first off, the narrator for this audiobook is great and his somber tone fits the material well. Also, no prerequisite knowledge of WWII is necessary for reading this one. It is pretty self-contained.
The writing itself can be at times a little bland, especially when statistics counting the number of people who died are read off. However, the author artfully intersperses within these larger numbers personal stories about actual people who died, their dreams and hopes, which really help the listener get a grip on the tragedy that occurred in the "bloodlands". Even still, the scale of the killing which took place in this region is difficult to comprehend and often forced me to reflect on the value of humans and the individual meanings they each may have for their lives.
This book is definitely a downer, but is a story very much worth hearing.
The reader is absolutely great and really makes the characters believable.
Many new dynamics (e.g. the rebels) are introduced in this book and I'm hoping that he is setting up for further books in this universe.
When I was younger I read a decent amount of fantasy fiction, but had mostly given up on it over the last decade or so because most of the writing is just terrible. The First Law series is the first I've listened to in a long time that I've actually finished - the characters are very well done, the plot is exciting and full of violence, intrigue, sex, questioning of morality, etc., there are a few pacing issues but these are easy to overlook given the overall quality of these books.
Also, Steven Pacey couldn't have done a better job. His range of voices is incredible and the inflection accords perfectly with each characters personality.
Highly recommended, even for those who have mainly lost interest in fiction (not to mention fantasy).
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