Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
Here's an unusual surprise...
As anyone following my reviews, you know that on occasion, I'll randomly purchase an audiobook, without much evidence or pretense, other than to "roll the dice," if you will. Sometimes, it's a complete loss - You've seen the reviews, and they're MERCILESS. If it's bad, it WILL get the ax. On occasion, I get a pleasant surprise, worthy of a solid review.
This is one of those pleasant surprises.
Cameron has crafted the first in The Traitor Sons Cycle, that if the rest are as strong as this tremendous beginning, we are all in for a LOT of very good listening down the road.
Okay, let's cover the premise. Think Game of Thrones, add a more courtly and chivalry-driven medieval system similar to England, throw in an abundant, intriguing and complex magic system. Now top this off with INCREDIBLY complex characters and plots, and plots WITHIN plots. Drape a landscape RICH in monsters and creatures, some familiar, some original and new. Finish up with a killer story that builds, which i will NOT give away. It's definitely a great listen, and yes, I'll listen to it again. And maybe again.
Now, I'm fully aware that you may get frustrated with the lack of detail. No complaining. I WILL tell you a few things, however sparse.
First, let's get this out of the way: It's not 100% flawless. It has a VERY few minor inconsistencies, but you'll really have to hunt hard to find them - Nothing at all to negatively affect the audiobook.
On to the reasons to crack open that dusty wallet, and scrape out your Audible credit.
You'll get an extremely engrossing fantasy sandbox upon which Cameron uses to maximum storytelling benefit. He provides an interesting point of view listening aspect for a good number of characters in this work, both good and bad, and I believe this was one of my favorite takes on this audiobook. You'll relate to either side of the fence. And THAT, Audible listener, is what excellent writing is all about: Engaging the reader/listener, especially in regards to both sides of the moralities in the work. And Cameron does the job, at least for me.
Now, the monsters/creatures in this audiobook are exceptionally described and employed. That's all you get from me on this - When you listen, you'll understand. I want to leave a lot of things on the shelf for you to discover.
Finally, the battle scenes are, in a word, awesome. Detailed, with perspectives of both sides during the fighting, detailed, and, well...extremely graphic.
Also, think of a Gardens of the Moon listening experience. You are NOT going to do a casual listen on this one. There are a ton of complex characters and a twisted complex machiavellian plot line. Again, no whining. Only the truly demanding listener need apply.
Enjoy this wonderful and random discovery.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I love rolling the dice here at Audible!
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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