The story of a book detective was both new and fascinating. I learned a lot about medieval books, medieval book processing and medieval cultural attitudes about books. Lev Grossman excels at making the hunt through bibliographies and catalogues as intensely suspenseful as dodging a gunsel while looking for a black bird. The side characters are likable and fully fleshed out with their own interests and motivations. Even the ending of the book was technically well executed, but emotionally distant because the protagonist is simply unlikeable and unbelievable.
Like the protagonist of The Magicians, the protagonist in Codex is oddly off-putting and somewhat cartoonish. He neither acts, thinks nor feels like a real person. Instead, he is relentlessly and unchangingly self-indulgent, pampered and self-absorbed–the reductio absurdum result of helicopter parenting. He uses people for his convenience. He does not understand that to receive loyalty one must in turn be loyal. Perhaps that was the point that Lev Grossman was trying to make, but the protagonist’s sheer, perverse inability to learn or change at all makes him unbelievable as well as unlikeable.
Conversely, Jeff Harding’s performance is excellent. I have not heard any readers actually use falsetto before, but he does it with such skill and conviction that it sounds natural instead of forced.
I will probably never read a Lev Grossman book, but I will also probably listen to any book he publishes because he is creative and interesting, and because the life breathed into his books by his readers makes up any shortcomings in the personalities of his characters.
Nate and his band of merry misfits try to solve the mystery of their own apartment building. The story is tense and contrasts the dead end day jobs of the tenants with the excitement--and fear--of their communal sleuthing. I liked this book so much that I do not want to give anything away. The motive of the characters seems a little flimsy, but the novel keeps you wanting to know what happens next, and at time is a little scary. There is a bit of homage to prior works but this book is not a pastiche. I wish Peter Clines would have written more in this genre.
Ray Porter is a FANTASTIC reader. At first I did not really notice because his main character voicings (and there are a lot of main characters in this book) were pretty straight forward--no excessively heavy accents, mostly timbre, pitch, speed. About halfway through I realized that each character was instantly recognizable by voice alone and even his women were each immediately recognizable and different. His male voices covered a broad range including one that sounded very similar to a famous Hollywood actor. His voicings made this a joy to listen to, by the end I felt I was listening to a full cast recording.
Urban fantasy is a great genre that is being destroyed by bodice rippers disguised as urban fantasy detective novels. Don’t get me wrong, if people want to read Harlequin Elvish Romance more power to them. I do blame the publishing world, however. They should make a clear subgenre of "Urban Fantasy Romance." Nothing is worse than settling down for an evening of “Chandler/Hammet with Trolls” and getting some weirdness about an otherwise intelligent and capable female fixer just dying to be dominated by some more powerful being. (Is being dominated really what does it for the Harlequin crowd?) Unsatisfying.
Well that is NOT what happens with October Daye. She is tough, resilient and smart. What she lacks in muscle she makes up for in brains, guts and contacts. She goes toe to toe with the villains and she may fall back but she doesn’t stand back. She has an almost samurai sense of responsibility which means that she sometimes accepts blame for things that are objectively not her fault. However, throughout the series she grows and changes, and her willingness to accept blame may even be an intentional character flaw.
I have the entire series and am eagerly awaiting the next volume. I think they are all four or five star books. In many ways, this first book is one of the strongest. October is at her weakest, and that means she has to be more clever and more indirect to solve the case. She is initially introduced as a recon and pathfinder operative. She finds the way in, sets the flares and then the heavies come rolling in. I think it would have been interesting if she had maintained that role.
There are some things I think are a little out of sync such as a patron who seems too perfect, a little too much touchy-feelie in the middle of an extraction when you would think everyone would be heads up and hands on, and characters actually thinking of themselves as “heros.” Nevertheless, these are small quibbles, and who knows? Maybe elvish lords really are that perfect and fey warriors are so emotional that they can’t help themselves. Regardless, this is the most enjoyable series I have listened to/read in a long time.
In addition to the fine writing by Ms. McGuire, Ms. Kowal’s voice acting is superb. I love her October and all the other characters. This was really a joy to listen to. I recommend it highly.
I was not disappointed by this last book in the series. After finishing the series and thinking about it, I do think that the author relies a bit too much on deus ex machina, although he couches it in the idea of some kind of weighting of the cosmic dice--certain outcomes WANT to happen. The characters seem a bit oblivious about obvious conclusions as well, mostly as a plot device. Lastly, there were some threads that were dropped that seemed to be launching points for major plot movements, for instance the "experiment" discussed by Degan Gaunt and the older Wizard before the fall of the Old Empire.
However, these are picayune distractions from an otherwise excellent work of fiction and conclusion of a series. I have not enjoyed a series of books this much for ages. While WANTING more, I never had the feeling that I NEEDED more--that there were fundamental questions left unanswered.
Kudos to Michael Sullivan and Gerard Reynolds on an audio masterpiece.
I was a tiny bit disappointed when the author dropped the episodic stories in favor of a large over-arching plot. I loved the episodic stories of the first book and was hoping for more. That disappointment soon disappeared as the real plot of the series took off. I loved the book so much that there are no spoilers in this review. Suffice to say that in this book the stories of the several characters are told from several different viewpoints a la Lord of the Rings. The events unfold, triumphs and disappointments, and the tension builds to leave us wondering what will happen in the next volume.
Tim Reynolds is an excellent voice actor, not only are each of the characters, men and women, voice differently, they have different characters that come through the voice stylings. Especially in such a rich and varied world, it is amazing that after a very short time you forget that you are listening to a single voice actor instead of an acting troop.
I can hardly wait to start listening to the next book.
The first word that comes to mind when thinking about this book is "generous." Michael Sullivan's initial introduction to the characters and world of Theft of Swords would be a stand alone book if written by some other authors, but for him it is just the start of a rollicking series of adventures. The episodic nature of the stories in this book is reminiscent of Fritz Lieber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series. However, that is not to say that this book is in any way a pastiche, the characters in this book are both lighter and more concentrated, but it does have that same spirit of episodic story telling involving two swashbuckling rogues.
The characters are likeable, the world is rich and detailed, and the action moves along at a fast pace. I really loved this book and look forward to the next one in the series.
Yes! Susan Duerden is brilliant. Not only is her Myfanwe perfect, but her male voices are fantastic! She does so many voices, accents (her Belgians are hilarious), tones, mannerisms, I was constantly amazed when I realized it was all one person! Daniel O'Malley's story is great, but combined with Susan Duerden's performance it was possibly the best listen ever!
More than a particular moment, it was the tone and constant banter of the characters along with a plethora of ideas. Daniel O'Malley throws out a constant barrage of ideas, each of which could easily sustain a multiple chapter arch, as single use one-liners or punch lines.
It made me smile, chuckle and laugh out loud! It also had moments of poignancy, but it is a light hearted romp, not a tear jerker.
I am eagerly awaiting another audio book from this team. Unfortunately, I am not into romances because I would dearly love to hear more books performed by Susan Duerden.
Yes, it worked really well on an emotional and human relationship level. It would have been a perfect story except many of the procedural aspects were simply wrong or so implausible that they made me cringe. Nevertheless, even with the flaws I gave the story a four out of five, and Kirsten Potter's performance made up for any plot holes.
The emotional weight of the story and the superb characterizations by both Lisa Gardner and Kirsten Potter.
The way she captured the inner life of the characters.
It did not make me cry, but it did make my eyes mist a bit a couple of times.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.