I loved Brandon's Mistborn series and his continuation of the Wheel of Time series has impressed me as well. Having said that, I was totally awed by this book. I consider it his best work yet. Very original setting and magic system. Rivetting drama sequences and intense battles. All I can ask for.
It was a little difficult understanding the plot line at first, but after a few chapters I was so curious about how different character lines were going to play out that I couldn't put it down. I find it refreshing to read a fantasy novel that actually makes me think about how things fit together, rather than just spoon feeding me the storyline in a predictable manner.
I compare Brandon's style in this book to be a combination of Robert Jordan's intricate descriptiveness and originality in his Wheel of Time series and Steven Erikson's complexity and unpredictability in the Malazan series. Both of which I love for different reasons.
May you enjoy it as much as I did! I am already anticipating the next installment of this series.
I've seen a lot of bad reviews for this book, and frankly I don't understand why. Perhaps some readers are not used to hard-core, traditional sci-fi writing. So much of today's contemporary sci-fi writers are more into action and less into the classic philosophical aspects that began with epic writers like Herbert and Asimov.
Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and feel it is a masterpiece in classic sci-fi form. David Brin knows how to sink the hook in and keep you guessing until the very end. He is a master at storybuilding from various alien perspectives, which may throw some people off because of the change in thought process/focus from one alien race to another, but I found it captivating and ingenious.
I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys Frank Herbert, Peter F. Hamilton, Larry Niven, Orson Scott Card and other masters.
However, one caution to casual sci-fi readers that prefer straight forward stories full of action and special effects: you will get action, you will be thrilled, you will be surprised, but you will not be satisfied unless you are a fan of classic sci-fi writing techniques. This is not a shallow, no-brainer entertainment for the masses. This is a thought provoking work with complex plots/sub-plots that provide surprising twists and turns that are hard to predict compared to a lot of other literature in the genre these days.
I hope you enjoy!
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