Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
If you've read my review for Stirling's first novel in the series, "Dies The Fire," you know I enjoyed it immensely, and rated it highly. Actually, I've read much of the series, and am continuing to enjoy the experience.
That being said...
This is the biggest challenge to get to those great reads - Get through this second book in the series. It's slower, a bit less action, and a LOT of explaining and establishing "future history," as well as religious changes and beliefs. Whew, a bit challenging, to say the very least. Still, a good (and necessary) read, if you want to get to the better work in the series.
Now, you may read the other reviews regarding this audiobook, and they're not exactly loaded with high praise for its slower speed and detailed lore. That being said, realize that the author is setting up quite a universe for what's coming. Look at the Dune series of books, and the extreme amount of establishment that occurred. MUCH more than this work, but it paid off.
It will do so here, as well.
So, if you like a good audiobook series as much as I do, and know that there will be a book or two that sacrifice "edge of your seat" listening/reading so that subsequent works in the series can soar, dive in and get lost in the lore of what's coming.
You'll need it for the excellent listening that's on the way!
If you follow my reviews, you know that I like to roll the dice, to randomly buy a series on a whim, on the luck of the draw. Sometimes, it's a bust.
This time, it's a definite win, but if you go by how the series was created, you'd probably run in the opposite direction.
Here's one for the books: Jim Butcher is well-known for his "Dresden Files" series, created a fantastic fantasy series on a BET. Yep, a bet. Read on.
To quote the Codex Alera Wiki site, "the inspiration for the series came from a bet Jim was challenged to by a member of the Delray Online Writer’s Workshop. The challenger bet that Jim could not write a good story based on a lame idea, and Jim countered that he could do it using two lame ideas of the challenger’s choosing. The “lame” ideas given were “Lost Roman Legion", and “Pokémon”.
It DOES sound lame.
Well, Butcher makes it work. To the nines.
I've finished this first novel, and I'm enjoying this unique story line of humans with Roman similarities binding with elemental furies. Add unique races, backstabbing, politics, military battles, duels and an interwoven story line that pulls it all together, and you get a fantastic story that's simply put, a VERY VERY good listen.
The whole concept of fighting alongside elemental familiars used here is wonderfully executed. It's deep, well-thought magic-based partnership of man and magical creature is a pleasure to experience.
So, what about the writing?
Again, if you follow my reviews, you know that I love ENGAGING fantasy or scifi writing. Anything less won't do. And this is definitely engaging. There's great characters that plot, backstab, challenge, fight for their beliefs, devour their enemies, and celebrate their victories. You're taken on a great romp of a story, and in the end, isn't that what we all want in a good listen?
I know I do, and I so enjoyed this first audiobook in the series, that I bought the entire series. Yep. And I'm not disappointed with the decision.
Who knew that Lost Roman Legions and Pokemon could knock it out of the park?
Home run, Jim. Home run.
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