I read this book quite a few years ago and loved it so much I considered it one of the best Christian books I had ever read, so I decided to try the Audible version. While I still loved this book in audio, I guess I have changed a lot since first reading it. I loved the raw emotional journey you go on but this time I really didn't care for the mystical aspects (Lilybet, etc.) and I also didn't like how they went about finding the truth by using dishonest means, even at the very end when they are ringing the death bell to gather everyone. None of those things ruined it for me though. It was still a heartbreaking and beautiful story that I would highly recommend.
I read the other reviews and I'm not sure why people loved this book so much, but it seems that I am 1 of only 2 people who thought it was unnecessarily slow and long. For all the wasted hours I had to hear Celaena complaining, whining, and being pissed off or prideful, there could have been an actual storyline there. I just got so tired of her whiny baby attitude... and Rowan was no better. Of course, by the end of the book they suddenly grew up and accepted their fates, but geez, it took them freakin' long enough to get there!
I was so put off (as I also was by the previous 3 books) by Celaena's childish pride (and everyone else's pride for that matter) that it was hard for me to even get into the story. I think it just wasted a lot of time, got people unnecessarily killed or injured and cheapened the quality of the story. I think you can still take your lead character on a journey from immaturity to maturity and still make them likable to the reader, but that was not the case with Celaena for me. I think this is the first series I have ever read where I strongly disliked the lead character.
As far as the actual storyline goes, I think it was disjointed and developed really poorly, and because of that I wasn't invested enough in the characters to feel much emotion about all that went on. It also dragged on so long that I was just plain bored. The story also lacks originality, as I felt like I was listening to a mishmash of plots from other books I've read lately.
I don't care for the narrator either, as I think she may be adding some inflections of pride or anger to all the character's voices that might not have been there had I read the book instead of listened. Oh, and the whole time I thought this was the final book but clearly it's not and I'm actually annoyed by that. I've invested so much time in this series that I feel like I have to follow it through to the end to see how it turns out. But if the last book is anything like this one, I may pull my hair out before making it all the way through.
I really enjoyed this book. I fell in love with the characters and found myself really wanting to be in their world. It was a sweet story that was beautiful and dark and fun and magical. The whimsical characters drew me into the story and made me want to keep listening to find out what happened next. This is a great book for teens, as it is clean-cut, but I believe most adults would thoroughly enjoy it as well. I'm excited to listen to Cybele's Secret and see where the adventures lead next!
The narrator was pretty good overall but so much of the time her voice would take on a very childlike tone that it made the main character sound much younger than she was supposed to be.
While listening to this book I enjoyed it for the most part but now that I finished it, I'm not sure how I feel about it as a whole. There was never a time when I was just dying to find out what happened next or where I couldn't stop thinking about the book after I finished listening to it. The writing was very very detailed, which made for a long and slow book, but mostly it wasn't boring. The story was interesting and mysterious but I think it unfolded so slowly and in such a way that it was anticlimactic.
I'm thinking I sort of lost my taste for this book when there was a scene where a man has sex with his horse. It gave WAY too much detail (any detail was too much) and it made me nauseous! I also felt some of the things were a little unbelievable at the end based on the way the characters had been written all the way through the book. It seemed like at the end, all the unrelenting stubbornness just vanished and suddenly all were amicable.
Eduardo Ballerini is a great narrator and does multiple different voices well, but after a while his voices became grating to me, especially the women's voices. I saw that there was a sequel and I may get it one of these days but I'm not feeling super eager at the moment.
This series began in book 1 with such mystery, beauty and promise but steadily declined from there. Book 3 was so, so unnecessarily long and wordy! It was trying (WAY TOO HARD) to be very poetic but it just made the whole story very disjointed and hard to keep track of.
I think introducing the new characters and background story lines in the final book was a mistake in this case. The new backstories really needed SO much more development and detail but instead it was just thrown in bit by confusing little bit. And what detail was given, was done so in such a poetic way that it really did nothing to help you understand the story. For as long as the book was, all of the unnecessary stuff should have been removed, and detail and attention given to developing the new characters and backstory in a straightforward manner. It was like she was trying to create mystery up until the very last second but instead created confusion and the build up just fizzled when revealed because it never quite meshed with the rest of the story.
The characters were also very disjointed and felt thrown into the story at random. Sometimes you wouldn't even hear about a particular character for many many chapters. Long enough in between to forget what was even going on with them. Also, many important things that were built up all throughout the book (i.e. Zuzana and Mik finally getting engaged) were just completely glossed over and only given one or two sentences after they occurred. Big letdown!
The ending of the book was so jumbled and all over the place. It really didn't make a whole lot of sense. I still don't even understand all the backstory that led to the ending. And a lot of things were just left open-ended, which sometimes works, but in this case it feels like certain characters were just forgotten about.
While I thought the narrator did a great job with the voices, she sounded a bit subdued throughout this book, even in very intense scenes which should have warranted much more enthusiasm. She read the entire book as if it were one long (too long) poem. She also mispronounced so many words that I thought it was really silly that the editor didn't catch any of them. Oh, and when you change the way you pronounce names and places from one book to the next in a series, it's distracting. I feel like this has happened quite often with audio books and I wonder why the narrator doesn't find out how to pronounce the names and places of characters from the author before recording. Especially in fantasy books where the names are sometimes difficult.
Anyway, I would love to read book 1 again but I won't be wasting my time with books 2 or 3.
I rated the first book 5 stars all around but I took away one star all around for book 2 for the following reasons:
Book 1 was so intriguing, fascinating, exciting, and mysterious. It made me want to be Karou... what a fascinating and mysterious life she had! But then at the end you find out she's not actually Karou, but Madrigal, and that is when the fun mystery that has been so built up all comes crashing down- never to be picked back up again.
In book 2, I was mourning the loss of the exciting, young life of Karou as the whole tone of the story shifted and became dark, anguished, heavy and dry. The whole feel of book 1 that captivated me was gone and I missed it and it was never coming back. In addition to that, the mysterious characters- such as Brimstone, who I so longed to discover more of- were all dead!
The beautiful imagery that painted book 1 so lovely and made you want to be there was missing from this book. Left mostly to my own imagination, Eretz was vast and empty, without much detail by the way of landscape.
The story was really heavy and angsty, which got on my nerves. In my review of book 1, I had said I was relieved it wasn't full of angst, but book 2 more than made up for that with plenty of angst. However, once I accepted that this was now a new and different story with a totally different feel, I was able to enjoy the book for what it was, especially for the way it ended.
Finally, the reason I removed a star for the narrator is because she read this book in a strangely continuous manner. What I mean by that is the story frequently changes locations or perspectives from Madrigal to Karou to other characters, but the narrator transitions from one scene to another completely seamlessly, without even a pause, so if you aren't paying close attention, you may lose track of where you are.
Like I said, I was still able to enjoy and appreciate this book, but be prepared for a dramatic change to everything you loved about book 1.
This book is exciting, lovely, tragic, mysterious, sad, beautiful, and more. The writing is so rich and beautiful that I could picture it all perfectly in my imagination as if I were actually there... and I wanted to be! Before discovering her past, Karou had such a unique and intriguing life that it made me want to be a part of it. The way the mysteries unfolded was so interesting and kept me wanting more. And the narrator was perfect with both male and female voices. Karou and Brimstone sounded just how I would have imagined them. I can't wait to start the next book! Oh, and I have to disagree with another reviewer about the teenage angst. I did not feel that it was angst-y. In fact, I was so relieved to find that there wasn't much angst at all, just enough to make it interesting.
As with all of the books in this series so far, I found the story to be good and entertaining, but Celaena's pride and anger are really grating! Maybe if I read the books, rather than listened to them with the narrators own interpretations and inflections, I might not find Celaena to be so hostile and prideful nearly every waking moment. Another thing I find silly is that she is supposed to be THE assassin, but yet she is so trusting of the wrong people and is so easily duped, and all the while she is not trusting the people that she should be. But those gripes aside, they are all good short stories and give you some insight into her life before becoming the King's Champion.
For at least the first 4 chapters or so, you are doing nothing but living inside Wren's thoughts and all she does is speculate and ask annoying questions over and over and over and over. Then, once the book does get going, it is still pretty boring and oftentimes predictable or silly. I just thought the whole thing to be rather blah. Book one was pretty good, the second was decent and the third fell flat.
This book was a wild, bumpy, tense, romantic, angst-y ride. I took one star away because I really get annoyed when all the characters are so full of pride that they can't be real with each other. It was in book 1 as well, but the tension and romance made it worth it. But now, with Death and Evie (and everyone else for that matter), the pride thing is getting old. It seems like writers are just lacking imagination when they create characters that thrive on their stubborn pride. I think there are ways you can still create tension without doing that or with keeping it to a minimum.
In this book I liked the way the story unfolded with the other Arcana characters and how you learn more about their past lives. I can't wait for book 3 and can't believe I have to wait so long for it! Ahh!
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