Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2014
Here in New Orleans, one of the most passionate pursuits of its citizens is cuisine, and that's no surprise. In this wonderful city of diverse cultures and rich history, that's a given. Some of the very best dining in the world is served up right here, day in and day out. From the very first glass of wine, to the final napkin to the lips, the meal's presentation and it combination of flavors and aromas ARE the event, and set the evening's pace for conversation, enjoyment and celebration. And all of this begins with the preparation of the ingredients. Whether it's a fried shrimp po-boy with a col-drink down in da "Ninet Ward", to a five-star evening of fine dining at Commander's Palace, it's all the same: Preparation and presentation.
You know where I'm headed with this, don't you?
A great story, like any good meal, takes detailed preparation and solid presentation for a memorable experience. The table must be set, and the greater the destination, the bigger the table, the better prepared. Otherwise, the evening is ruined.
And in "Promise of Blood,", McClellan has all the makings of a experienced chef. Think alternate colonial historical fantasy - Sort of a musket, pike and magical story that might have been. One that can be a bit overwhelming at first. You'll need to listen very closely to this audiobook, because you're thrust into the story immediately - A royal coup by the military, right in the first few minutes. Done. Over. And the military is mopping up. So you don't have a lot of time to acclimate.
And it's a well-thought, rich world, full of deeply defined characters, diverse story lines worth your pursuit, a magic system both smart and sensical, and a helping of political/historical machiavellian mayhem that sweetens the meal. The dialogue is believable and doesn't meander. McClellan also does a fabulous job of suspending disbelief, which is so essential for an author to accomplish within the journey, In such an ambitious undertaking, all these positives come together for a very, very good listen.
The narrator is solid, but I want more from Rodska in the second novel, to step up his game, if you will. He can add much more to an already good effort, and I'm expecting improvement the next time around.
If you read my reviews, you'll note that I do NOT give spoilers or plot lines - There are countless other reviewers that will do that for you. This is a fantastic meal that doesn't need anyone to throw leftovers at you to get your attention.
This meal has been well-prepared and the presentation is excellent.
Please step up - Your meal is prepared. Your table awaits.
If you follow my reviews, you know that I like to roll the dice, to randomly buy a series on a whim, on the luck of the draw. Sometimes, it's a bust.
This time, it's a definite win, but if you go by how the series was created, you'd probably run in the opposite direction.
Here's one for the books: Jim Butcher is well-known for his "Dresden Files" series, created a fantastic fantasy series on a BET. Yep, a bet. Read on.
To quote the Codex Alera Wiki site, "the inspiration for the series came from a bet Jim was challenged to by a member of the Delray Online Writer’s Workshop. The challenger bet that Jim could not write a good story based on a lame idea, and Jim countered that he could do it using two lame ideas of the challenger’s choosing. The “lame” ideas given were “Lost Roman Legion", and “Pokémon”.
It DOES sound lame.
Well, Butcher makes it work. To the nines.
I've finished this first novel, and I'm enjoying this unique story line of humans with Roman similarities binding with elemental furies. Add unique races, backstabbing, politics, military battles, duels and an interwoven story line that pulls it all together, and you get a fantastic story that's simply put, a VERY VERY good listen.
The whole concept of fighting alongside elemental familiars used here is wonderfully executed. It's deep, well-thought magic-based partnership of man and magical creature is a pleasure to experience.
So, what about the writing?
Again, if you follow my reviews, you know that I love ENGAGING fantasy or scifi writing. Anything less won't do. And this is definitely engaging. There's great characters that plot, backstab, challenge, fight for their beliefs, devour their enemies, and celebrate their victories. You're taken on a great romp of a story, and in the end, isn't that what we all want in a good listen?
I know I do, and I so enjoyed this first audiobook in the series, that I bought the entire series. Yep. And I'm not disappointed with the decision.
Who knew that Lost Roman Legions and Pokemon could knock it out of the park?
Home run, Jim. Home run.
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