If you liked The Wizard of Earthsea, this is a must-read sequel. I love how LeGuin pulls on a few threads from the first novel but mostly departs into a completely different tale ... in tone, structure, plot, and even in geography. Marginalizing Ged as a character until halfway through is a brilliant stroke and gives us a new character to care about in the form of a young girl, chosen one of the old powers of the Earth. The result is powerful ... lyrical, dusky, narrow in scope. Wow. It probably works best for young adults, as a coming of age story for girls. But it has a universal appeal.
A Sword Into Darkness is a pretty well-told, science-filled, military science fiction story. It begins with the detection of a potential "first contact" and tells the story of how we might rise to meet the challenge of an unannounced ship from another planet. The characters weren't really deep, but they weren't two-dimensional either. And while the science threatened to overtake the story a bit, at times, I found it enjoyable.
I was disappointed in the reader who badly mispronounced words like piquant, heady, and gantry (as pee-kwant, heedy, and jantry). Sorry Liam, but you can get a pronunciation on dictionary.com. Do your homework. Also, while I don't require a lot of voice differentiation out of my narrators, his two-character dialogues often left me wondering who was speaking. Based on this performance I would be leary of listening to another book with Mr. Owen as the reader.
The premise - of carrying forward in some way from the amazing story of The Time Machine - is a great one. I like that idea very much and it is probably the primary reason I purchased the book. However, the loose plotting, lack of internal consistency in relation to the source material, and general goofiness was not to my taste.
Ged appears as a mature wizard of great power, but he faces a pervasive and insidious evil.
I have. Many. She is a great wordsmith. I've read all the Earthsea books and they are all good.
Inglis is fantastic. Having him read both this and Lord of the Rings is a real blessing to the fans of both.
I'm not sure what I wanted out of this book. I first read it as a child and was a little ... I don't know. I expected something different, but I wasn't disappointed exactly. As an adult it resonates a bit more with me but it still has a kind of understated power. The Earthsea fantasies really are quite a bit different from just about any other fantasy you will read. They have a dignity and wisdom to them.
Would I? Well, I have. Twice.
This is a great book to swallow in a few gulps. Maybe over a really long drive or two. The chapters move along quickly and never grow dull.
It's not a perfect book. There's a lot going on ... maybe too much. But it establishes a bunch of great characters and staple ingredients of the Dresden Files that will pay off again and again over the next dozen+ novels. This is where it all begins and it is undeniably charming.
Storm Front and Fool Moon were both good, but this one really kicks the series into high gear. We are introduced to a few new important characters and we see that there is going to be real, substantive change/growth in the characters over time. Butcher manages to make us care about the characters and then threatens the hell out of them in this novel (and the ones that come after). Marsters, as always, is superb.
Butcher's love for the Chronicles of Amber really shows in this episode of the Dresden Files. Of all his Dresden novels, this one comes the closest to high fantasy rather than a fantasy horror blend. As Harry moves through the Never-Never one is reminded of the Amberites walking through shadows, being waylaid by all kinds of magical beings. And Harry really is a Corwin-like trickster-hero, pulling solutions to the impossible situations he finds himself in out of nowhere.
When I read these books in print, Summer Knight was my least favorite. Hearing Masters read it really changed my opinion of the book. He makes it come alive.
Really? Not Again! -- "How many times does Dortmunder have to steal this thing?" It's a fair question and one that you will be asking yourself throughout the novel.
Well, you can't take it too seriously. Unlike Westlake's Parker novels (written under the name Richard Stark), the Dortmunder novels are penned in a comic vein. The feel is a bit like Ocean's Eleven.
Woodman delivers a great performance. I was constantly chuckling. The characters are well delineated and Westlake's language, as usual, is spot on. Good stuff.
I have listened to this book twice already. Marsters does a great job with Harry's wry wit and never-say-die attitude. As with most of the early Dresden Files books, there's a lot going on in this one. Maybe a bit too much, but it doesn't mar the enjoyment any. Highly entertaining.
I mentioned some fictional characters in a similar vein - Kolchak the Night Stalker (as the bumbler who good-naturedly dives into trouble), Jim Rockford (as the dogged investigator who gets beat up a lot), and Dr. Strange (as the accomplished practitioner of the magical arts fighting all comers). The closest influence, however, might be The Chronicles of Amber - not in subject as much as in tone and flair.
Yeah. He's great. The later ones are more highly polished/produced, but he never disappoints.
Yes. This would be a great book for a long drive. It never bores you.
"Stolen bank job." Why waste time cracking the safe onsite when you can drag off the whole bank and crack it at your leisure. That's the hypothesis that Dortmunder and crew test in this, the second book in the series.
Westlake's Parker series, written under the pen name of Richard Stark, are incredible heist novels of a different sort. The tone is dark and the main characters are generally competent. The Dortmunder novels are a lighter take on the heist story, filled with quirky characters, sloppy execution, and general hilarity. These are thoroughly enjoyable listens (both series).
Jeff Woodman is the perfect choice for this book. He does a fantastic job, putting just enough character into each voice to differentiate them without sounding like one-man's attempt at a full-cast dramatization. After hearing Jeff, I can't imagine anyone else reading these.
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