Don't want to get spoilery so I'll just say that I loved the narrator and thought the coming of age story was interesting, but the plot was not very satisfying. I guess I was hoping there was something more interesting going on than the actual story. The reader is amazingly good, I'm not a native but the accents seemed spot on and shifted over time as the characters changed. Still recommend it as a listen.
Both of Pats books are amazing, transcending the genera to create something that has more than earned much praise. But if you are thinking about listening to this then you have already read Name of the Wind and know that.
It's not perfect, main issue is pacing. If it was a graph there would be big spikes of action with long troughs of slow meandering inbetween. Sometimes we get minute detail about long stretches of backstory, world building and training montage, other times huge events go by in a few pages or even happen off-screen. The good bits though, they are very very good.
I read the first book on paper and listened to the audiobook as well and found that the audiobook glossed over some of the the most choice turns of phrase. The speaker seems young, and so is Kvothe of course but this lends an unfortunate modern cadence to the speech. Someone old and gravely would lend it a more touching, heartfelt gravitas in keeping with the writing I think.
I picked up this audiobook to re-read the tNotW in prep for the new book coming out and was somewhat disappointed in the narration, not in terms of quality but in that I felt the style was younger and more modern than the voice in my head. But the book is so good, I still listened to the whole thing and would not hesitate to suggest the book in any format, even to people (like my wife) who are not fantasy fans otherwise. She loved it btw and all her friends are now fans as well.
This is a long, convoluted story spanning a large cast of characters and many worlds but it still manages to keep me sitting in my car after my commute completely enthralled. The Sci-Fi feels very plausible and the author seems to really understand how technology changes society. The reader does a great job, occasionally slipping up on an accent or doubling up several characters with the same voice but given the huge cast and great length that's not surprising.
I never take the time to review the books I listen to off audible unless they are terrible or amazing, this one is amazing. There are other decent reviews of the plot, similar authors etc. so I will just hit two points:
1. The narration is excellent, it is saying something when a deep voiced man can accurately portray a female character with nuance and feeling and bring tears to my hard heart.
2. The massive detail and interesting footnotes make for a long book and for 80% of it's progress one is left interested but not knowing what it is all about. I consider this more of an asset than a defect but if you need everything spelled out for you and good and bad guys assigned clearly it may be frustraiting. It is not ADD friendly, it reads like it was written by someone who loves to read intricate books not someone who wanted a simple plot so it would make a easy screenplay (tho it is being made into a film anyway). As a result if you do not get past that 80% mark you are missing out on a real gem.
In closing this was an excellent listen, if you like the fantasy work of Ursula K. LeGuin (the books, not the worthless tv show) chances are you will love it.
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