Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
Of all the scifi/fantasy audiobook genre to be found, one of my favorites is the superhero genre. Of course, it's nothing new - The greeks were all over this eons ago, and the story of Hercules is the penultimate hero, perhaps the culmination, of the genre' in its earliest era.
In this first of his "Reckoners" series, Brandon Sanderson has, as usual, moved into a fantastic departure from the typical. In this universe he's penned, the villains reign supreme, and the old adage "Ultimate power corrupts ultimately" is the norm. There are no superheroes, per se, as the various powers these unique individuals, or "epics," have acquired acquired so suddenly and completely have removed all moral boundaries and ethical limitations. The moral compass has been totally removed from the equation, and brutality rules supreme.
The epic in question, Steelheart, is a juggernaut that has little or no limits to his reign of terror. To him, the futile attempts of the government, rebels and even other epics to destroy him are not even a consideration. He is Hercules without conscience, and to him, we are afterthoughts, mere distractions compared his all-encompasing power and plans.
So, then, you ask, where is the story in all this?
This is a story of revenge, of desperation, of anger. It seems that this Hercules has an Achille's heel, a weakness that one ordinary man has quietly discovered, and is driven to both expose and deliver an end to this epic's reign of terror. This audiobook delivers plans within plans, a rich world with characters with varying motivations, and all at a strong pace, told by Sanderson in his always engaging and very entertaining writing. It's action from the very prologue through the ending of this first Reckoners novel. The narrator, Mr. Andrews, is strong, and worthy of the work.
Single words to describe this audiobook? How about: Engaging, Powerful, Entertaining to name a few?
For those of you who follow my reviews, look at my rating for this audiobook. It's HIGH, and it's EARNED it. It's quite rare for a novel to get this high of a rating from me - I'm BRUTAL in this regard, so when it DOES happen, you can be sure the work is well worth the listen.
And this audiobook is EXACTLY that.
If you enjoy Sanderson's body of writing, you're as excited as I am to see him dive head-first into this genre, and look forward with keen anticipation to the very next novel in the series.
Don't hesitate on this one - This is a "must buy" recommendation for your hard-earned Audible credit.
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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