Twenty years ago, Zahn jump starting of the expanded, post ROTJ Star Wars with an epic trilogy that remains a standard by which all later Star Wars books were judged. Seeing this special edition unabridged recording inspired me to revisit this title to see how well it held up. For the most part, it has aged well. Zahn offering a compelling and swift moving narrative giving us a look at life in that galaxy far far away after the Rebellion's victory.
Most important of all, though, is the unabridged redition of the complete story. To many Star Wars novels suffer from their abridgement into audiobook form. This gives the full experience and I hope that we will get to have the other two books of this trilogy in unabridged form soon as well.
A decade ago Bioware's RPG "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" brought me back to the genre after a long absence of gaming. Set 4000 years before the classic Star Wars universe that we grew up with, the game, with it's compelling story, rich characters, and one of the great all time twists stands as a remarkable achievement in gaming.
It was with great enthusiasm that I approached this book, though I had initially expected it to be a novelization of the time line of the game.
Instead, we're given a story of what happens to the hero after he's ridden off into the sunset and the future challenges he deals with. Overall, I quite frankly wish I hadn't read the story and I don't think it does much for the characters that I cared about from that original game time. I understand this book is intended more to setup the new MMO of The Old Republic and it's unfortunate to see these great characters wasted for a promotional stunt. These characters deserved better than this tale, particularly the endings they were given.
However, as has been the case lately, the story is well produced and the narrator Marc Thompson does an excellent job, aside from a few mispronunciations of some of the names of characters and ships.
Many reviews have been written for this book. I picked it up based on the recommendation of a friend I trust in these matters. The books is a solid start to what I hope will be a strong series. I do think that the reader did a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life and giving them different, distinct voices. There's a fairly large cast of characters to keep track of, but Mr. Dotrice made it possible for me to keep everyone straight.
One thing that I had to take a full star off for - the terrible editing job. I lost count of how many times sections would get repeated. Sometimes a single sentence, sometimes several. Whenever one of these hit, it would be very distracting and knock me out of the story for a bit. If there were just one or two, I could let it go, but there were probably closer to two dozen incidents of this sloppy editing. Particularly for a two credit audibook, it's simply inexcusable. I know that Audible had the latest Wheel of Time book fixed and reposted when a sizeable section turned up missing. They really need to put an editor on this one to go and fix all the repetitions. Hopefully the future books don't suffer this same fate.
I really wanted to like this book. Friends I trust have enjoyed it, the premise of a Wizard making his living as a private investigator was interesting, and the short lived series that was based on it had me hooked. Alas, I just couldn't. The problem, for me, is that the limitations and irritations of reading a first person perspective story couldn't be overcome. I've never found a first person story that I've enjoyed. The story is bottled by only allowing Harry's point of view and the plot comes to a shuddering halt in several places as massive exposition scenes are needed to expand things and fill in the missing parts of the plot. Some of it turns out to be just too convenient for me to believe. So, to each their own, but this was just isn't for me.
Audio wise, I do think Mr. Marsters does an adequate job of capturing Dresden's manner, but he just doesn't have enough to work with in this book.
I've been a fan (though, not a fanatic) of this series for some fifteen years now, getting into the series sometime after the first three books were in print. It's been an interesting ride, to say the least. I had vowed to myself that I wasn't going to go through the investment of time to reread any of the series until it was complete. This latest book has forced me to reconsider that position. Sanderson does an admirable job of bringing Jordan's world back to life. He suffers from many of the foibles in Jordan's style that tend to make his novels into fluffy monsters of novels (excessive descriptions, almost every character, no matter how minor or briefly on stage, gets a name and likely some kind of history, etc). But, for the first time in a while, this book really puts the series back in motion and it finally feels like it is drawing to a conclusion. The action around the main characters is intense and there are majors changes that happen over the course of this book. I've been with these characters for a long time now and I'd missed hearing from them for so long. I think the finale is in good hands and, while it will be hard to say goodbye, I look forward to seeing how this grand tale will end.
Now, this is the first time I've "read" a WoT novel as an audiobook. I do think that Jordan/Sanderson's excessive descriptions and details work better in a spoken presentation like this. I think the two readers did an excellent job bringing the characters alive and giving the presentation the weight it deserves. I do think Mr. Kramer needs a better recording setup, however. It often sounds like I'm listening to him through a tube, with some odd background echo. It wasn't enough to compromise my understanding, and I probably wouldn't have picked up on it so much if it were for Ms. Reading's audio quality being so much better. Still, this is an excellent story and presentation and deserves the full five stars.
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