Wolfe's use of symbolism and language are among the best I have ever read. His books are not for the faint of heart. Although his main character is a headsman, the content is not why I caution casual readers to think twice. Wolfe is a master, and he doesn't slow down to let you in on any of his secrets. You HAVE to pay attention to each word.
Severian is a richly-penned antagonist. His idetic memory makes for some fun times and deeply philosophical rants. I think he would be a difficult character to put on the big screen because of it, but he shines in book form because we get to hear every word of his (and others') thoughts.
The easy answer here is that he gives life to the words that the author has chosen. That could be meaningless drivel, except that Wolfe provides eloquent use of vocabulary that few others would dare to use. Each sentence is a finely crafted work of art. Davis has a mild, calm delivery which fits well with Severian's demeanor. I have always considered myself an "audio learner" and this is the first book which I absolutely had to hear to absorb.
I was too busy thinking to have much of an emotional reaction. His strength is in building a world and making the reader question his or her concept of memory, religion, violence, honor, etc., rather than invoking an emotional response.
Again--do not tread lightly. If you choose to read this book, you must listen closely to every word. I expect to re-read the whole series just to re-build the timeline in my head.
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