The White Tree (book one): In Mallon, the dark magic of the nether has been banned for centuries. Its users have been driven out or killed. Its secrets lost.
But the holy book of the nethermancers has just been found by a boy named Dante.
As he works to unlock the book's power, he's attacked in the street. The nethermancers aren't gone—and they want their book back. Caught between death cultists and the law, Dante fights for his life, aided by his growing skills and a brash bodyguard named Blays. Together they're drawn into a centuries-old conflict that brings Mallon to the brink of civil war.
Surviving won't be easy. But if they make it out alive, they'll step down the path to becoming two of the greatest warriors the world has ever known.
The Great Rift (book two): Dante and Blays have averted war against their new home of Narashtovik. But they didn't do so alone. It's time to repay their debts.
The norren who helped them remain enslaved by the Gaskan Empire. While arming the norren clans for rebellion, Dante hears one of them is in possession of the legendary Quivering Bow. If he can track down the weapon, it could secure norren independence.
But the wheels of war have already begun to turn. As Gask moves to crush the rebellion, Dante and Blays find themselves at the head of a campaign for survival—for norren and Narashtovik alike.
The Black Star (book three): Narashtovik has been saved—but Dante and Blays' friendship has been destroyed.
Blaming the Gaskan king for the loss of his love, Lira, Blays infiltrates the enemy nobility. There he schemes to bankrupt Gask and drive its ruler from the throne. But Dante's been waiting for Blays' return. If he finds and exposes him, Blays will be executed as a spy.
As they squabble, strange lights shine in the east. Harbingers of a long-forgotten threat. If the signs go ignored, Narashtovik will be annihilated by an enemy it never knew it had.
©2012 Edward W. Robertson (P)2015 Podium Publishing
I might go back and listen to the first book again, this trilogy is so long I've forgotten some of the first book already!
I liked the fact that it never dragged over 65 hours!
Reynolds may have even improved since he narrated the Riyria Chronicles!
Ha ha. 65 hours is too long for any one sitting!
I don't agree with people complaining about so many of the characters being smart-alecks. I enjoyed every bit of the wise-cracking repartee and just accepted it as a cultural thing common to this fantasy world. This "Cycle" reminded me a lot of the Riyria Chronicles. I'd say it doesn't quite measure up to Riyria, but it was still quite enjoyable and I hope there's even more to come in this series.
yes, Tim Gerard Reynolds voice will forever be Dante and Blaze
he did as good on this as he did on The Riyria Chronicles, one of the best fantasy stories I've ever listened too on audible.
dark fantasy with a side of snarky humor
if you've read The Riyria Chronicles, and loved it, you'll like this slightly darker world with two similar pals. Dante and Blaze are a lot of fun to listen too as they go back and fourth with each other and the others around them. your crazy not to spend one credit on 65 hours of fun entertainment.
Residential architect in Texas. Avid fan of Tolkien and Sanderson (are there 2 more opposite fantasy writers?) Very varied tastes in writing
I picked this book up because it's the complete trilogy- basically 3 books in one; a total of 65 hours of listening. That's a pretty good deal for one credit. But this isn't exactly "solid fantasy gold" you're getting here either.
Let's start off with the good, because it does have it's moments. Robertson has a fair bit of depth to his characters as both individuals and the way they interact. In fact, that is probably the book's real strength- the character's relationships and their dynamics. Everything else is really just background to tell the story of the people involved in them- if you keep the objectives blurry and look at the plot from the corner of your eye, and focus on the people, then the story is intriguing.
The bad is the plot itself. At times it makes no sense whatsoever- like, Michael Bay "Transformers level" logic. An example:
One artifact is central to the 1st book as the reason behind everything, yet is dropped and never mentioned by the 2nd book- nor is it ever explained exactly why it was so important. The protagonists, who are trying to get it back from the "heroes", just decide to give up looking for it in the middle of the 1st book, until at the end of the 1st book, at the climax, when the lead hero says "oh, here it is, I've had it all along..." to the people he is trying to kill. Then they have a plot twit, and the "heroes" decide: "Let's just kill everybody", and you are just sitting there going "what was even the point of this story again?????".
Confused? Yeah, reading it doesn't really make things any clearer. It's horribly frustrating. I almost gave up at the beginning of book 2 because I really stopped caring about what the heroes were up to because, basically, they are stupid and their actions don't really make sense. Maybe it gets as good as the "Star Wars" prequels logic by the end- but it never really exceeds that level.
The main characters also have some real flaws with drawing the line between good and bad that I don't think the author really does a good job of sorting out. The The book starts off with the main character murdering someone in "self defense", but it was also because he (the hero) stole something. So, if someone is going to kill you because you stole something, then it's better to kill them 1st than return what you stole... I don't know how righteous that makes you as a person. And I'm fine with a story arc where the character evolves and learns to change from broken to whole, but that journey has to make some sense. He can't just be killing people in one scene, and then be ready lay his life down to save others in another scene, but then killing in another- it doesn't make sense where he is drawing his lines or why they are moving, except maybe on an elementary school level of reasoning.
The 2 main characters relationship, which is the real story here (and it's as "brothers" in every sense, in case that statement has weird connotations) also start out oddly. In the beginning they pretty much hate each other; yet it changes quickly and drastically to a very strong bond between the two. But it happens too quickly and without enough reasoning to really make sense.
So, if you are looking for a book that is about the people involved in the story and can ignore the story itself, then this will probably be interesting to you. But if watching movies like "Transformers" and the 3 "Star Wars" prequels drives you nuts because what is happening makes little sense, then this book will probably just be frustrating.
I struggled with the point system for rating this book. In a perfect world, we'd have 1/2 stars instead of full ones, in which case I'd give the overall 2 1/2 stars and the story 1 1/2. It really doesn't rate a 3 star for the overall, but it's not as bad as a 2 star either. Same for the story rating (except 1 point lower).
I never give reviews, so the simple fact that I'm writing this speaks volumes about how much I didn't like this book.
I thought that getting 3 epic fantasy books for 1 credit would be a steal. Sadly, it didn't take long to to understand why this is offered at only 1 credit, and even at that, it's not worth it. I'll admit that I didn't make it through this entire trilogy. I made it about 2 hours into the second book and decided I just couldn't take it any more. Therefore, most of my opinion is based on the first book.
Plot - The plot was incredibly shallow and lacked any real depth. I found myself not caring whether the main characters, Dante and Blays, succeeded or failed on their quest. There was never any real explanation or sense of urgency as to why their success was so important. Sure, it was explained that it was to "stop a war", but there was never a strong case developed as to whether or not their plan would do that, or what the consequences of their failure would be.
Characters - The characters were not particularly likable and they were never developed enough to know what made them do what they did. I couldn't relate to any of them and really had no emotional attachment to them whatsoever. As others have stated, the two protagonists especially were constantly whining and bickering with each other and everyone else they met along the way. I actually hated Dante, the main character, from the opening scene in the book where he needlessly killed another man in cold blood. In fact, his solution to almost every problem they faced seemed to be to kill someone. I honestly wasn't sure that the antagonist of the book was actually the evil villain or if the ones who sent our "heroes" on their journey would turn out to be the "bad guys". There just wasn't enough background or depth provided on any of them for me to commit either way, or therefore, care either way. During an "epic" battle near the climax of the book, I actually found that it really didn't matter to me what happened to Dante and Blays and I certainly wasn't on the edge of my seat to see if they made it through unscathed.
Magic system - I was actually a bit turned off by the dark nature of the magic system. Blood, shadows and reanimation of dead corpses are normally things reserved for evil wizards. Others may enjoy that sort of thing, but I would rather leave the dark magic to the evil forces and not root for it. Aside from the type of magic, it just wasn't defined very well. How it actually worked and any limitations it had were never satisfactorily explained.
Overall I just didn't enjoy listening to this as much as I wanted to. The narrator did a fine job, there just wasn't a good enough story behind it to make it worth the listen. You'll do better to skip this one and spend the credit on something else.
This is a hidden gem. I'd never heard of this author before I saw this pop up in the new releases. I however love the narrator and the premise sounded great. It blew me away! Snappy witty dialogue, deep character development, interesting world and magic system. Very satisfying conclusion and with a new Trilogy in the works. Enjoy the ride and don't rush this experience.
After a sluggish start, couldn't put it down. Picked this up as a commute time filler and was not disappointed. Excellently crafted storyline surrounded by well developed characters compelling the reader for more!
Our protagonists start out as amoral dirtbags, but become better people as the story progresses. The banter amongst characters is hilarious, sometimes on the Monty Python level. The characters themselves are pretty sharply defined and have their own unique personalities. And it's nice to have a fantasy book where the bad guys aren't trying to destroy the entire fabric of reality.
The narrator is outstanding.
Unlike most fantasy series, the three books don't all work toward one major event or conclusion. Instead, they all have their own particular plot and climax. I enjoyed the books and the characters but it wasn't the best fantasy I've ever read. Sometime the books meander and other times the plot is a bit jumpy. Overall worth the listen for sure. I also LOVE Tim Gerard Reynolds as a narrator. He does an excellent job as usual.
Give a brother a vote.....lol
I have to say this was one of my favorite trilogies yet. Besides the quick wit and violence, there were times I thought I was listening to Ryaria. I wish Tim Reynolds could narrate every book I listen too. He can make the phone book interesting.
Really good stuff folks, certainly worth the credit!!
Basic fact is this book is 66 hours long. If you're not prepared to put in the time or tend to let your attention drift in and out while listening, then try something shorter.
The story has a lot of parallels with other books but has enough apart from these to have it's own unique feel and atmosphere.
There are plenty of interesting, fun characters and I have bookmarked numerous locations throughout where the dialogue is excellent.
Character development however is somewhat limited. This doesn't really affect the story though as the pace (slow in parts) is driven by events rather than people.
All in all, it is interesting, humorous and worth it when you get 3 books for one credit.
"Good potential, poorly executed."
I did plough through the whole trilogy (probably only because it all came at the cost of a single credit for 66 hours of story), but have to admit to being rather disappointed. There was so much potential with the world created, but the plot seemed to lurch from event to event, with huge gaping holes glibly glossed over. Similarly, the characters were under-developed, and all seemed to have the same flippant attitude to events of consequence.............all rather disappointing.
I also found some of the story telling quite jarring at times. For example, this is an "old-world"; with sword fighting and horses as the means of travel.....Yet a throw-away quip by one of the lead characters references "zombies"??!!! I had to rewind just to check I hadn't misheard. Felt horribly out of place.
By the third book in the trilogy, I think the author had settled down a little, and the characters were a little more defined (Blays becomes a little more interesting) but the plot was still so frustratingly shallow and with so many gaping holes its a wonder an editor ever let it get to production.
The narration was ok, although very few characters had real differentiation which could be challenging at times.
If you want mindless entertainment and you are aren't too picky about plots and character development, then this is probably sufficiently entertaining to distract...............however, if you choose to pass this one by, you won't be missing anything.
"Gave up half way."
I've got no idea how this novel has attained such a high average score. I listened to over 20 hours before I decided I couldn't take anymore and gave up. The only reason I haven't given it one star is because I have not completed it therefore I cannot completely condemn it as something wonderful may happen after the first 30 hours of listening. The two leading characters are criminally underdeveloped. Why does Dante so desperately want to have magical powers - because he saw somebody else do it once, is that it? Why does his eventual side kick Blase seem willing to follow him unquestionably? Again the answer appears wafer thin. The nonchalant attitude the teenage protagonist show to murder and death really shows the lack of true characterisation. I have read some reviewers talk of how they love the way the two characters talk to each other in crudities and they site this as some sort of evidence of good characterisation however when I listen to it all I hear is pithy nonsense, two teenage best friends who never have a real or meaningful conversation, I've never know such a thing, what is the point of a best friend when your at the most vulnerable time of your life if not to share some of that teenage angst? Plot, in the first 20 hours I have not found one, the main characters bumping into people and believing whatever they are told, going wherever they are directed to go, doing whatever they are told to do, does not constitute a plot in my book. We've got protagonist that don't think, how are you supposed to drive a narrative if you don't think for yourself - the answer is they do not. I am a great fan of the fantasy genre, I love gritty realism and I enjoy getting value for money with a long listen but this is really poor.
"An immersing in depth fantasy book."
to a friend ? to most people . it is a classic book coming of age with with two boys as the main characters one a nethermancer one a swords man. both with good humorous dialogue.
I really like the interaction an banter found in the book made it very relate able. they dont take them selves to seriously.
yes the ryira chronicles which also had two main characters.
as ive said in many many reviews this is a stupid question.
this ladies and gents is a good book with a wide world and a great depth of characters , i was so glad all the books where in one as they flow very well and it was enjoyable to see the growth of the lads. it doesn't always go their way as well. would recommend
"Good story spoiled"
This could have been great, it had all the ingredients to make an amazing adventure yarn, but is spoiled by too much sarcasm, no one gives a straightforward answer without there being an attempt at humoured smart aleck replies, don't get me wrong, in the right place sarcasm can be funny, but for Dante's sake, give it a rest!!
Having said that I did enjoy the trilogy, but at the same time am glad its finished and I can move on to something with a more balanced and intelligent narrative and storyline.
What a find!! I thought.. All those hours for one credit, you can't go wrong!! But two really likable main characters ( love Blaze!) and a great journey. If you like Patrick rothfuss, joe Abercrombie and such, do yourself a favour and get it! Thanks Edward for taking the time to write it!!
Strangely realistic for a fantasy book with likeable an interesting charectors.
Works by Peter Brett or Brandon Sanderson.
Would give away plot.
The world can be as ugly as it's heroes
Fantastic value for money
"Good writing with a mediocre story"
The book starts of interesting and engaging. The writing style helps a lot and I never felt like it was tedious. Characters are interesting and the world is as well. If I was to judge on these points alone it would have been a five star review. However, the writer missed a huge opportunity to make this book great by not fleshing out side characters of which there are too few and by not making an action book more packed with action. We get a lot of discussions with one liner after one liner (everyone is so clever you see) but when it comes to showing off power and describing action nothing much happens. The promise of a war fades; the rise to power equally is put aside for quests of trivial things that feel like they have no impact. No enemies that deserve much notice or situations that are nail biting. It is a coffee morning story rather than a tale of heroism by the campfire. The book had much potential in my opinion but the writer chose to tell it differently.
It starts of well and I thought I was in for a treat, but by the time your reach your destination in book 1 you feel underwhelmed. Books 2 and 3 are no different. A nice listen but not an epic.
"Great value but!!!"
A bit slow and not a patch on Joe Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy but you do get a lot of listening for 1 credit so for those who like long books like me it's great value and well worth it.
"Very well narrated!"
I'm not sure I would have liked this book half as much if it hadn't been for the narrator. The story was ok, but Tim Gerard Reynolds really brought the characters and story to life. Overall, it was well worth the money.
"A great performance of an original story"
I think I would listen again. I really appreciated the work Tim Gerard Reynolds put into performing, rather than simply reading, the story. The story still would have been fun without his efforts but he made it something better.
The best thing about this story was the way characters interacted. I hope it doesn't come across as a backhanded compliment to say that the dialogue often seemed Hollywood-esque. Given the drama and action in the story that seemed really appropriate and fun.
Some of the dialogue is pretty funny. I must have let out a few laughs.
This story was let down a little by a lack of any particularly well realised female characters, but in my opinion more than makes up for it elsewhere.
I will be looking for more books read by Tim Gerard Reynolds in the future. He really gave life to the characters.
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