©2005 Jim Butcher; (P)2008 Penguin Audiobooks
I just finished book 4 of this series and am so glad to have found this series. The writing and characters are deep and well crafted. The language is truly some of the best fantasy I have listened to (read? :-p). Also Kate Reading is a skilled Narrator.
I find myself staying up listening just to hear what is going to happen next. Download it. You wont regret it.
I love to read sci-fi, fantasy, and an occasional murder mystery. If one day I can be a successful author I will consider myself one of the few and fortunate.
This novel just proves Jim Butcher's ability as a great writer. I started out with Dresden files, which is another great series, and stumbled upon furies of Calderon. The novel is nothing like Dresden files, but still very well written. No longer are you inside the head of one character, now third person dominates the narrative. If you are expecting Harry Dresden in medieval times you will be disappointed. Instead think of Romanesque legions and law, complete with a king and a senate. The outer dwellings with stead holds and strategically placed citadels. Now imagine Furies or elementals bonding with humans giving them each unique abilities (varying in strength depending on the character) relating directly to the nature of the fury. Imagine a world with deadly and mystical creatures, savage natives, and treachery from every angle. Can you imagine the new depth of fighting? Attacks from the air, the ground, and even from within your own body. Jim Butcher creates a novel with familiar parallels while at the same time breaking the rules (in a clever and intriguing way) Kate Reading is a great narrator. She is perfect for this type of novel. Her voice is elegant and her British accent sets the mood for the novel perfectly(Think Lord of the Rings narrator). Never have I been so pleasantly surprised as I was when listening to this novel. I'm just one person but I say GET IT! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as my wife and me.
For some reason they have added trumpet sounds at strange places throughout the narration. It's very annoying and really is not not well performed either. The narrator is great. It is just the sound effects that are bad.
This is a great book and reading. However, the horns and trumpets that occur at inappropriate times are irritating and interrupt Kate Reading's wonderful narrative. Whoever came up with the idea is an idiot.
I love SciFy and Fantasy Novels History is my second love especially the Dark ages through the Renaissance and The American Civil War
The book was great and the naration was very good too. I just didnt understand the editing. there were some very quick cuts that seemed rough and a trumpet sound that would go off in the strangest places. it would have been great at chapters end but it was in what seemed random places. Other than that the book was fantastic.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
This is warmed over but still tasty at times. Butcher is a better than competent story teller and gives us a wide spectrum of engaging characters along with an interesting and fairly satisfying central conflict. Probably the best thing about this series is the world the author has created--full of well crafted surprises and well integrated. With one exception...
For me, the greatest weakness of this book was the inconsistency in the use of magic. Other reviewers have already mentioned this, and it is a definite problem. Fury craft only gets used by the major players, and then only when the author is ready to extricate them from a very difficult situation. Just one for-instance out of scores of these slips--an assault on a defensive wall which relies on climbing poles which should have been destroyed quickly and easily by the wood crafters among the defenders. As a result of these lapses, the magic in the world becomes a device rather than a convincing and reliable aspect of Butcher's otherwise solid creation.
I'm trying to decide whether to pick up the second book in the series. Word is that it improves as it goes on, but I am not sure it is worth a credit. Especially since there is so much superb fantasy writing available these days.
I am thoroughly impressed with these works. I am generally hard to please, as a reader, as there are far too many wannabe authors in the world who think they are good writers. Jim Butcher is an excellent writer and a brilliant story teller. These books get better and better which each in the series. I literally could not put them down and listened to all of them back to back, every chance I had - and the finale is due out November of 2009.
Tavi, the protagonist, is a great "fool" who stumbles his way into a very archetypal hero's journey, and manages to arise victorious through cunning, wisdom and intelligence, not magical powers.
Is this a children's book/series? No way. Very graphic violence, and adult situations (not pornographic though).
I am a big fan of Butcher's Dresden series, so I was hopeful that this would be equally good. It is a very different kind of reading experience from the noir-magic world of Dresden's Chicago.
The fury crafting idea is a good one. I wished that Butcher would have explored its roots and talked more about how it came to be a central part of this world. Instead, it just is. This left me wanting more thought behind the whole concept.
The other thing I want to flag for potential readers of this book (haven't explored further in the series and not sure I will) is there is an important sub-plot/series of events that center around violence against and sexual dominance of women. The women throughout the book are very strong characters and not victims in any usual sense, but I have a hard time reading books that have extensive sexual violence.
Kate Reading does a fine job reading the book. But it is a pale shadow in terms of entertainment for me compared with the world of Harry Dresden (the magic bits in the Dresden files and the traditions and philosophies that underlie them are much stronger and better conceived than what I saw in this first book in this series.)
Kate's versatility with male voices was amazing. I'd love to hear her again. The story was tense, with well-placed cliffhangers and I found myself rooting for ALL the characters, even as I knew they were on opposing sides.
There were a few badly-edited spaces, where the beginning of one sentence and the end of the previous were on top of one another. I did not like the random trumpet-sounds, they were jarring, but they were not irritating enough to cause me to stop listening.
This is definitely not some of Jim Butcher's best work. I'm left wondering if this is one of his earlier novels that he was unable to get published before the success of the Dresden books. The quality of the writing improves steadily after the first third or so. Enough, for me, to make it worth it to get the next one. I had put off getting it for some time because of an earlier review that made it sound like the book was full of graphic rape and bestiality. That was definitely an exaggeration. The reference to bestiality was a single line and the scenes involving the rape were not graphic - although I think the book would have been better if they had been left out altogether. I've certainly read worse books from other well established authors. If the rest of the series is up to Jim Butcher's usual standards, then I will be happy to have read this one.
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