I pasted what I had for this review in Word, and it was 4 full pages, and still not done, so I decided to shorten it...
While this series is one of my favorites, it's not one I recommend to everyone. Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series is a long journey, both wonderful and painful, that I had to listen to twice before I could truly appreciate it's coherent beauty. While most of the books I couldn't put down, a couple got quite long, and all tend to have A LOT of detail - from what people are wearing to what everyone is thinking about every facet of what they're about to do...
Robert Jordan passed away, before completing the series. Mr. Jordan's wife then made the two best decisions possible for the series, given the heartbreaking loss of her husband:
1. Ask Brandon Sanderson to complete the series
2. Do it in three books instead of one
What Brandon Sanderson did with completing Robert Jordan's series, was the work of a true master. Mr. Sanderson is not just a great writer, he truly loves this series. You can see it in his work - he knows and understands each of the characters - and is emotionally attached to them as Jordan was, and as I am. I mean no disrespect to Robert Jordan when I say that Brandon Sanderson channeling Robert Jordan is as good as, if not better, than Robert Jordan alone.
After 20+ years of marching toward the final battle, as confident as I was that Mr. Jordan had this story done right, I was honestly prepared to be at least a little disappointed, but I was not. These last three books were awesome, and I feel this part of my life (yes, I mean this series) is complete. Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Jordan, and Mr. Sanderson. Also, thanks to the narrators Kate Reading and Michael Kramer who were there for the whole series!
My dad was looking for a new series...I'd heard good things about this one - so I picked up book 1 to evaluate - and that was going to be it. It was good, and I got a bunch of the paperbacks for my dad, the end.
Well...then there was that 3 for 2 sale...so I got 2 and 3...so I could discuss with my dad. Thing is...the series starts getting good right around book 3. I had a bunch of credits...so, fine, I'll get one more...Now I'm on the last hour of book 10, and just spent my LAST credit on book 11. Every time I tell myself this will be the last one, and every time I'm buying the next one before the one I'm on is done.
Butcher does an excellent job of catching you up on what happened in the previous book - and by "excellent", I mean he spends about 15 seconds hitting the high points - perfect. The characters in this series all just continue to grow on me - Dresden is a very lovable main character - but the other characters are just as good - Murphy, Michael, Marcone, Toot-toot, Thomas, Ivy, Kincaid, Molly - my god - I'm just realizing how long the list of characters I like is...and yeah, some of the few I listed aren't in book 1...or aren't...as important yet.
Marsters is an excellent narrator - I'd have given him 5 stars, except that he makes a few small changes throughout the series - from the voice or accent of a character to the pronunciation of a name - and in his defense, the changes are few - and they are the correct changes...
Anyway - the only real complaint I have about this series is that I go through the books so fast.
Let me warn you in advance, this is a long, 7-book series, and while the narrator for this and the next two books is great, he's replaced in books 4-7 with someone not as good - who seems to have not listened to the first 3 before getting started - I know this can be a deal-breaker for some...
That said, this is a pretty cool sci-fi series that sorta has the feel of an epic fantasy series. Humans in space, with discovered technology they have no business messing with, inadvertently start a war with a powerful alien race they didn't know existed... There are some cool ideas, interesting aliens, fun space battles, multiple (though not unpredictable) plot lines, and a big universe with a lot of characters. You could argue that maybe 7 books was a bit of a stretch, but it's not like I'm short on time - and the series stayed interesting throughout. One other reviewer hit the nail on the head though when he suggested the Hyperion series by Dan Simmons would be a better choice for someone looking for something similar, but better. But once you're done with that, this one is pretty good too.
Audible really needs to allow us to give half stars. Story would get 3.5 from me.
Not sure what the plans for this series are, but this is a pretty good start. Should point out right away that this is another "young adult" book, but one I enjoyed. In the beginning of the story (it's only 10 hours, btw) I was skeptical - story seemed full of holes, and it also...odd that it centered so much around chalk and the two-dimensional battles...but as I'd expect from Brandon Sanderson, it kept me interested throughout, and some of "holes", turned out to be deliberate (part of the story). I know this is the kind of book my kids will LOVE - adding it to the list of books I'll be buying for them when they're old enough! And, while I think Sanderson should stay focused on his "Way of Kings" series, if a second one in this series comes out, I'll get it. Michael Kramer is awesome, as usual.
While this book is meant for younger readers than me, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now that I have kids of my own, I can use the excuse that I'm previewing books for them, and I guess I really am - I have actually added this to the list I'm keeping of books that I'll be buying for them when they're old enough (along with titles like Ender's Game, The Foundling's Tale series, The Bartimaeus books, Wheel of Time, Lord of the Rings, The Discworld books, etc.).
The stories in this book are really well written. You might think stories about a boy brought up by ghosts in a graveyard because his parents were murdered when he was a baby might sound...a little dark. But they are really well done and quite fun and entertaining. I'd have given another half-star if I could.
Once again, I've ventured out of the sci-fi/fantasy genre...again with a book I never would have picked up on my own. I am not a diver, I know almost nothing about...the WWII related stuff...It sounds vaguely interesting, but the kind of thing I might watch on a Saturday afternoon on discovery...if I was sick...and nothing else was on.
But...this book...was really, really good. It's billed as a "True Adventure", and I'm sure it's as "based on a true story" as much of written history is... I only mean that some of the characters are so good, it seems like they can't be 100% real...I'm sure liberties were taken...but once I remembered that I usually read ONLY fiction, I didn't think about it again.
The whole thing is very well written...presented like a fast-paced action/adventure movie (that may not make sense, but it's the only way I can think of to describe it). They give exactly the right amount of information about diving and the dangers of deep wreck diving, backed up with horrifying real accounts. They give exactly the right amount of background on the main characters...no boring crap - really interesting and action packed stories... By the time they got to the diving...I couldn't put this book down...I was on the edge of my seat...
Now that all lasted for about 3/4 of the book - which is about the point any sane human being would have just "let it go", but Chatterton was obsessed. There are some more tense and exciting parts...but there is also entirely too much time devoted descriptions of the lives of non-characters... Don't let any of that stop you from getting the book though - even if you care nothing about diving or WWII history (beyond what you learned in school) - just get this one - seriously.
I'll admit, I'd never have picked this up without someone repeatedly prodding me to do so...but I'm really glad I did. I mostly read/listen to sci-fi/fantasy, so I'm skeptical about anything non-fiction...if I wanted non-fiction I'd watch the flippin' news (is about how my poor attitude would respond...) - but this story is good...hard to put the feeling into words - kind of intriguing and horrifying...on many levels. Not just the...main tragedy part - but what makes someone want to do this...the normal things they do...that they don't consider tragedies...from the catching and processing of whales, to the stuff that happens on the islands (like the Galapagos)...my god...
If you already know the story of the Essex, there probably isn't a ton of new info - but still worth the listen. If you don't know the story that was part of Melville's inspiration for Moby Dick, you should probably pick this one up!
Got this to check out Brandon Sanderson back when we learned he'd be finishing the Wheel of Time series, ended up getting the whole series, and loving it! Honestly, I'd give this one 4.5 stars - but it's good enough that I can't just give it 4! I've said it before, but Brandon Sanderson really knows how to write - not just new and very interesting ideas (like Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy), but also how to keep a reader/listener engaged (and he gets even better at this in the future...). If you're a fantasy fan and haven't read this series, you should get it! If you're new to the genre, add this to your wish list - you'll thank me later.
It's short (compared to some of my favorites), but what it lacks in size it makes up for in content. The level of detail is perfect, the world and characters are believable, and the story is interesting and fun. This series is definitely targeted for readers younger than myself, but it's one of those that's written well enough to be enjoyed by all. (Examples of other books targeted for younger readers I've enjoyed include the Bartimaeus series, Lord of the Rings, Ender's Game, the Discworld books, the Wheel of Time series, etc.).
All I mean is that the prologue is included in the book - which is going to be released in about 2 hours - so if you're getting that, there's (probably) no reason to also get this. I happily paid $2 for this before the book was released because...I'm deeply invested in Jordan's story, LOVE what Sanderson has been doing with it, and truly enjoy listening to these two narrators who have been here since book 1. I am sooooo excited to start listening to the actual book tomorrow!!!!!
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