Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
I've always loved the stories of Drizzt the dark elf, and while my heart longs for the Salvatore's Safehold, the very first Drizzt novel in the trilogy, I have to say that I truly enjoyed this series of novels that came out later, due to their rich defining shorelines and Byers love affair with the dark elf universe. Be warned: This series will connect you to a great line of audiobooks that have just been released at Audible, some 200 such books in the Forgotten Realms in the Dungeon and Dragons family of books. Some of these books are so very good listening, that you'll want more.
This is such a series in that family.
It's dark. It's Machiavellian. It's descriptive and delightful. Its got great characters, dark purposes, vast family houses in turmoil, royal intrigues and forbidden magics. It is, in a word, magnetic. I enjoyed this long ago, and again today. So much so, that the entire series is now in my Audible library.
So, if you do NOT want such engrossing and entertaining listening, move along.
Otherwise, enter the dark elf kingdom of Menzoberranzan, mortal, and be satisfied with its dark gifts!
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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