Elizabeth Moon returns to the fantasy world of the paladin Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter - Paks for short - in this second volume of a new series filled with all the bold imaginative flights, meticulous world-building, realistic military action, and deft characterization that readers have come to expect from this award-winning author. In Kings of the North, Moon is working at the very height of her storytelling powers.
Peace and order have been restored to the kingdoms of Tsaia and Lyonya, thanks to the crowning of two kings: Mikeli of Tsaia and, in Lyonya, Kieri Phelan, a mercenary captain whose royal blood and half-elven heritage are resented by elves and humans alike. On the surface, all is hope and promise. But underneath, trouble is brewing. Mikeli cannot sit safely on his throne as long as remnants of the evil Verrakaien magelords are at large. Kieri is being hounded to marry and provide the kingdom with an heir - but that is the least of his concerns. A strange rift has developed between him and his grandmother and co-ruler, the immortal elven queen known as the Lady. More problematic is the ex-pirate Alured, who schemes to seize Kieri’s throne for himself - and Mikeli’s, too, while he’s at it. Meanwhile, to the north, the aggressive kingdom of Pargun seems poised to invade.Now, as war threatens to erupt from without and within, the two kings are dangerously divided. Old alliances and the bonds of friendship are about to be tested as never before. And a shocking discovery will change everything.
©2011 Elizabeth Moon (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I have tried to listen to this book 3 times now, and the last two times I get so frustrated with not being able to follow the dialogue that I quit in less than 30 minutes. I gave the story 2 stars but, honestly, I don't know whether it is good or bad. I'm going to borrow the book from the library and read it so I can listen to the other 2 books in the series which are read by Jennifer Van Dyck.
Susan Ericksen is on my list of never listening to ever again. In fact, she is the first one on the list. All of her characters sound the same, the women sound like men, everyone sounds like he has angry all the time, and there's as much nuance to her reading as a reading of names at a high school graduation. Don't get me started on her lack of preparation for reading the **fourth** book in a series after the first 3 were so capably read by JVD. If nothing else, she should have learned how to pronounce names the way a listener of the first 3 books expected them to be pronounced. Maybe she will be a good reader someday, but I will never know.
If you liked the first 3 audio books in the series, my recommendation is to skip this one and read a print copy. Then pick up the audio books for books 5 & 6 which have JVD reading them.
To the publisher: Don't change the narrator for a series - ever. We'll wait for the audio book if there is a scheduling problem. Look at the reviews for Jim Butcher's "Ghost Story" audio, which did not have James Marsters reading it. John Glover isn't bad, but he isn't the guy who has read the 12 books before that one. Someone in management made a dumb decision when he or she decided to replace JVD with S.E., and I personally think you should have JVD read "Kings of the North" and then give it for free to all the people who bought this awful version.
I gave the book five stars because it 100% deserves it. the story is continued seemlessly, and there are parts that nearly had me in tears. Good humor, loss, and wonderfully vivid people are all in this story.
The bad. The change of narrator can be dealt with if the original of last year was not available anymore, however the narrator chosen is extremely poor for this type of work, she does not give multiple voices to the characters. her pronunciation shows she never listened to the original narrators work or for that matter really read the book. she is a distraction and makes me wish i could ask for a refund. i ighly urge audible to redo this book with a diffrent narrator, preferably the original but bring in a woman who can give the charicter a better voice, Miss Moon has 3 more books coming in this series and if they are read by Susan Erricson i WILL NOT be purchasing them
The book is wonderfull but it is very frustrating to have the names and places pronounced so differently then the previous 4 books. Why do they do this to us?? I distracts from my ability to enjoy the story fully.
The book is long but it follows the several story lines in a satisfactory way and leaves plenty of room for the next installment. I found the reader a bit of a drag at first but either she speeded things up or I learned some patience. Her deficiency was not sufficient to lower my score from a solid five.
You would think somebody would check with somebody. After 4 books with Jennifer Van Dyck, the change in narrator was very distracting. None of the diverse character voices I was used to with JVD, names and places pronounced differently. It took awhile to figure out who and what the narrator was talking about. This made following the story very difficult. I loved the first 4 books in this series, absolute classics. But this new offering is far below the others in quality and enjoyment. So sorry they didn't stay with JVD. Story was 5 Stars, but the change in narrator brings it down to 3 Stars.
Top twenty for story, lower 20 for performance.
The other two books in the series are comprable, but the narration is much better.
I did not like the narrator, but she did get better with her characterizations as the book went on. Still, she does not have the range of talent of the original narrator for the series. I like the variation in voice technique the audio books give rather than me reading it myself with just my own mind voice.
No. Actually listened to it multiple times over several weeks.
Since I got Bells Palsy, I am having trouble with the sight in my right eye and find it difficult to read as many books as I used to read. Auto books allows me to keep up with my reading pace.
Born with earbuds.
Imagine a Jewish mother from New Jersey with a speech impediment reading very slowly to try to mask her accent(s) and failing miserably. It is impossible to believe that this person is a "professional" narrator or that any director would let this out. 10 years and 500+ Audible books and this is the worst yet. A speech synthesizer voice would be better.
Coffee-talk Lady reads Shakespeare.
Mostly use audio books in planes these days. Know I really like a book when I find myself with earphones still on from home to hotel
The story picks up immediately following book 1, but with a different narrator. While the pronunciations were mostly similar enough to avoid any confusion, Susan Ericksen voices internal character thoughts in a somewhat whiny way or tone. It becomes grating at times. Character voices are sometimes too similar unless the character is considered someone outside the North - then they get a unique accent. As compared to the first series, the Legend series is slightly less satisfying as the plot constantly switches to different characters. If this were a much longer book, I would not have minded so much, but the plotlines for some characters seemed rushed or sometimes inserted without a full exploration. Good, but could have been better.
I have no objection to Susan Ericksen as a narrator, but I do question the choice of changing narrators mid story. The narrator becomes an element of the story because of the way she presents the different characters, the accents, the depth of voice, the pace. Trying to continue the thread of a story with a different narrator is jarring. This happened with the Artemis Fowle series and was very upsetting. I would love to understand what makes the producers, author, or whoever makes these decisions, choose to change narrators midstream.
This is a great continuation of a good series in a great world. The narrator is.... lacking. Doesn't use the same pronuciations as any of the previous 4 books. Her style is more matter of fact then dramatic. Worst of all... there is little to no attempt to differentiate the voices of the different characters. Especially with the different stories withing the story, it makes it difficult to tell 'where' the story is until several 'paragraphs' in.
"Love the book - but..."
The narration of this title, compared to the rest of the Paksenarrion seriies, is terrible. No vocal differentiation, very hard to follow (these books have a ton of characters - and they all sound exactly the same!)
I am really disappointed, and cannot recommend this audio edition. The rest of the series rocks!
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