I got this primarily because of the narrators, having just watched the Battlefield Galactica series on DVD. Then I read the premise and fell in love with the idea of a shared world! The only problem is the stories are not really sharing very much. IMO there's 1 stinky story, 3 average stories, and the best one is kind of a comedic story and doesn't fit in with the rest at all. The narration was not all that great either. The coolness factor of hearing familiar voices disappates after about 10 minutes.
Having listened to A tale of two cities and not really enjoying it, I was really not looking forward to a book by the same author that was twice as long. I was shocked to find this one of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to. Dickens's characters are so well developed, it's mind boggling. Even the ridiculously cartoonish ones (of which there are a few) leap to life and demand to be taken seriously. And yet, it's all wrapped up in this package of pure, dry, British wit that makes it fresh and funny. That being said there are heart-wrenching moments too. I admit to having a very large lump in my throat at a couple occasions. The performance is the other thing. I almost never notice the reader because I get so lost in the stories, but Vance's performance demands your attention in a good way. I was always lost in the story but also always aware of the skill and deftness with which Vance guided me through the book. I can honestly say I wouldn't have enjoyed the book half so much without Vance's tones of voice and delivering the various bits of humor with the exact degree of dryness they require. I honestly can't recommend this book enough!
I can't say enough good things about this book. It transends fantasy for me and rates at the very top of every book I've ever read. After 2 lengthy books in this series, and with 4 more to go, Mr. Martin has a lot to do in this book. With several point of view characters and plotlines floating around, even a highly skilled author would feel daunted by what needs to be done. Martin pulls it of spectacularly. His ability to wrap up something like 6 different storylines, one after the other at the end of this book is pure skill and perfection. It inspired me. It's that good. I've had aspiring writers read this and tell me it put them into doubt whether they had any business writing anything. Anyway, the series itself is fantastic, and thus far, this is the shining jewel of the whole series!
I somehow came across the "Christmas poem" from this book in college. A year later I discovered it came from this book and added it to my Amazon wishlist to remind me to check it out. 10 years after that I got this audio book and listened to it. This book is kind of like a Catcher in the Rye for the 1990s. The main character is young, but intelligent. The observations he makes about his life and people he comes into contact with are just compelling. He's a lot whimpier than ol' Caufield but a great character in his own right. The narration is wonderful and I doubt I could read the book at this point without hearing Johnny Heller's voice. Highly Recommended.
The idea for this story is fantastic, unfortunately, the author doesn't seem to know what to do with it. The whole first part of this book was brilliant and worth the price of admission just for the thought provoking ideas it puts across. I found my mind wandering about the universe and quite frankly, I appreciate the nights sky a bit more having read this. That being said, there are some major issues. Firstly, the main character(s) don't seem to change much, especially when you consider the book begins with them as high school kids and ends during their 40s(?), and that EPIC changes are happening to the world around them. The storyline is littered with flashbacks but it doesn't matter because the main character seems stuck as a generic 30 something throughout the book. Pages and pages of interesting concepts and intreging mysteries seem to just cut off with a "well, this is as much as we can learn so we'll stop talking about it." and the whole story ends with a whimper. If you've got an extra credit floating aorund this month, this isn't a bad choice, but there are better stories out there.
First a couple disclaimers: 1. I only know Sanderson for his finishing Jordan's epic (though I only made it to book 8 in that series). 2. This is a difficult audio-book, because of the way it's broken up, shifting point of views and a reference guide at the back that would be really helpful while listening. All that being said, this is the first Sanderson book I've "read" and I've never seen a text copy, but I was able to follow most of it, despite the things I mention. IMO, good fantasy comes from the environment, the world created, as much as it does the story and characters. Who'd want to read about Frodo's journey from rural Maine to LA? Sanderson's world is amazing, complex and filled with ideas that fit together like a puzzle. Unlike certain other authors I could mention, the climatic ending didn't end in 2 pages where the main character discovers he has omnipicent powers and just vanquishes the evil dark lord with a clap of his hands. Instead, it ended over the course of at least an hour of gripping storytelling, with the characters building on things they've been piecing together throughout the whole book. Another great thing is the lack of good vs. evil. The good guys are flawed, and the grand enemy are really just other people. So the book is filled with complex emotional struggles over right and wrong. Anyway, I highly recommend this book and can't wait to experience the rest of the series!
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