I'll start this by saying I'm a huge Card fan. Ender's Game is my favorite book, and I loved Pathfinder. I counted down the days until this was published, but now I'm left disappointed.
Card's usual depth and complexity are there in the story, and I cannot deny it isn't well written. But he significantly faulted, in my judgement anyways, by making the drama in this book all about the characters and their inabilities to trust each other.
A little bit of resentment towards each others is one thing, but there were whole chapters where the characters would argue or fight or just plain whine the whole time. It was distracting, removed me from the story, and even made me stop listening for chunks at a time. Honestly, it was so bad I wanted to slap the characters. It didn't really feel "real" considering what we'd known about them from the last book.
He's all set up for a climactic book three in which there will hopefully be real drama and conflict. This one felt forced, as though in order to justify a book two he forced out character drama that didn't need to exist and borderline overwhelmed the rest of the story.
I cannot wait for book three and I put my hopes on that one. This one felt as if half of it was unneeded, and downright annoying.
On the whole, this was a very solid read with a vivid world, detailed characters, a well-through magic system and enjoyable twists and turns. Hopefully this serves as a launching point for an even more developed series to come.
I could tell while listening that this was the authors' first book - there were parts I wish had more editing or more developing.This book has the tendency to skip forward by months or a year, and while this keeps the pace going it's often confusing if you don't cognate immediately the calendar the author puts in at the beginning of each chapter.
I'm one who enjoys a slower, exceptionally developed fantasy epic, and the difference between this novel and others like The Wheel of Time and the ilk is in that pacing. Cooper would skip ahead a year or so and we'd be expected to accept character development on face value. While this kept the action going and allowed Cooper to get this arc completed in one novel, rather than the three novels or so we'd have gotten with Robert Jordan, at times it was very jarring. The characters never felt as developed to me as I wanted them. This left the characters feeling a tad unreal by the end of story, because I needed to see more of the journey in order to believe they'd become who they "were" by the final chapter.
That said, my nit-picking should not keep anyone who likes fantasy from giving this a shot. It's got a good world and likable characters, and you can tell Cooper has the creativity and drive to become an excellent author in the field. As a launching point for what will hopefully become a stellar series, it's more than enjoyable.
Also, Michael Kramer is the absolute best, and he doesn't do bad projects. That's all the recommendation you should need.
Great plot twists, well-written action, and solid, believable character development makes this a stellar follow-up for Steelheart. Can't wait for the next one.
This story, in itself, is fantastic. The world-building, the prose, the characters, all fantastic. Ryan did an amazing job of keeping the story unique (despite all the obvious similarities to another god-send, The Name of the Wind) and keeping the pace going strong. It's a bloody tale full of political intrigue with a main character in Vaelin who COULD have become a Mary Sue but didn't. Absolute applause for Anthony Ryan.
The major letdown is the narration; Steven Brand has an amazing voice and it could have complimented this story fantastically, but he does exactly two voices the entire book. Given that this book doesn't always have "character A said" or "character B inquired", it's often really easy to get lost and have NO idea who is talking. It's a disappointing letdown, but in no way one that should keep you from picking it up.
I am a huge fan of Orson Scott Card, but I, like many of his fans, worry that he's overdoing the series. There comes a point when I hear he is writing a new Enderverse book and I just groan.
That said, the books are always fantastic, and this one may seriously be my second favorite Ender book (aside from Ender's Game, of course). The characters, the plot depth, it's all vintage Card. I expected it to be rushed, but aside from the ending, it wasn't.
The producers always get the best out of a fantastic narrating cast as well. Props to them for continued excellence.
The ending was rushed, yes. We'll have to see in the final two books if the whole thing could have been stuck together in one book, especially considering WE ALL KNOW HOW THIS ENDS. But it wasn't a let down, it's vintage, fantastic Card.
Excellent book, very comical. It wasn't "oh my gawd my sides are splitting" funnybut it was clever, well-developed, kept my interest. Easily recommended.
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