Did anyone else absolutely love the Grimnoir Chronicles and absolutely hate Monster Hunter International? I did, and I'm still trying to figure out what the difference is. Part of it is probably the order in which I listened to them. After the brilliance of Grimnoir, I had high hopes for MHI and was severely let down. If I had listened in reverse order, maybe I would have found MHI to be just mediocre, and not such a thorough disappointment. I rated it 2 stars because I'm trying to overcome that bias, but how I felt after listening to it (and even during the later parts of the book) was a 1-star reaction.
In the Grimnoir books, Correia created a new set of supernatural rules, and it worked really well, intertwining with historical events and the politics of the day. In MHI, it's just your typical werewolves and vampires and basically a bunch of people try to shoot them and blow them up. I guess that didn't do it for me. The plot and character development of the Grimnoir books seemed so much more developed and interesting, while the Monster Hunter characters are superficial and stereotyped. I found myself neither believing them nor caring much one way or another what happened to them as the book progressed.
And the narrators definitely play a role. Bronson Pinchot really brought the Grimnoir series to life, not just with character voices, but with his tone and with pauses in just the right spots. Oliver Wyman kind of read MHI and didn't add much. Or maybe the writing was just that much worse and he had less to work with. I honestly don't know where one stops and the other begins.
Anyway, you have two popular series by the same author with very similar overall ratings. But in my opinion, they are nothing like each other, and I recommend digging a little deeper into the reviews to try to figure out if this is what you want.
I agree with a lot of reviewers that the narration of this book was pretty rough. It wasn't totally unlistenable, but it added a kind of constant underlying annoyance to the experience.
When I try to separate out the story by itself, I think it was only mediocre at best. It somehow managed to be both far-fetched and dull at the same time. I don't think the writing or dialog was particularly good, although is that a mark against the original author or whoever translated it? Hard to say, but I can only judge based on what I heard. Anyway, the plot ended up being something like a below average episode of Law & Order, but stretched out to fill a novel-length story.
After three years listening to books from Audible, I'm really starting to understand how important the narration is to my overall enjoyment. This book is a perfect example.
This is a truly incredible story and book is clearly well-researched. But it's told in a very straightforward way, and the narrator does nothing to inject drama into the performance. It comes across as though it's courtroom testimony about the events, or maybe something you'd hear read aloud in history class.
I listened to this because the story sounded very interesting, and it was probably the highest-rated (4.7 with thousands of reviews) non-sequel I have ever seen on Audible. I must say I was a little disappointed. This is still a fascinating and worthwhile story, but if I could do it over again, I'd read it rather than listening.
(As an example of what I'm talking about, see the book Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. It's fiction, but is also a detailed account of the horrors of war told in a fairly straightforward way. If anything it's more mundane than Unbroken, but the narrator, Bronson Pinchot, does a masterful job and made it hard to stop listening.)
On the surface this might seem like yet another Lord-of-the-Rings-style epic fantasy series, but dig a little deeper and what you find is a unique and incredibly well thought out fantasy world with its own take on magical powers and other abilities.
Never before have I read a series where the details are this carefully crafted and intertwined. There is no X-Files/Lost phenomenon going on here, where the writer(s) keep adding mysteries until no hope remains for an explanation.
Not only is the story universe (the magical physics, if you will) very consistent, but the plot and story arc of the entire series were clearly planned out ahead of time. Books two and three were not afterthoughts, stapled on after unexpected success. If you enjoy the first hour of book one, it bodes well for your enjoyment of the series as a whole.
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