The novel is ver distinct in it's approach to tell a modern fantasy tale. The authors' approach is psychological in nature and adds a lot to the suspense of the book. The entire read has a foreboding feel that things will not end well. I'm not saying that it doesn't end well, the authors just do a great job of creating a real sense of peril for our protagonist. Also, I like that we dislike (or possibly even loathe, depending on the reader) the protagonist. Egert is brash, egotisitcal, and dispassionate. So why read about him? At first this may be a problem for some readers, but the cockiness of Egert is the reason that his fall from grace is so very powerful. We learn to feel real sympathy for him and along the way even like the guy. That is the work of a true story teller. So, if you're preparing to read this, prepare ot be manipulated...and love every minute of it.
Although the main Character, Egert is not my favorite character. I really like Toria. She is a strong female lead and not a stereotype, who is passionate. The hatred she holds for Egert when he arrives at the college is true and we (the reader) are pulled into her compassion when she actually forgives him. I also liked the Wanderer, but that is merely for the attraction I have for powerful, mysterious people in Fantasy fiction. (call it a short coming if you will...)
Jonathan Davis does a decent job. His job is made hard because of the text. You see, since this was originally written in Russian, the prose is different. There is much more telling here than there would be in any American book. This is the ONLY hiccup I had while listening. We are TOLD that Egert doesn't fear death. We are told a lot of things at times which almost makes it feel like an exposition, at least at first. I attribute this to the translation. (I typically don't enjoy translated books) The translator in this case, however, did a REMARKABLE job in maintaining the almost poetic prose. Still the odd way of telling the story does get in the way of the narration at times. But as the book progresses, the story is told so well that it all fades into the background. At first, however, you will definitely notice this exposition feel of which I'm referring. Still the narrator handles the book well.
Come on this isn't fair question... If I say "YES" then the male reader disregard the book as melodrama. If I say "NO" then I'm implying that the emotions the author strived for are missing. I will be honest, then. No, I did not have an extreme reaction. I don't remember chuckling at any point, but it is possible I'm not remembering. I definitely did not cry, but the list of books that actually made me cry is VERY short indeed. (I could name them, but I won't) THe story does a good job of relaying emotion, regardless of my reaction.
I really hesitated picking this up because of the fact that it was a translated piece of fiction. I rarely enjoy such books. For example, Battle Royale is supposed to be an awesome read, but I couldn't get into it due to the prose. (I tried reading it not listening to it) The wording just pulled me out of the fiction.
BUT, this is NOT the case here. THis book reads/listens well due to the skill of both the original authors as well as the translator. I couldn't believe some of the beautiful prose that was left in tact after translation. Still, there is a hiccup, especially at the begining when the narration feels more like expositions. (there is another rough section about 3/4 of the way through after a major plot point is reached, but it is over soon enough) I mention this here to explain my 4 star rating instead of 5. I also mention it becasue I want to let listeners know that the read gets better after a shakey start. I use the term shakey very loosely here to explain that the prose isn't perfect at first.
Overall, a GREAT read. I am very happy that I read it. So happy that I went out downloaded the only other translated piece of fiction that I could find from these authors (called the Burnt Tower and available on the Kindle for free last time I checked). Enjoy this!
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