I actually found that I enjoyed the majority of this book more than I originally expected. The imagery was very good, the dialogue, though immature in some places (not as in childish, but rather like an undeveloped or unschooled method of writing), was good overall.
I was very pleased with the narrator. I plan to see if he has narrated any other selections within my preferred genres. Even if the selection fall outside of my "norm," it wouldn't be the first time I've chosen a book just for the skills of the speaker.
Major "Con" - The ending. To say it left things wanting would be an understatement. Suppose, for example, I wrote a seven-hour book about someone being hungry. For the majority of the book, I detail aspects of the hunger, the sufferer, and his/her environment. Then, at the very end, I wrap it up with, "Then Steve found a $10 bill in his coat pocket, so he walked over to buy a sandwich. -THE END" -Grrrrr. I hate when writers can't put together an acceptable finale. Add to that the fact that it passed through the hands of an editor who decided, "Eh, it'll work."
If not for the ending, I'd have rated the book higher. For those who aren't as particular about endings, it's a good listen - otherwise, save a credit and use it on another book.
I feel like I've been subjected to an episode of a prime-time tv program yet again. I was happy enough with the content of the first book in this series, but found the ending too abrupt and several plot factors unreconciled. Book Two in the series achieved the same results, though in a more dramatic suspended climax.
As a whole, this volume in the series was more enjoyable than the first, despite my previously mentioned frustration(s). Instead of a drawn out series of strained interactions between the hero and his guide in a world he doesn't belong to, this book provides more depth via delivery of the storylines of several characters that held smaller roles in Dark Lord.
If I were to have any chief complaint beyond the cliffhanger ending, it would be the [ahem] physical interactions between amorous characters throughout the tale. I don't know if it's meant to be a reflection of the darker/rougher nature of the characters portrayed, or if the author feels that fantasy novel readers really believe that physical interactions really do play out in this manner with every coupling.
As with the first novel, I'd recommend the book - despite my disappointment with the ending.
I have to agree with the review from "Joel from Canada" - there doesn't seem to be a real completion to this particular book. Instead, once you finish, it feels as if you should be hearing the prompt "You have completed this part, but not the complete audiobook. Please visit your library for the next part of this audiobook."
Beyond that, however, I was pleased enough with the novel. I typically shy away from fantasy novels that broach upon any interaction between a "real world of today" and a fantasy realm, but Greenwood did a passable job of keeping this as a sub-item in the overall content.
The interactions between the "hero and the [battle]maiden fair" get a bit overdrawn and overacted - it feels like watching a bad high school play - but these moments pass and you are then submerged back into the real content of the story.
Overall, I enjoyed it and will be purchasing the second part in the series to find out where the tale goes from here. I'd recommend the book to others as long as they were aware that they'll need the next book (Arch Wizard) to be readily available when they finish this one.
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