The rebellious son of a long line of pureblood cartographers and diviners, Valen has spent most of his life trying to escape what society - and his family - have ordained for him. His own mother has predicted that he will meet his doom in water, blood, and ice. Her divination seems fulfilled when a comrade abandons Valen in a rainy wilderness half-dead, addicted to an enchantment that converts pain to pleasure, and possessing only a stolen book of maps.
Offered sanctuary in a nearby monastery, Valen discovers that his book - rumored to lead men into the realm of angels - gains him entry into a world of secret societies, doomsayers, monks, princes, and madmen, all seeking to unlock the mystery of a coming dark age. To his dismay, Valen must face what he fled so long ago, for the key to Navronne's doom is buried in half-forgotten myth and the secrets of his own past....
©2007 Carol Berg (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I'm a big Carol Berg fan. I deeply enjoyed Dust and Light and was excited to learn that there were a couple of other books written in the same world at about the same time period.
In over ten years of subscribing to Audible I haven't heard a more poorly narrated novel. Berg's elegant prose is battered by having been read at too fast a pace and with with zero sense of the rhythm of the phrasing. What should be elegant is stilted and rushed. Character voices are poorly differentiated and I've noticed that several words are mispronounced. An audiobook that I had eagerly anticipated has been rendered too painful to finish. I should have previewed the book sample instead of expecting that it would equal Dust and Light.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
Buried in the overly descriptive writing and the disjointed happenings, I believe there is possibly a good story here. I am sure there are those who love this style of writing, but since Carol Berg is not a household name, not a whole lot. I think Berg has lots of talent in storytelling and if she quits trying to be so poetic, the story would have a chance to shine.
I really did not care too much for the narrator. He reads in a sing song fashion and uses a lilt in his voice to show emotion. It reminded me of a junior high kid forced to read a poem in front of class.
As for the story, Carol Berg has done a superb job. This dark fantasy will grip your imagination with its refreshingly multidimensional plot and compelling characters. A must-read for all fantasy fans. Word to the wise, you'll definitely want to check out this book's sequel, Breath and Bone.
The narration, however, is mediocre. The pacing is a bit awkward. There are many mispronunciations of words and hesitations that make it seem like the narrator doesn't understand the meaning of what he's reading. This isn't a glaring issue and many people may not even notice, but it did bother me. Having said that, I still wholeheartedly recommend this series on the strength of the story alone.
Ok, I've heard worse narrations. But this one sounds like he's running toward the end of the book as if promised eternal salvation if he finished as fast as possible. No particular inflection, no attempt to differentiate voices or narration. One of the worst narrations I've heard that didn't drive me so crazy that I didn't demand a refund.
"Great Tale Ruined :-(("
The book, I would most definitely recommend. I would definitely NOT recommend this audio book version to someone I considered a friend. The narrator spoke in a flat noninflected voice, which made it difficult to tell when one sentence ended and the next began, or distinguish between the various characters.
I didn't get far enough into the audio version to find a character I liked, and it would have been difficult to pick one out of the morass of atonal babble anyway.
NO! I only listened to the first three chapters, and I felt that I could have spent the time better. Watching paint dry, or the lawn growing, perhaps.
I am heart sick that yet another favorite book has been destroyed by a poor narrator. I would urge "Audible" to consider reworking those audio books that receive poor reviews due to the narrator's deplorable efforts. I will be returning this and its companion book (it is the first in a duology) and getting something better.
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