Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
Some writers drag us along into their writing, wading into a hastily-created and flawed universe of their own making. It can make for tough reading, and ultimately, can turn off many a reader.
Garth Nix, I'm happy to say, is not such a writer. This effort is a fun read. It is a universe well thought out, with the technologies, religions, politics, hierarchies and subterfuge splashing together to create an enjoyable experience. Detailed without being preachy, challenging without being confusing, it is a great choice for your Audible credit.
Notice I'm not giving the plot away, nor any spoilers? Here's why: This is a bit of a wild romp that you'll enjoy better by discovery, versus anticipation due to anything I might give away ion this review.
I WILL say this: If I could compare Nix's writing and style, it reminds me of the recent Dune audiobooks by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Hebert, but more of a tongue in cheek, just a bit. Very cool, believable and leaves you wanting the author to keep writing.
Now, THAT'S a good audiobook, yes?
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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