I tried to read around the world in 80 days twice and both times I found it boring and lifeless. This version though, I was caught up in the epic journey and incredible scope. Jim Dale is a flawless narrator and the sound effects and music make this one of the best audiobooks I have ever heard!
Yes, Jeremy Iron's narration is sublime. The story itself being a fable comes to life when told to you. I would consider this the definitive version of The Alchemist.
The pacing was just outstanding. Never preachy or slow the story just flows.
Every scene is outstanding.
Santiago is a perfectly realized character.
A perfect audiobook, it's as simple as that.
Oh, how I wanted to love this book! Everything about the cathedral and the setting was wonderfully realized. The day to day struggles were engaging and well described. Unfortunately, the actual plot revolved around characters and situations that felt like they were pulled directly from a Mexican soap opera. The story is filled with contrived situation after contrived situation that violently ejected me from the world of the book. By the final part when we suddenly had a cameo from Thomas Beckett I was about ready to strangle the author. As historical fiction epics go, this one is very much middle of the road, distinguished only by the strength of the setting.
What Brandon Sanderson does better than any other fantasy author is combining immense scale with amazingly intimate character arcs. As much as I love The Wheel of Time one of its great failings is that epic set pieces come and go in a couple of pages. The Way of Kings revels in its set pieces, and they are magnificent! That's not to say the characters suffer in favor of battle scenes like a Joe Abercrombie novel. The three character arcs in this novel are some of the most satisfying I have ever read. Combine that with a beautifully realized world that unfolds wonderfully throughout the book and you have one of the best fantasy novels ever written.
The narration is very well done. At first I was concerned by the narrator's slow pace but it flows well with the novel and somehow makes it feel like you are being told the story rather than read to.
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