Like most people, it was Neal Stephenson's name that drew me to this book. Then I read the description and it sounded like a great story, it however, falls short of that. It's not bad and it's not great, it's just okay. The story is interesting and has kept my interest despite the characters not having a lot of depth or development.
I don't mind the writing by committee so much, however, there are a few things about the writing that really stand out to me. One, the authors often use turns of phrase, idioms, common phrases, slang, whatever you want to call them that are common today but seem out of place for the mid 13th century. Not being a historian, I have no idea what common phrases were used in the time this story is set, but many of the phrases used by the authors feel out of place. The other thing that stands out to me is that the characters are pretty well learned and knowledgeable, and most of them speak multiple languages. Again, I'm not a historian, so maybe this was commonplace during this time, I don't know. It just seems kind of convenient.
The one huge thing about this book, and most other reviewers have commented on this, is the fact that the book just stops at the end. No story lines are tied up, wrapped up, or even sufficiently put in a decent position to be paused, the book just stops. I've already started listening to book two, and as I suspected, book two basically picks up where book one left off. It seems like, and I'll have to confirm this once I start book three, that they wrote one book and for some reason or another the decision was made to cut it up in multiple books after the fact.
Luke Daniels narration is pretty good, not great, but it is good.
Overall I liked the story enough to move right into book two. Ultimately it's a fictional tale and in that respect it's fun and entertaining.
While the story is not horrible and Wells seems to be a pretty decent writer, there are some glaring things about this book that really irked me.
One, everything comes way too easy for the main character, Alexander. A simple boy (his older brother was being groomed to be the savior of the world, not him), who at various points throughout the story admits he has no knowledge of fighting, war, politics, etc., somehow instantaneously gains vast knowledge in swordsmanship (granted he gains that through a magic book), becomes extremely adept at court politics, and is a master commander of men and fighting tactics. Where did all this come from? None of his retinue (sword master, wizard, bard, etc.) seem to actually teach him anything. Where is the character development? Which leads me to my next point.
Two, the characters are...boring. At no point in the book did I care what happened to any of them. They have no depth, there's no development, there's no growth, there are just kind of there, making their way through the world.
I couldn't wait to get to the end of this book, not because I wanted to see how it ended but because I just wanted it to be done. No way I continue the series, it's not worth the time for me.
Derek Perkins does a decent job with his narration. At no point did his recitation of the story bother me. He doesn't really add to or take anything away from the book.
Wow! This book was...awesome! I was hooked from the beginning. I can't believe this is Weir's first book. The writing is seemless and it flows, which is helped along by the incredible story. I was so engrossed in this book. Weir paints an unbelievable picture and made me feel like I was right there beside Watney on Mars. I loved the problem solving aspect of the story and all the math and engineering (I guess it helps I'm an engineer by trade). Overall, this book is amazing! Get it, you won't be disappointed.
R.C. Bray's performance was just as amazing as the story. He IS Mark Watney.
What a fun book! I play tabletop RPGs and have wanted to try the Iron Kingdoms RPG, but didn't realize this story was set in that world until after the fact. It didn't diminish the book at all. The story, writing, and characters were really quite good. The plot was a bit predictable, but the characters were so much fun, I was paying less attention to the plot than I was the people in the book. I loved the fantasy elements of the book too, the world, the people, the technology (which is less about Correia's writing than it is about the Iron Kingdom verse, but it was still very well written into the book by Correia).I wish this wasn't a one off because I would love to read more about Madigan's Malcontents!
Ray Porter's recitation of the book is absolutely amazing! This is the first book I've heard him narrate, and he's awesome. My next book may be decided based solely on if he's the narrator.
Based on the description, I was pretty excited about this book, but after the first story I was extremely disappointed. By the end, I was bored to tears. The stories were not interesting at all. I didn't care one bit for any of the characters, and I didn't feel like the writing was very good either. The stories just didn't grab me. It's a shame, I thought this was going to be a fun book, but it just wasn't for me.
This was a fun book. It had a cute story and while the plot was a little on the weak side I felt like the characters and their relationships with one another really drove this book.
Wheaton's performance, while not great, wasn't horrible either. It was...pedestrian, and got the job done.
I love this series (and I really liked this book) and Butcher is an amazing author, but the Dresden books are starting to become a little bit of rinse and repeat. Let me explain, I love how Harry's story (and the stories of all his supporting characters) advances with each book. We learn more about Harry and the further down the rabbit hole we go the better the story gets. However, Butcher seems to be following a pattern lately, Harry gets into situations that are seemingly impossible to get out of, gets physically and mentally injured to the point of not even being able to maintain consciousness most times, and always gets out of the situation (although never unscathed, which I understand is part of Harry's character developing, the plot moving along, etc.). I don't have a problem with this scenario in general as long as it doesn't happen that often. The problem I have is that it seems to be happening with more frequency in the Dresden books, like two or three times a book, and it's getting a little old, and in Skin Game, I felt like there was a bit of deus ex machina which rubbed me the wrong way. Don't get me wrong though, I still thought it was a really good book and can't wait for the next installment in the series.
James Marsters IS Harry Dresden. There is no other way to put it. He was made for this role and his performance on this book was as amazing as all his others.
This book blew me away! It grabbed me from the very beginning and didn't let go even after it was over. The story was absolutely amazing! Disclaimer: I was raised in the 80s and grew up listening to the music, watching the tv/movies, reading the books/comics, and playing the games (some, not all) that Cline uses in this book. I was instantly transported back to my childhood every time I hit play to continue listening to this book.
Not only is the story great but Cline's writing is very good too. It flows, it's crisp, and he's very descriptive, sometimes to a fault. The story was tight and never really lagged. The one part I didn't care for was Wade basically forgetting about the contest as he falls in love with Artemis. That seemed a stretch to me (since his entire life revolved around the contest), but, maybe Cline writing it that way speaks more to the fact that Wade was disconnected entirely from the real world and suddenly he had someone who truly wanted to know about him, spend time with him, and talk to him, even if it was in a virtual environment. It showed how truly alone he was, which may have been Cline's intention.
Wil Wheaton's narration was pedestrian. He does an okay job, not so bad that it annoyed me, I have heard worse, but he basically uses the same voice for every character. Not sure I can fault him for that, he's not a voice actor/narrator by trade and I've become spoiled by listening to amazing narrators like Michael Kramer, James Marsters, Craig Wasson, and Davina Porter.
Overall, this book is a must listen too!
This book is a nice continuation of the first, and overall, the story that Russell tells is very entertaining. I did feel a little let down in that I kept expecting some huge denouement, and while the story does wrap up nicely, I was expecting the main character to perform some otherwordly feat(s). Russell built him up so much, but maybe that was the point, while everyone around Shuyun expects great things from him, ultimately I feel like he is only looking for enlightenment, which he ultimately finds.
One other thing that I was confused about is the missing scrolls. Maybe I missed it somewhere in the reading, but I don't feel like Russell ever told us where the scrolls went. Did I just miss it? Possibly.
Overall, Alexander's narration was pretty good, although he does have a few voices that just don't work that well (like the one that sounds eerily like Yoda, yikes, it was not good).
This was a very good book. The world that Russell creates is beautiful and intriguing. He "paints" a magnificent landscape with gorgeous settings and characters. The writing is pretty good, although it does seem to slip at times, but not so often that it takes away from the overall story. Russell provides a great mix of action, tension, quiet meditation scenes, war, fighting, and court intrigue that keeps the story fresh and keeps the reader engaged.
One thing I did not like was a story line he introduces very early in the book, and to me seemed like it would be central to the book, but he leaves it behind and only touches on it briefly throughout the rest of the book. Maybe he'll spend more time on it in the second book. Other than that, it's a really good book.
Elijah Alexander does a pretty good job with the narration, however, there is something about his voice that took me quite a while to get used to. He is very breathy and often soft spoken which was very distracting for me at first. Most of his character voices are quite good and distinct, but some are just bad, such as the horrible Yoda type voice he uses for one of the minor characters.
Overall, I'd recommend this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The third book wraps up all the main story lines nicely and like the first two books is fun to listen to. It's not spectacular in any way, but it was a good listen. See my reviews of the first two books for my thoughts on the writing.
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