Ok, so I'm actually really impressed with with the author. Sure it's obviously that he borrowed a little too much from LOTR and Star Wars but I can forgive that for a good story, which it is.
That being said. The major problem with this series is that instead of going into detail about the things that are very important to the story, the author seems to talk about everything forever just to prove that he can make this place real for you.
The major events of the book are great but they are interrupted by very long, seemingly unimportant plot lines that make the story drag on. In this book's case, it was forced into two books when it clearly should have been one. This is the first book I would ever say that I think I would have enjoyed an abridged version more. However, it is worth the read if you can take it.
I got this book because of the movie trailer I saw of the same name coming out in January 09. It showed Tornadoes from Wizard of Oz and a bunch of magical things happening. NOTHING HAPPENS IN THIS BOOK. They talk about a lot of magical things and some small things happen but it's pretty lame and disappointing.
The narrator was great and the writing itself was ok... I had high hopes for this one.
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