I would have liked giving the book 3.5 (a little better than what I expected). For me the book was a little to "easy". There just wasn't enough depth and details in characters or story. It was more like a guilty pleasure.
I would recommend this for young adults (read girls under 15)
With a main character so annoying the voice portraying it will have a very hard time. I don't think there is anything else she could have done to please me.
The story/plot had some nice ideas.
The big issue with the book is that everything is spelled out. Only thing that was missing was the sitcom laughs in the background telling me that this was supposed to be funny. The whole book is like: "It rains. I get wet." "Look a boy. I think I am in love with him." "We are out riding. This is a moment of sexual tension."There is nothing in the book even hinting on an explanation as to why. For me that makes the main character come across as an erratic brat and I could not get past it. If this had been a paper book I would have gone through it just to get to the plot (which seemed fairly interesting), but being an audio book 7h is simply too much time to spend on something that could probably be summarized in a page or two of writing.
I would really want to read the coming two books before rating (given Erikson's track record of slow first books).
The story is close to a 5. The reason I don't give it that is because I lacked some of the epic clash between giants feeling I got from the Malazan books. This book has a very promising ending, but reaching that there were a bit too many whiny/uninteresting characters introduced.
Will be painful having to wait for the next books ... :)
The story is simple enough to follow even if you miss half of it. If you are planning to uncork a 50yo whisky, light a cuban cigar and sit down in your favorite chair to listen to a good book ... this is probably not for you. If you want something to listen to while commuting to work or doing tedious work at home this is perfect. It is like a McDonalds meal of fantasy.
The good. The epic story. Performance of Ian McKellen. The general flow of the language.
The bad. All the parts not focusing on the epic story (which would be about 70% of the book). It is so stupefying simple. No character development. Everything is spelled out for you. Repetitive, if I hear another "Odyssey master of ... " I am going to scream.
I am not impressed at all. For being a "classic" the writing is so simple it could be a children book (the content might be a bit too bloody for it though :) ).
I would only recommend people that are already "Shannara" fans to read this.
My biggest griefs with the book are:
1. Star Wars (new movies) flashbacks. The main characters are all whining like 3 year olds about choices that are not really any choices. It gets a bit tiresome when the author can't be arsed to build a real story but instead plainly writes what he wants us to think. It is somewhat like those comedy shows with the added laughter.
2. Lord of the Rings (extra material) flashbacks. This is not a real book. It is extra material sized and it feels like the author could have written it in one evening being half asleep.
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