An ill-prepared queen, a soft-hearted mercenary, and a crippled warrior struggle as a kingdom falls and an empire rises. For years, the High Mages of Cadonia have maintained an uneasy peace among the nobles disgruntled with the rule of the king. In the aftermath of a tragic event, Elyse, the king's daughter, is thrust into a role she is not ready for. As queen, she must now determine who to trust while struggling to keep the kingdom from collapsing around her. The Hell Patrol, a legendary mercenary outfit commanded by Jonrell, finds itself disenfranchised with their current employer. Recalling a promise he made over a decade ago, Jonrell breaks his contract in order to right the wrongs of his past.
On the continent of Hesh, the Blue Island Clan has long been ignored by its neighbors. Tobin, a warrior and son of the Clan's ruler, struggles as an outcast as he watches his brother Kaz lead his father's army to glory. Emboldened by a new friendship with a mysterious shaman, Tobin finds himself gaining the respect he always wanted.
An epic fantasy tale, Rise and Fall is the first book in the Blood and Tears Trilogy.>
©2011 Joshua P. Simon (P)2013 Joshua P. Simon
I am a voracious reader (average about 4-5 Audible books a week, in addition to those I "eyeball".) I have been hooked on recorded books since the time of cassettes/CDs and was thrilled when I became an Audible member in 2007. I find reader reviews good guides to spending my credits, so have finally decided to write a few (although, I would rather be reading!)
The opening throws you into the action of the nation of Cadonia with marked carnage, leaving young Elyse the new queen. We are subsequently taken to 2 other story lines, those of Jonrell (a mercenary of highborn lineage, whose ancestry isn't revealed until later, so I won't divulge here) and the story of two warrior brothers (Tobin and Kaz) of the Blue Island Clan.
Overall, there is much action and good plotting especially with the Jonrell and Blue Island Clan story lines. I felt the political machinations in the Elyse storyline dragged a bit, but was more than compensated for in the action in the rest of the book.
The character development held few surprises (in classic epic fantasy fashion), but was well-handled and written, so was enjoyable, if a bit predictable. The characters were engaging (including one crusty female mercenary, aptly named Hag) and the alternating story lines well plotted without being confusing. I did find the ending surprising and look forward to the next volume of this series.
The narrator did a good job overall, especially with the various male characters and one of the female characters (Hag.) The other female voices sounded a bit cartoonish, but it must be difficult to do such a range of voices and accents. This volume would have benefited from the addition of a female narrator to voice the female characters.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
I don't want to be universally down on this book. On the bright side, it has a nice title. The main characters are pretty well developed if a little simple. The story is... easy to follow, at least.
That's it; that's all i got. As to negatives:
This book feels like Simon was trying to write "The Black Company" or "Gardens of the Moon" (Cook and Erikson, respectively), but wanted to leave out innovations like good dialogue, interesting character interactions, humanesque emotion, or creative story lines.
The narrator is giving it his all (bless his heart). He overdoes in every case but a few. His female characters sound like he's a grown man trying to mock a four year old. His accents are all over the map and they migrate over the course of the reading. A brother and sister in the book that were raised together have drastically different accents. His "burly man" voice is cartoonish. He also pauses mid-sentence as if there is a comma every three words. It's very distracting.
There are also some editing flubs. It's as if they thought this book would win through on enthusiasm alone. I would not recommend this to a friend. I would recommend this to someone I am trying to discourage from reading fantasy.
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