Cameron's medieval realism is a surprisingly fresh take on fantasy. He combines what might seem trite or cliche concepts of damsels, knights in full armor, chivalry, sirs and m'lords into something brutal, fresh, visceral and all together cool. Cameron's background in medieval combat and living conditions comes through in remarkably vivid and believable combat scenes. There is a lot of it and it is an education. I love the way that he combines a somewhat christian theological background into the fantasy world of demons and monsters. It's very fresh.
I would put this book up with the best of genre. Comparisons to Martin are inevitable and Cameron holds his own. I found his action scenes as gripping as Abercrombe's. His magic system is great too.
The reading by Wolf was excellent. Voicing was clear, unique for each character and fit the subject matter wonderfully.
I found myself slightly sad when it was over and searching the web for a hint as to when the next book will be published. A sure sign of a good series.
This book was recommended to me by several friends who's opinions I respect so i gave it a shot. It turned out to be one of the most compelling scifi books I've read.
I prefer stories driven by deep, intriguing characters. Stories where you get inside their heads and understand their motivations, plots, dreams, and flaws. That isn't this book.
So why was it so good? Simply put, the grand scale, epic setting of a far flung future and thought provoking first contact between humans and aliens make this book impossible to ignore. I found myself thinking of the fundamental dilemas at the heart of the story well after I was finished reading it. The alien race is very convincing in it's detailed non-humanness. This is really the star of the book. L J Ganser does a good job in verbalizing this alienness and narrating in general.
I feel like the end was frustrating but on reflection I found it believable- we tend do solve our problems today in ways that don't really solve them... I can't say much more without spoiling things. :)
Keeping in mind that "Mote" was written in the 1970's may help those who can't accept the technological and cultural oddities that date it but I treated those elements as part of a human civilizations set so far in the future that it would have very little in common with ours that it kind of worked.
... it would be the Gentlemen Bastards series. If you enjoy movies like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch, you should enjoy The Gentlemen Bastards. Scott Lynch is a master at verbally painting the scenery of his worlds. He weaves in just enough details of the history and richness of his cities without ever diving in to long, tedious info--dumps. You're left wanting to know more about this crazy world built on the ruins of an ancient inhuman civilization. His characters are deep and memorable but it takes the whole novel to really get to know them. In many ways this first book reads as a set up for the launch of the series. It literally launches the Gentlemen Bastards(GBs) into their saga. Stick with it and by the end you'll really understand who the GBs are making the next book feel that much more rich because you know where they are coming from.
In some ways I feel like this book was superior to the second (Red Seas) and in other ways inferior. More focus is paid to their scams and disguises and cleverness which I found very entertaining and they seem to have a bit more control of their plans than in the second book. This makes the mess-ups and blind-sides that much more heavy hitting. The way Lynch handles mages and magic and how the protagonists deal with it is captivating and darkly humorous. The scope of the next book is larger and feels more epic. You get much more a sense of the larger world and the GBs place in it. Also, Lynch's flashback schtick works better in Red Seas. In Lies it was sometimes distracting.
Michael Page does a masterful job in the performance. Characters are distinct and understandable, a great variety of dialects and accents. He definitely added to the magic of the story.
Over all I found the story compelling and hard to put down. Lynch's Italian flavored twist on the fantasy genre is fresh and unique. It feels very cinematic and if it is ever adapted to the silver screen, Guy Ritchie would have to direct it. No-brainer. The story is rough, sometimes vulgar, often brutal, well done, and thoroughly transporting. I was sad when it was finished and went straight to book two. Now I got to wait for book 3 to be published.
While at times difficult to keep up with the barrage of names and places for a casual fan of history like me, especially in the audio format, this book shines in recreating the world in which motivations for the battle of Marathon can be understood for both sides of the conflict. Billow's attention to explaining the origins of both Greek and Persian civilizations and historical run up to the actual conflict make it's significance that much more profound. I was left wishing I could time travel.
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