I wouldn't recommend this series to just anybody because you have to be willing to enjoy a story in which mythological creatures, gods and goddesses play a major role. The series, and this book of it, is full of rollicking fun once you are willing to take the plunge.
The druid's dog is my favorite character.
I listened to the entire series performed by Luke Daniels, and his performance is the best I have ever heard. He is ideally suited for this series. I don't know if I would have enjoyed the books as much had I read them myself.
Kate Reading and Michael Kramer do the same good job reading this volume as the previous Wheel of Time volumes. I enjoyed Kate's rendition enormously, but Michael Kramer's not so much, but that is a matter of personal preference. As other reviewers have mentioned, the audio often pauses inexplicably for a couple of seconds (luckily not in the middle of a sentence), and every once in a while sentences are repeated. This didn't really bother me though.
What did bother me was trying to keep track of all the storylines and characters. Jordan gives even minor characters names, and it is terribly hard to keep them all straight, especially when listening to the books in audio format. When I listen to Audible books I am usually doing something else at the same time (e.g. driving), so can't give the book my undivided attention. I find myself looking up the names on one of the World of Time fan websites all the time to keep track of who the minor characters are, what faction they belong to, etc. I have found it helpful to read a summary of what is going to happen in a chapter before actually listening to it, and I have never had to do that with any other author.
This series is very long, so I probably won't listen to it again. Having said that, the Lord of Chaos was a good volume and kept the suspense going. I did find it a bit trying to keep all the characters straight, e.g. the Lords of the different kingdoms, the Aes Sedai and Wise Ones belonging to the different factions.What I really hate about this series are the women. I found them all distasteful and completely unbelievable: Nynaeve pulling on her braid, Siuan swearing like a sailor, Elaine acting like a stuck up snit, the aggressiveness of the Aiel women, etc etc. And I found it unbelievable that any man would put up with, let alone fall in love with, women who acted like, for example, Nynaeve or Faile or Aviendha. I've never before read a book or a series where I would have been happy to see the main female characters all be killed off early on. The only main female character I liked so far was Moraine. I started reading the series in book form years ago, but stopped reading it because the women drove me crazy. Apparently most readers are not bothered by the depiction of the female characters, so I guess this is a matter of taste.
The thing I like best about the Wheel of Time series is how the characters evolve (at least the men: Matt, Perrin and Rand).
I really enjoyed Kate Reading's performance - I was always glad when the narration switched over to her. I liked the way Michael Kramer gave different characters different voices (especially Loial the Ogier), but his normal narration irritated me for some reason. I did get used to it over the first 6 volumes, but never learned to like it. This is of course a matter of taste, and I don't mean to be too critical. At all times the narration of both Kate and Michael was smooth and professionally done.
I read (and re-read) the Belgariad back in 1984-1985 and remember it as one of my all-time favorite series. Listening to the audio version of book 1, Pawn of Prophecy, I was thoroughly entertained and I will purchase the other books in the series.
The series could be a disappointment for readers who expect in-depth characterization. The characters in this series are all well-differentiated with distinct personalities, but they struck me a little like characters in a comic book, rather than living people. The only point of view is Garion's, and he is surrounded by a cast of eccentric characters, whose thoughts you never hear. There is a great amount of banter and teasing between the characters, and sometimes this playfulness seems overdone. I have to say that I didn't get this feeling back in the 1980's when I first read the series, but I have been spoiled by having read other epic series in the meantime such as George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire.
I still recommend the series for anyone who is interested in a lightweight fantasy classic with a likeable cast of characters.
I liked the narration by Cameron Beierle on the whole. It did disturb me to hear some names pronounced differently than I always pronounced them in my head, but I suppose that would be the case no matter who narrated the story. What bothered me even more is that Cameron Beierle wasn't always consistent himself with the pronounciation. He pronounced Polgara both with the accent on the first syllable and with the accent on the second syllable. He sometimes pronounced
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