Fantastic story, good read. Lots of plot twists I did not predict.
The reading was good until near the end of the story. The female reader did not pronounce a character's name in the same way that the male reader had throughout the tale. It took me several listens to understand who she was talking about due to the inconsistency. Surprising for such a otherwise professional read.
Robin Hobb is an author I can never get enough of. I love how her adventure tales are character driven and always tinged with bittersweet. This one is no different and I look forward to part 2. I really like how she gently reminds the readers of details in books past without turning it into an obvious summary. I haven't read Liveship Traders in years, but her hints refreshed the plots instantly. I do suggest you read the Liveship tales first before starting on this book.
My main issue with the book is how abruptly it ended! I realize Hobb always writes in series and expected this to be continued, but this wasn't even a cliffhanger. It just seemed to skid to a halt in mid-scene. I was so confused I made sure I didn't have a chapter in my Library left to download. Very unsatisfying not to have some little mini wrap-up so the reader knows that yes, this section of tale is coming to an end.
The reader was mostly good. She has an odd vocal habit of drawing out the last syllables of words in the end of paragraphs. For example: "...we have been richer, that's for surrrreee". or "...the final killing shalloooows." The city name Kelsingra often sounds like "Kelsingraaaaa", especially when she is voicing the dragons. Perhaps it has to do with her English accent, but I found it rather distracting in an otherwise excellent reading.
The first half of the book was stellar. I was completely engrossed. I love the practical magic angle. Things were not predictable. Then the plot wanders around a bit and I found things near end a little unsatisfying. I look forward tot he next book, however.
Nick Podehl's narration was spot on. I have no idea why some reviewers disliked him, I'm going to look for other books read by him.
For one, I think you should be able to speak Spanish to get the full effect of the book. The print copy may have subtitles. You can figure most of it by context, but not all.
The history of Dominicans and some of the racial backgrounds and interactions are great. However, the characters and their histories are miserable, without hope and really depressing. You know its not going to end well by the title, but the dump of suffering and torture is endless, and sometimes pointless.
I still don't understand why Briony did what she did. It makes the whole thing hard to believe that her actions where just from a petulant child. While people make up versions of the truth all the time that they sincerely thing is true, usually there is more of a motivation behind it then being over-imaginative. The tired, 'war is hell' chapter could have been better spent detailing this further, in my opinion.
Sadly, this is indeed the Charles Dickens of wizardry novels. I feel the story needed a heavy handed editor. I often found myself wishing I could have spent more time with some of the minor characters then hours wasted on sleepy, lengthy details on interior decor, for example. Some chapters just seemed to be pointless filler, like the Spanish war chapters. It's almost like the author has 5 or 6 dissimilar novels in her, and stuffed it into one instead.
I loved how the end finally formed out, loved how the characters stay true to their imperfect natures in the end. I just wish we could have traveled there a little faster.
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