George Martin has written a "lot" of things including several television shows, shorts, and novels, even about vampires (before that was all the rage), and he is good at all of it. I think it is his varied experience that makes this my favorite book series of all time. The world in this series has all the depth and breadth to create a framework second to none. But, it is the author's skill that brings this world to life through the eyes of his characters with such a balance of story and action that it would be impossible to read it without a huge screen appearing in your mind as you watch the story unfold in effortless detail.
This is one of the few book series that kept me up at night because I couldn't put it down, literally. This is one of the handful of "series" authors that has no problem killing off main and likeable characters. That fact alone will keep you on the edge of your seat because when your favorite character gets into a tough situation, you don't know if they will survive or not!
These books are written from the viewpoints of the characters, not the author. Many times, he will even play out the same scene multiple times from the viewpoint of different characters. You get the know the landscape and the characters very well, but it is not by reading chapters of boring back-story, lineage, or pages of self-absorbed reflection, but simply through the telling of the story.
I think you could teach a George R.R. Martin writing class to simply study his form, his pace, his willingness to throw pieces around the board (and sometimes get them killed), and his nearly perfect mixture of action and drama. This series showcases his talent, but is more clearly a marriage of his experience writing novels, shorts, and scripts across various genres. You don't accidentally write like George Martin. He has worked long and hard to hone his craft, eaten his writing vegetables, traveled widely, watched the world with a critical eye, and done his research. You and I are the richer for it.
You should also listen to these books if for no other reason than they are narrated by Roy Dotrice. Every voice and inflection is perfect, memorable, and never make you cringe or wonder who is speaking. The characters come to life making this series the most perfect blending of author and narration that you will find in an audio book, hands down. I've listened to audio recordings with a full cast that still weren't as good as the performance here by Roy Dotrice.
I started listening to this series seven years ago and I am still the most excited about the next (and last) book that has yet to be released. Games of Thrones is now a cultural phenomenon, and it couldn't have happened to a more worthy series of books. It's ironic since the author left television because he wasn't allowed to create at an epic scale, so he left a successful career to write these novels, but then got the funding from HBO to take it back full circle onto our television screens in epic scale. Just deserts I say!
I'll admit it, I'm a grown man and I still like comic books. I don't have a "collection" per se, I just really like the art and the inventiveness of the storylines. So, I thought this was a very cool re-imagining of the whole super-being concept (and it is). I also really really like Brandon Sanderson's writing and have read all of his previous books.
Why did I give the "Story" three stars then? It's hard to pinpoint exactly, but I really thought it could have been better. One aspect is the information that is withheld until near the end of the book answered some of the questions that bugged me through the whole thing and I thought the author was just trying to be a little too cute by withholding some of these things. It's also very very hard to pull sci-fi/fantasy into the real world in a successful way. When you build a completely new world, you can suspend all disbelief, but when your book opens in a bank lobby in Chicago, my mind starts putting me in those places and thinking about what I would do.
I also have a hard time believing that completely normal people would stand any kind of a chance against someone with more powers than superman or that superman would need any kind of an armed military. Also, if someone like superman could rule Chicago, why would they stop there? Do ego-maniacs ever have enough?
So, see, maybe it's just my geek brain getting in my own way. I would probably like it even more if I listened to it again, knowing what I know now, and making an active effort to suspend disbelief.
This book is clearly laying groundwork for what I hope will be an epic series. Yes, I will certainly listen to the next book, it's Brandon Sanderson for crying out loud! I promise to be a better listener next time around :)
The narration was very good!
The characters were well done and complex. There was plenty of action and interaction. This is a very inspired concept!
This book is over-the-top in an Indiana Jones Temple of Doom way. It's the least believable book in the series so far. I couldn't stand listening to the characterization of Mike Fink. But actually, his characterization kind of fits the whole book to me, too big, too noisy, and just plain unbelievable. I actually laughed out loud at the preposterous nature of a big scene near the end.
Note to writer/editor: You cannot have a verbal reading of a journal entry that the person never wrote down and it was only in their mind!
I have loved all of the previous books in this series. So, I'm going to listen to one more. If it doesn't redeem the series for me, I'll stop there. Also, if they don't either consumate their relationship or break it cleanly in the next book, I'm going to be quite unhappy. Enough is enough I say.
Engine problems, because it never got started. Or better yet, barely got started by the end. The overall feel of "didn't go anywhere" of the book applies to the writing all along the way. There is a ton of description about meaningless stuff that doesn't lead anywhere. I really like detailed descriptions if they actually mean something to the characters or storyline, but this writer writes detailed descriptions about meaningless things, then flies through things that should be meaningful. If you like knowing that someone was "walking West along a wall that ran Southeast against the North side of the city perpendicular to the East-West crossing", then this is the book for you. I don't mind this kind of description if it ties into the story, or is going to be a long battle, or has some general purpose, but it didn't.
The narration is almost adequate. Better than just being read to, mostly.
If the whole book were like the last 20%, it would have been much better. There are lots of ways to get to know characters and tell their backstory without having to labor through it.
I bought this book some time ago, started to listen to it and absolutely hated it! Maybe it was just me, maybe my head wasn't in the right place. When I recently ran out of other listening material and decided to just hunker down and bear it, so I started over from the beginning again. I originally rated it 1 star, but as you can see, have revised my rating to 4 stars :)
In the beginning, I didn't like the narrator, his voice sounded like he had a very bad cold, which maybe he did (or maybe he just grew on me) because I found myself really liking him after a while. I'm not sure if his voice changed or if I just grew accustomed to him.
This book can be very confusing at times, which may only be true in Audio form. It changes between time, place, and character sets quite often and there is little indication (at least in the audio format) when that is happening, so I went through some confusion at the start of each new segment.
The author uses a lot of complex foreign words to name things, people, places, events, etc. which change depending on the person's point of view from which he is writing. Yes, it may be very authentic, but many times I found myself not even trying to figure out what was being said or referred to, and just waiting to pick up the clues based on context. For example, one character may have 5+ parts to his/her name (think middle eastern) but also have 2 or 3 additional names due to their classification in the society. Add on top of that the point of view of the speaker and you will understand why, many times, it took me a while to even understand who was speaking or to whom they were speaking.
Okay, that's the bad stuff... This truly is a sweeping and epic novel that covers a lot of territory, nations, characters, and time. The story lines are complex, but very fulfilling and creative. The inter-personal relationships are also complex and satisfying. The action is fairly constant and well done.
Overall, I found myself very drawn into the story, captivated by the action, empathetic with the characters, and sad when the book ended. If you don't let any of the negatives get to you early on, you will be rewarded with yet another great novel in this series!
I really enjoyed this book! How many times can you say that, even of a really good book. Not only is the writing great, but the narration is excellent, and the action just keeps on coming. It's not a complex work of fiction, but I don't think it was intended to be. It is a good story that keeps getting better. The length of this book was perfect (I complained that the last one was too short).
I miss the ship and the rolling sea, but the story is kept fresh with a new setting and new set of characters. I'll be downloading the 3rd book in this series as soon as I get more credits :)
This book was over way to quickly, I wanted more (so I'm off to download the next book in the series). If you want to get lost in a fun story set upon the high seas, this is the book for you. The performance was so good that it was like listening to someone telling their own story.
It wasn't perfect... many of the characters were very stereotyped. However, the main character was so atypical that it made up for the rest of the typical cast of characters for the most part. But, introducing some additional non-standard characters would have made a really good book, great. Also, the book should have been longer (I can't believe I said that, but it's true). I know this is a series and I'm sure I will get to know the characters very well in other books, but there were lots of parts of this book that went by way to quickly.
I happen to love books about ships, sailing, military, pirates, adventure, and plunder. I think one of the things I like about this combination is that you can't just walk away from a ship (or the military) and I like to see all of the inter-personal threads unwind as people are forced together in these kinds of environments, especially when matters of treasure and life-and-death fighting is introduced into the mix. It brings out the worst and the best in humankind. I mean really, what more can you want?!
Dawn Cook (a.k.a Kim Harrison) does not disappoint! Some authors let you down after 2 or 3 books, but this is book 8 and this one is just as good as the first. Some witchcraft, demons, pixies, vampires, demons, romance, action, comedy, and some top notch voice-acting make this series a pure joy to listen to.
Another great book in this series. "Good on ya", Larry Correia, and keep them coming!!
I really did like this book! I wanted to like it a lot more, but two things brought it down. First, the narrator is really good, but during the parts of the book with no characters speaking, she gets very sing-songy and it drove me just a bit crazy (not hard to do) if I thought about it too much. I can't find it anywhere, but I swear she also did some narration on The Golden Compass audiobook. I like everything about her except that every sentence has to end going....uuuuup. This was actually more minor than the second thing.
The second thing I couldn't get past was the antagonists, the grafters. Their capabilities are supposedly based on pure science, but they can do things that go far beyond the people who have super abilities! I LOVE science, so I was just unable to accept this concept of a totally secret group of people who have the scientific abilities attributed to them in the book. If the grafters had some supernatural leader that was channeling supernatural energy to make all of their stuff possible, I could even buy that, but to say it was pure science, bah! To say there were people who centuries ago could men who could craft flesh and organs with capabilities beyond what we have available even today, nope. For me, this all but ruined a really good book and since it is clear that they will have a part in a sequel, I doubt I'll be buying that either.
I REALLY liked this book in the beginning. I liked it pretty good in the middle. I liked it well enough to try to finish it by three quarters. I didn't really like it at the end.
Why? It's hard to say exactly, but it started out as a cool story with a interesting concept, a wide array of characters and a goodly amount of mystery. Near the end, most of the mystery was gone, the characters got stale, the story broke down, and things just went off the sci-fi rails.
Maybe it was just my mood, the phase of the moon, or maybe this review is right. In any case, it would be a worthwhile read just for the first half, very inventive! The narration is very good as well.
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