Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
If you've not heard of Raymond E. Feist, you've either lived under a rock, on a deserted island, or just arrived in a Delorean.
Well, you also may be new to truly exceptional fantasy writing.
I don't consider it your fault. There's so much low quality "fantasy" churned out by hack writers these days, and its all a tragic substitute that's become the accepted standard (or should I say sub-standard) these days for strong, worthy fantasy writing.
Feist began this series back when there weren't as many available fantasy works on the shelves, but those available works earned their place on the shelf with rich, engaging story lines, well-developed characters, in-depth creations that made you care and want more for all the right reasons.
His work definitely stood out then, and it does so today. So many novels in this universe were birthed by this great fantasy writer, work that you simply must read (or in this case, what you simply must listen).
Bottom line: it's essential fantasy reading. It draws you in. It reads smoothly, like a well-oiled machine. It's written sparingly, efficiently. It's smart, and it expects you to THINK.
His work has been recorded in the past, but sadly, it was so inadequate, it was painful to listen to, a lesson in endurance. Not so here. We're finally getting more of Feist's work in audio format, and with better quality and a MUCH better narrator.
So, what can I tell you about this work, part of Feist's many-tomed universe, without giving away too much? Hmmm. Okay, here goes.
Imagine an elfin race that travels the stars by gates that transverse worlds. Imagine humans, dwarves and other magical races on these worlds, fighting for dominance, using high magic, religion, sorcery most foul, politics, military might and in the midst of all this, galaxy-spanning hordes of demons that are using these portals and newfound magic of their own to bring the other races to their knees.
These aren't the pretty demons you see on TV or the movies. These are horrors on two legs. Screaming, horned, hoofed, twisted, drawn from your deepest fears demons. Howling for your blood, taking no prisoners. Merciless. Relentless. The stuff of nightmares.
This is the first in the Demonwar Saga, and it's DEFINITELY worth the listen. And you'll want more. Fortunate for Audible listeners, all three of the series are now available, and the subsequent series, Chaoswars, as well.
Look, at the ned of the day, when it comes to fantasy, it's all about good writing. VERY good. Not over-written prose with flowery words. Real dialogue by unique characters. Not a word wasted. And an engaging storyline that can transcend the series and grow in the process.
This is one war that deserves your rapt attention. Buy this audiobook!
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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