Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
This is, in a word, tremendous. Why? Here are a couple of very solid reasons...
This is entertaining and thoughtful, and BETTER that the first novel, in my opinion. That makes this a wonderful middle book in any trilogy. A middle book needs to re-capture us, and propel us along to the next and final novel, is such a way that's not rushed nor abbreviated. Cronin does this beautifully. Cronin has GROWN as an author, and it definitely shows here. His style is richer, his descriptions are more robust, and he does both without being excessive. That's what good writing does, and this most definitely IS good writing.
Also, Cronin captures the story with exceptional competency and depth. Cronin has a strong literary handle on the ideology, facts and terminology of the separate stories that he weaves together in this telling of the initial events of the outbreak, and each unique perspective of the main characters in each story within this novel - And that's no mean feat for an author.
Finally, the plots (yes, there are many!), characters and major points of the story are woven together perfectly to make any reader of the Passage satisfied at the turning of the last page in the wonderful middle novel.
Again, I do NOT give plot lines, spoilers, nor even quotes from audiobooks that I love. Remember, self-discovery of great listening is paramount. Any reveals on my part would be unforgivable in this strong writing. But...I will say this:
Don't hesitate on this one. It's a MUST.
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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