That has been the best novel I have read in a long time. Every character managed to leap off the page and play in my brain while I read this novel. The only way that I can think of describing it is to say that it's like Alice in Wonderland written for adults in modern London where there is a London Above which we can all see and a London Below which is secret and goes unseen by everyone in London Above. Richard Mayhew moves from London Above to London Below after he stops to help a woman on the street and it's his search to help the woman answer why her family has been murdered and a way for Richard to get back to London Above.
Messrs Croup and Vandermar have to be the best written villains I have ever read and I really wish that at some point (if he hasn't already done so) Gaiman writes a spin-off for these two. Every scene they were involved in was lifted by their presence and I wanted more of them, so much more. Gaiman completely explored the world and I'm not sure if there could ever be a sequel but a novel in the same world would be spectacular.
I loved Joe Hill's Heart Shaped Box and maybe that excellent debut somewhat influenced my expectations of his latest offering. It felt as though this story was lifted from one of his father's notebooks for stories he might wish to write in future. And then written by either of the Kings. There was even King's obligatory reference to the Dark Tower hidden in the story; which was really one of several things including the tone of the story which had me questioning the origins of the story.
A Memory of Light has been the best book in the WOT series since A Lord of Chaos and it might have got five stars if it wasn't for the memory of the slog one had to go through to get to the end. Brandon Sanderson needs to be commended for being able to finish the longest series in fantasy history from RJ's notes. If it hadn't been for the drawn out plots in books 7 - 11 which had to be wrapped up properly in 12 and 13 before the final novel, I might consider it to be the greatest fantasy series.
There were many deaths of minor characters in the novel as one would expect in a novel about The Last Battle, but only one real major POV character. If this had been GRRM it might have only been a single major POV character who survived. There are many people who would be sad that Egwene was the character who died, but to sound a little morose I was pleased. Egwene has been one of those characters who constantly made me put the previous novels and walk away. I suppose there will always be characters who will get under my skin because if I had been in control of Lost, the self-righteous character of Jack would not have survived the first season.
There are some questions raised in the series which are not answered. But that's how RJ wanted things to end and it was perhaps best that they weren't answered and will now never be.
My biggest gripe with the novel is that Rand didn't actually die at the end of the Last Battle. It's become a little bit of cliche in fantasy that the prophecy which says that the great hero meant to die at the last battle doesn't (just look at Harry Potter). I think it might have been a good little twist that the prophecy ended up being right and the great hero sacrifices himself for the rest of the world.
I first got this book about two years ago and halfway through the priest's story I stopped listening. The story was brilliantly written but it was just not interesting, I couldn't imagine forcing myself through another six stories if all of them were as devoid of interest as Father Duray's story.
I finished my audiobook for April soon and decided to give this book another try, I had another three weeks to wait for my next credit. I forced myself through Duray's story and by the time Fedmahn Kassan's story started I was hooked. All of the stories touch on the Shrike so as to give the reader a taste of what they are travelling to confront and Simmons writes each story brilliantly.
The best story for me was Weintraub's story about his daughter and his quest to try and save her. I think any parent will understand the emotions involved which Simmons caught so perfectly.
The whole book would have gotten a solid five stars from me, if it had not been for the Priest's story which was the hardest to get through.
The story is well written and Elizabeth Bear has down a really solid job on the novel, even though it very much hits the common tropes of science fiction. The story really reminded me of David Feintuch's A Midshipman's Hope in that both are about the trials of new captain in command of a ship. David's character was more forced into the situation rather than Vatta's decision to become captain before stepping onto the vessel.
The narrator was incredibly frustrating and really almost destroyed the whole experience of the novel. While the narrator didn't talk in a monotone, she did a horrible job in reading. Every word was separated and some words horribly mispronounced. She did try to separate the characters with different voices but this is the first audiobook where I found that she didn't have a wide range of "voices" for the characters and often felt as though other characters were talking because of the limitation of her voice. The only character that was really unique was because she took the accent from an Australian accent to a German accent to an American accent to a French accent and then finished with a Scottish/Irish accent - and all in one freaking sentence.
Will I read Elizabeth Bear again?
Will I listen to another novel narrated by Cynthia Holloway?
I first downloaded this audiobook two years and has been the audiobook I have gone back to the most to listen to again and again.
Due to living in South Africa, I can't get any of the Dresden novels after Summer Knight, but when I read the hardcopy novels (all the way to Changes, I haven't read Ghost Story yet) I hear James Marsters reading the novel to me. I know that sounds pyschotic but it's true. I think maybe the fact that these novels are written in the first person and that James Marsters absolutely nails the character helped.
I can't help but wonder what would have happened to the TV series if Marsters had been cast as Dresden and they'd been a little more faithful to the source material.
Butcher also keeps the tension tight in the novel all the way through and I just wanted to find out what was going to happen next.
Live Free or Die is a slowburn. I can understand that John Ringo had to set up the rest of the trilogy but there were whole sections which felt unnecessary and if I was completely honest, Live Free or Die feels as though it should have been backstory for the story to actually start in the second novel in the series (Citadel??).
I appreciate that the author did a lot of research to enable him to have the science down for the story but sometimes this information should be kept by the author instead of being turned into a novel and pushed out the door.
Tyler Vernon (or was it Vernon Tyler? The name was shifted around so many times I got confused whether it was his first name or surname) wasn't a particularly enjoyable character to read. The man has anger issues dating back to the American Civil War and maybe he was only a mouthpiece for Ringo to put his own political view into the novel. Either way I didn't particularly enjoy reading about the politics.
Let's be honest, the Troy is nothing more than the Death Star and Ringo acknowledges this fact during the novel as well at one point. And there's a reason why Geoge Lucas (who has made many mistakes during his constant changes to Star Wars) doesn't show us the Empire building the Death Star --> it's boring.
A Stone of Tears is really a mixed bag. I have seen that people have complained about Jim Bond as the narrator and to be honest, in the beginning I was also irritated but after a while I got used to Jim Bond as the narrator and could look past it.
Something which really got to me though (and I don't consider myself a prude) is that the first hour and a half of the last file downloaded involved rape and it was almost unsettling.
The story moved along slowly and there were moments when I wished that I could press the fast forward button just to get the story to move along (this owuld have been impossible if I had been reading the actual novel). It almost felt as though Goodkind had taken a page out of Robert Jordan's instruction manual about how to slow a novel down to a crawl.
Will I be back for the next book in the series? I'm not sure, maybe give me some time.
I'd been debating for a while whether I should bother with these last two novels before Brandon Sanderson takes over the series to bring it to a conclusion. Unfortunately, I decided that I should finish the Wheel of Time properly and listen to book ten and eleven before getting to the last few novels.
Nothing happens in this novel. I only have a few hours left but everything has moved at a glacial pace. In one place, RJ described the dress that Elayne was wearing in such detail I almost passed out and caused an accident!
The events in this novel are points which other authors would leave in the background and maybe mention in passing, not a 400,000 word novel. My debate has started again - do I waste my credit and more importantly my time listening to book eleven!?!
I usually enjoy Dean Koontz but this book couldn't come to an end fast enough. He seemed to get trapped in a sex pit in this novel and couldn't get out of it.
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