I have listened to and read most of Hamilton's works, and though I enjoyed this one a lot, it doesn't stack up to his later Novels. Hamilton's brilliance is in crafting expansive epics with a diverse cast of brilliant and intrepid characters. This novel, while imaginative, simply lacks the scope, scale, and depth that lend greatness to some of his later works. I am still sincerely hoping that an audio publisher decides to put his Night's Dawn trilogy on here eventually!
Expansive. Imaginative. Exciting.
Neal Stephenson's books are really only comparable to themselves. His style of writing wherein he crafts a multiperspectived storyline that slowly weaves among itself until it comes crashing together in a final climax is reminiscent of a Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin or Peter F. Hamilton saga, but handled in a much different way. Stephenson also introduces numerous political, philosophical, historical and technological themes that are expanded on or alluded to at numerous points throughout the novel. If you read some of his non-fictional work, you can see the brilliance of Stephenson as an interpreter of the trends of the modern world, but he manages to slide these ideas in unobtrusively throughout his fictional adventures. His earlier novel Cryptonomicon is the closest overall comparison that comes to mind.
Brilliant reading. Hillgartner conveys Stephenson's wry humor and the aggressive brilliance of his characters with perfect aplomb. Dodge will always sound like Hillgartner's rendition of him in my head.
With most fantasy novels, you get bogged down in remembering the complex mythos of the world's history, the ridiculous lineages and names of the characters and ruling families, or in suspending disbelief for the system of magic that governs the world. This book leaves all of these issues behind, and crafts a world of magic and politics as easy to believe in as our own.
Rothfuss' brilliance is that for all of the fantastical elements of his story, he spends his greatest effort crafting complex and imperfect characters that we can empathize with, and grow to care about. Kvothe the child is recognizable in the innkeeper Kote, underneath the weight of years, experience and sadness that weigh him down. This layering of depth is difficult to craft, and all the more precious when it's done right. When you are done reading this book, you want nothing more than to find out more about what happened, and I fully expect that when this series ends I will return to it again and again because I will miss the friends that I came to know in reading it.
Master Iloden is a brilliant character. Whimsical and mysterious, he is the best kind of teacher, and the best kind of inspiration for the young and the brilliant. He may be mad, but he understands the world better than any of the sane, real or imagined.
Nick Podehl articulates this story to perfection. His variations in cadence, accent, and emotion convey the brilliance of the story and the personalities of the characters as well as any narrator I have ever heard. Having listened to this performance, I would find a different author reading the future installments as difficult to countenance as a different author from Rothfuss completing the series.
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