Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
Another I'll keep brief.
I'm enjoying the Ender series, and with the movie coming out soon, I feel that this is a must for anyone that wants to get into the series, or plans to see the movie. I say this because I seriously doubt that a single movie can catch the scope of the first Ender audiobook. It's like that with so many great novels - It's often better read or listened to, to gather the depth and scope of the author's intent.
Mr. Card has once again captured my attention with his wonderful writing, despite the 70s anime' styled narration of a fair portion of this work. Don't get me wrong, anime' has it well-deserved place, but this was so over the top, that it got to be challenging at times to listen. This was SO over the top, that I expected to hear Chim-Chim and Spritle start squeaking and squawking in the background. Sorry, too much like watching Speed Racer at times.
But having declared my dislike for the narrators...
The meat of this work is great, and it really does draw you in, once you get past the narrators. If you're able to get by them, you'll be treated to a sweeping plot, rich and deep direction, and a worthy listen.
I don't DARE put anything here regarding the story, because it's so rife with juicy stuff for you Ender lovers, that I'd destroy the fun of discovery herein. Sorry, but if the roles were reversed, and YOU gave ME spoilers, I'd be upset. If I have to endure the narration, I'd better have a reward waiting for me. Frankly, you do.
So, forgive the Speed Racer narration, and go for the story. You'll be glad you did.
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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