Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
Steven Erikson challenges the traditional fantasy genre' with his "Book of the Fallen" series, and again, more so, with this first book in his new precursor Kharkanas trilogy, "Forge of Darkness."
First, a brief review: A stirring, powerful, thought-provoking, wonderful "must read."
Now, a bit more info.
I've read this before I listened to it. It's HUGE. Just as in his "Fallen" works, this requires you to think. AND. It's setting the groundworks for a strong, amazing trilogy down the road. If you liked "Gardens of the Moon," which I've already reviewed here at Audible, you'll love this book. "Gardens" carries it's work somewhat herein, so you'll be comfortable. The descriptions are astounding, the plots and storylines immense, and the fantasy element is superb. A powerful mix of fantasy, machiavellian plots and engaging characters.
No spoilers here, as usual. I WILL tell you to look at my review of Erikson's "Gardens of the Moon," so you can get a better idea, if you need one.
This is EPIC. Strong fantasy at it's finest. And just like "Gardens," it's not a casual listen.
This is fantasy on par with NOTHING else out there. It's unique and refreshing. And again, anyone who knows Erikson's works will agree: He's preparing us in this first book for very great things.
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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