Robin Hobb always amazes me with how well she develops characters. Her ability to accurately portray a variety of unique points of view is verging on unparalleled, and this new series is the pinnacle of said skill. While the plot isn't particularly fast paced, or full of swashbuckling action, the characters emotional and mental journeys are the driving force behind the narrative. A definite must read for anyone interested in seeing a master at work.
I enjoyed this story for what it was, but in terms of a Brandon Sanderson book, I expected much more.
This book read like a Mistborn FanFic set in an alternate reality with the Prof fulfilling the role of Kelsier, and the main character having a lot of similarities to Vin and with elements of Joel from the Rithmatist thrown in there.
I don’t want to toss out a bunch of other cross-Sanderson novels, but none of the characters in Steelheart feel like entirely original people. Each one has Sanderson analogs in other books, or at best, can be considered a mishmash of Sanderson characters.
I liked the Rithmatist a whole lot, and in an overarching sense, is a far better representation of a Sanderson young adult novel. Brandon Sanderson is very good at revealing plot twists and surprise character motivations, but in steelheart, I found myself not only being able to spot the twists, but even being able to be very specific with who a certain character was well before midway through the book.
Again, I did enjoy the story as a well-paced, action packed, fun read, but for a Sanderson book, it misses the mark.
I have never been a fan of these narrators. I do, however, appreciate that they read the entire series. I have been an audio book reader for all my life and over the years, consistency has proven to be extremely important.
A Memory of Light is a traditional massive fantasy series. It could be compared to tons of books as Robert Jordan has been incredibly influential in the genre. He made many literary mistakes over the years, but the things he did right, he did better than anyone else. This is a series writers could learn from for years to come, and readers will be inspired by.
Michael and Kate both have an odd cadence to their voice, and Michael tends to sound extremely monotone; those combined with the fact that they both read at a glacial pace drives me insane and has me reaching for the speed up button on my iPhone app.
A Memory of Light, being the last book in a massive series, had many moments that moved me, made me cry, and made me smile. Letting go of these characters, letting go of a series that has spanned over half my life was hard, but in the end, the journey was worth it. These books changed my life.
I would have to admit that in terms of wording, narrative pacing, etc that AMoL is not the strongest book in the series. However, the content more than makes up for it. Not everything is spoon-fed to the reader and some threads don't get tied off. I could see how for a certain subset of readers, those facts could be frustrating, but for readers like me, who like messy, bitter-sweet, not simple endings, you'll have a blast.
This book, like many fantasy books now-a-days, tries to break traditional fantasy cliches. Of course, anyone who reads enough fantasy knows that "breaking cliches" is becoming its own cliche.
What people tend to mean when they say a fantasy series isn???t cliche is that it focuses on political struggles and doesn???t have good versus evil, but, as this author says, "bad verses worse." The problem I tend to have with these sorts of novels is that I wind up not liking any of the characters and feeling like I???m just reading for the entertainment value, or for appreciation of the prose, rather than for any real investment in the world, itself.
In this book, the prose is standard, at best, and the political intrigue is mysterious, but not terribly complex. I feel like there are enough fighting scenes that a good portion of it feels gratuitous, but entertaining.
The characters are reasonably well done. Each character has a personal mental journey to undergo, naturally; however, much of it, for each character, feels a tad repetitive.
The narrator for this series, Steven Pacey, is well above average and does a good job of making a mediocre series well worth my time and credits.
I would recommend to any genre fan that needs something to read.
Michael Page is, as usual, just a fantastic reader. He keeps all the voices the same over all three books, and considering these have been coming out once a year, it's just an amazing attention to detail that is the hallmark of a class A narrator.
Now, reviewing the third book of a series seems sort of silly. Either the first two books have hooked you, or they haven't. I suppose this would be for those of you who are on the fence, really. And if you are, I encourage you to continue on.
I don't wish to give anything away, so I'll be general and say that this book has a lot of sorrow, a lot of humor, a lot of things we've been waiting for, and many things we haven't; the scope of magic increases; the world expands; and our concept of what is happening becomes clearer. All in all, it's an excellent addition to the series, and the end makes it far easier to wait for the final installment than the previous book's cliffhanger.
The narrator made this book for me. The story is very good--I've read the two books in the series so far--but Michael Page brought it alive in a way few narrators can.
The description of this book compares the writer with George Martin, but that is extremely misleading. George Martin is a good writer, true, but his stories have no clear-cut heroes, no good guys or bad guys, which makes it difficult to root for any of them. This disconnection between the reader and the characters makes one enjoy the story, admire the art of prose, and marvel at the characterization, but lacks a certain something that makes his books truly great.
But this isn't a review of George Martin.
Robert Redick's books are about people who recognize the corruption within their respective empires and amongst their respective peoples, and rather than submitting for the sake of solidarity, choose to do the right thing. Unlike other fantasy books, where the enemy is a demon, or someone possessed by evil magic, the enemies are people who think they have the right to rule unjustly, and treat the world like crap due to some sense of entitlement.
Robert Redick's ability to make the fight for good feel like a true struggle for the protagonists is amazing. I found a few of the good guys rather obnoxious, which can make the story difficult to get through at times, but overall, I'm very glad I purchased these books. I will warn you, though, that the series isn't complete, yet, and the second book ends on a rather extreme cliffhanger.
All the same, a definite must read for any fantasy reader.
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