I purchased this first installment of the Lightbringer series at the same time as the second book, The Blinding Knife. I noticed that they had different narrators but never stopped to wonder why that might be. I quickly learned, as did many of the other reviewers I've seen, that the narration done by Cristofer Jean was just absolutely horrible.
He made Gavin sound like a surfer dude and 15 year old Kip sounded like a whiny 9 year old. His pacing was horrible and made the story hard to follow at times, and I just overall hated his voice by the time the story was over.
I know the second book will be better as it's read by Simon Vance and he did a remarkable job on Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy. In the future, I'll certainly avoid anything read by Jean and if I want to re-read the Lightbringer series, I'll pull my hardcover of book 1 off the shelf and then listen to the rest of the series.
Simon Vance really brought this story to life for me. I found myself caring about the characters, and grasping the concept of the magic system better, and even understanding the political nuances better than I had when listening to book #1.
Even better, I'm left frothing at the mouth for the next installment of the series! As long as Vance is still narrating!
And I really hope that they manage to re-record book #1 with Vance as the narrator!
I do plan to put a more in depth review up at my blog but I just wanted to pop in here and comment on how much I *loved* this book. I couldn't find time to read the book so I downloaded the audio and am so happy that I did because Sarah Zimmerman did a fantastic job on the reading!
Not only did this story have captivating characters that I quickly grew to care about a great deal, it was also set in a detailed world that Jemisin describes so beautifully that you can close your eyes (listening helps with this process) and actually see it. Further, the fascinating 'magic' system is unlike anything I've seen before in fantasy.
This is one of those stories which lingers in my mind for days and days after I finish reading/listening. In fact, it's occupied my thoughts so much that I might have to listen to it again before diving into The Shadowed Sun, which is waiting patiently on my iPod.
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