Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
Hmmm. Checking the calendar...Okay, Audible. This is quite unexpected. I've been so excited that we'd scored Saberhagen's Swords series, and I was convinced that we'd not see the Lost Swords series until after the first was completed.
But no complaining here!
This may be hard for those of you enjoying the first sword series, but this is the STRONGER of the two, as each of these book's focuses on a single sword and it's journey! Each tome is rife with high fantasy drama, rich magic, dark plot lines, nightmarish beasts, great characters and well...simply great writing.
Now, if you haven't started with Saberhagen's first swords series here at Audible, stop here and now, and go to my review of THAT series, and start there. The initial premise, concepts and details are there, and you want to start with that incredible series of audiobooks.
Okay, on to this series!
This series came about due to the sheer demand of the public, who had devoured the first series of the sword's journeys, and demanded more. A LOT more. Saberhagen gave his listeners what they wanted, and beyond.
What's so fantastic about this second series? Simple:
Audible listener, if you've read my reviews, you know that I'm extremely judicial. I demand good listens from fantasy authors. Otherwise, I am merciless when it comes to poorly-written fluff, spotted with clumsy characterizations, and weak, everyday plots.
Saberhagen delivers rich fantasy that's well worth listening.
First, Saberhagen crafts a unique fantastic literary sandbox for each sword, as he ties them all together, thus the reader will inevitably choose his or her favorite sword(s), and favorite story line(s). Rarely are they the same from reader to reader, yet each and every book is a VERY good read. When I first read the second series, I and other readers often discussed our favorites, and argued hotly why our chosen sword was better. It made for great discussions and enjoyable arguments.
Pay attention, Audible listener, THAT's the mark of a great series of books, and worthy of your reading/listening. Only when you've engaged with the author will this happen, and in this series, you'll experience that in abundance!
So, this, Woundhealer's story, is the first, and it doesn't disappoint. It lays the groundwork for the subsequent novels, and is a fantasy reader's literal trifecta: Deep magical plots that surprise, wonderful characters grafted into those plots, and rewarding action through a quality storyline. As usual, I don't dare discuss the story's details here, because it's such a good listen, that I will NOT ruin the experience with spoilers.
So, what WILL I tell you? I'll tell you this:
This book was so well conceived, so well written, so well-received by readers around the world, and Woundhealer's story so riveting and richly woven, that it spawned SEVEN other fantastic books in the series, each a phenomenal read/listen in their own unique way.
SEVEN. Yeah. I said seven.
Can you tell that I LOVE this series? I'm thinking yes.
So, now it's YOUR choice to enter a wonderful literary journey into high fantasy.
It begins. Choose your sword, and step forward into destiny!
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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