Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
There are times when people will like my reviews. I fully expect some of you to totally dislike some of my reviews. And that's fine. It's what makes Audible so great as a forum: We all can express our opinions, and still be part of a happy community. That being said, let's get to it.
I tend to look at this type of book in the respect of its merit to the WHOLE series, and in doing so, the series is well written and somewhat intelligent.
And it stops there.
I expect this type of book to be appropriately engaging and have a strong plot that makes sense. I also expect to have characters that are better defined and have depth. The characters herein are intentionally vague, so you're not quite sure with whom or what they're ultimately aligned. Also, the story devices are shallow. And, it gets worse as you go further into the series. There's very little reward for the reader's/listener's effort.
If this isn't enough, consider the movie that was made off the first novel - Despite the excellent actors and special effects, it fell flat. And it followed the writing.
As they say here in the south, "Nuff said."
Some people love this series, but I couldn't engage. That's unusual, when a series is WELL WRITTEN and SOMEWHAT INTELLIGENT. Thus, I expected so much more in DEPTH, as stated earlier.
So, if this were a pulp type story, I'd probably give it a bit higher rating. Why? Simple. If the author clearly sets out to create a specific thing, and it happens, mission accomplished. It fulfilled what the author set out to create, and I will ALWAYS reward a win, to some degree.
This isn't a win.
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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