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Hal

New York, NY, United States | Member Since 2015

46
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 90 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2015
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  • House of Chains: Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (35 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Steven Erikson
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (435)
    Performance
    (396)
    Story
    (397)

    In Northern Genabackis, a raiding party of savage tribal warriors descends from the mountains into the southern flatlands. Their intention is to wreak havoc amongst the despised lowlanders, but for the one named Karsa Orlong, it marks the beginning of what will prove to be an extraordinary destiny.

    Armand says: "Write Brilliance Audio to get Ralph Lister back!"
    "Ralph Lister is missed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, but only in the sense that I want to continue with the Malazan series but do not have the time to read traditionally (I listen while commuting etc). While Page is competent, the memory of how vastly superior Ralph Lister was makes it difficult to enjoy the performance (as opposed to the book itself).


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    It is a huge shame that Ralph Lister seems to no longer be narrating the books. While Michael Page is generally decent enough as a narrator, he simply doesn't have the range of voices, accents and intonations that Lister used. Admittedly, he makes an effort to distinguish characters (more than most narrators do), but he simply isn't as good as Lister. Lister's Kruppe will be missed!

    What is also off-putting is that no effort seems to have been made to match pronunciation with the previous books. While I have no idea what led to the (very unfortunate for us readers) decision of letting Ralph Lister go, Michael Page should have acknowledged that he is picking up a series part way through and therefore should have made sure to maintain a consistent pronunciation. It is incredibly jarring to hear Page pronounce things in a manner which I (thanks to 3 gigantic books prior to this) think of as incorrect. Every time this happens I am brought out of the narration; constant interruptions to the flow of the narration like this make it difficult to enjoy the book. Unfortunately, with a book series like this with so many fictitious names and terms, it happens a great deal.


    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Tower Lord: Raven's Shadow, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Anthony Ryan
    • Narrated By Steven Brand
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2424)
    Performance
    (2272)
    Story
    (2278)

    Vaelin Al Sorna, warrior of the Sixth Order, called Darkblade, called Hope Killer. The greatest warrior of his day, and witness to the greatest defeat of his nation: King Janus' vision of a Greater Unified Realm drowned in the blood of brave men fighting for a cause Vaelin alone knows was forged from a lie. Sick at heart, he comes home, determined to kill no more. Named Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches by King Janus's grateful heir, he can perhaps find peace in a colder, more remote land far from the intrigues of a troubled Realm.

    Jack says: "The Great Swampy Middle!"
    "Common epic fantasy mistake of too many viewpoints"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, because it is the sequel to a very good book, and there is hope for future books in the series being as good as the first. The prose is also great.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The reader makes absolutely zero effort at doing voices to distinguish between characters, and between characters and the narration of the plot. While his voice is pleasant, this makes it once of the worst audiobooks I've listened to. It is especially difficult as there are sections where conversations are written jumping between different characters without stuff like "said character x", "exclaimed character y". Because of this, with this narrator, it is next to impossible to know which characters are speaking which lines


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Sure


    Any additional comments?

    Blood Song was the breakout hit for Anthony Ryan. Unfortunately, it seems that this has gone to his head a little. In order to make sure he can pump out these novels for quite some time, the pace of the book has slowed down dramatically in comparison to the first book. Much worse though, is that we now suddenly have a million different viewpoints. This is a common trap that fantasy authors often fall into on the success of a first book, even when that success and book are based primarily around a single viewpoint.People liked the first book because Valen is an interesting character. It is a massive mistake to go from 80% Valen, 20% other in the first book to 25% Valen in this one. It's a bildungsroman, and should focus on Valen. people don't care much about the other, much less interesting characters.It's Wheel of Time/Sword of Truth all over again. The authors realise the series may be the only one people ever really read, so they need to make them much bigger and with more books than originally planned. Unfortunately this comes at the cost of quality, with so many viewpoints introduced that we barely see the characters (in this case, character) we came to see.

    25 of 36 people found this review helpful

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