Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
If you follow my reviews, you know that I occasionally spend my Audible credits on audiobooks that I would not normally acquire, ones that I would normally NOT like nor want. Sometimes, it's a loss. Other times, I'm rewarded with a tremendous win - A fantastically rich and rewarding listening experience that I'll not forget for a long time, and will listen to again over the years.
And this audiobook?
A HUGE win. A seriously huge win.
It's hard to put in words the depth, strengths, story, pacing and more that Scott Lynch has woven into this literary work, but I can provide an overview.
Imagine an advanced alien race that mysteriously evacuates a planet, leaving behind vast crystal cities, with high-rising spires that light the night, with twisting alleyways and streets below, dark and forbidding, ripe for exploring mankind to occupy. Now, set the stage with a vast sprawling city that is an astounding blend of of Venice, Paris and Tuscany, with almost no technology, rife with machiavellian intrigue, and plans within plans. Finally, center the story around Locke Lamora, a young orphan sold into a thieve's caste, on his way to becoming the city's greatest and most notorious gentleman thief on an grand scale.
Also, kudos to the narrator on this work. Michael Page is definitely up to the task, with so many characters to whom he gives unique voicing, inflection and life, and keeps up with the author's pacing. VERY well done, Michael.
And this is only book ONE in the series. Yes, I've read the sequel, and it's just as good as this first book/audiobook, if not better. And YES, expect a review soon!
I have countless audiobooks from Audible and other vendors, and this is easily one of my very favorite listens, vastly entertaining, captivating, descriptive, intriguing and a page-turner, to say the very least. Note all five stars in my rating - I don't give that out very often. So, get this audiobook. You'll discover well-defined storylines that will intrigue you hour after hour in this rich and rewarding fantasy listen you should not miss.
And to think I almost did.
I LOVE rolling the dice here at Audible. LOVE it.
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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