Strikingly original in its conception, ambitious in scope, with characters engrossingly and vividly drawn, the first book in R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing series creates a remarkable world from whole cloth - its language and classes of people, its cities, religions, mysteries, taboos, and rituals - the kind of all-embracing universe Tolkien and Herbert created unforgettably in the epic fantasies The Lord of the Rings and Dune.
It's a world scarred by an apocalyptic past, evoking a time both 2,000 years past and 2,000 years into the future, as untold thousands gather for a crusade. Among them, two men and two women are ensnared by a mysterious traveler, Anasûrimbor Kellhus - part warrior, part philosopher, part sorcerous, charismatic presence - from lands long thought dead. The Darkness That Comes Before is a history of this great holy war, and like all histories, the survivors write its conclusion.
©2003 R. Scott Bakker (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I have been waiting and waiting for this to finally come out in audiobook. And just in time for summer! Great writing - a bit overwrought, but in a good way - like a blend of MAR Barker and HP Lovecraft and Gene Wolfe.
I got these in book form on a lark when they came out and have gotten most of my family and friends to try it out. In that same spirit, I am writing a review so that someone out there will also give it a try and like it.
If you like Joe Abercrombie, Brent Weeks, or any of the new school reflective fantasy (as in fantasy more reflective of our real world - its what I call it anyway), I suggest you give it a try.
Lots of Characters and intricate language, do yourself a favor and find the printed book's character list and lexicon appendixes online somewhere as a companion to the audio version.
David DeVries voice drove me absolutely nuts when I listened for the first fifteen minutes. I gave it a chance because I thought it could shape up to be an excellent story.
I'm glad I gave it a shot because the story and narrator quickly evolved into something great. The story is interesting and mysterious and most of the characters are really well done. The first half of the book is a lot of world building and character introductions, while the last half really gets into the meat of the plot and builds the premise of what is to come.
Right after I hit submit on this review I will be purchasing book 2.
I believe that I would listen to the entire series again, yes. It is very deep and complex, and at some times even confusing. I pride myself as an attentive listener of audiobooks, I don't jsut put them on and then tune them out, and at times I had a little trouble following along. However, this is in no way a refutation of the book or the series. They are both wonderfully written and performed.
I'd have to say that I liked the depth of all the characters the best. Baker does an amazing job at characterization. Each and every one of them is complex, conflicted and unique.
While I didn't laugh out loud or cry while listening to The Darkness That Comes Gefore, I did have a strong reaction to the entire series. The main character, demands one from the reader. Love him or hate him, you will feel something towards him.
This is a fully realized world. Great conflicts. Original characters.
Dark dark magicians.
I drive long distances and tend to listen in long blocks. I could easily listen for 6+ hrs
Lifetime reader, starting with the Boxcar Children through Harry Dresden and Mistborn
I think that the written version would be better for the first time encountering the series because the names, places, magics, and history can get confusing.
The build up to the holy war and the frustration I felt when Akka encountered the first Consult agent. I wanted to shake him.
Inflection and understanding
I would have loved to do so.
Unique epic fantasy.
Nearly everything about the novel is memorable. There are some characters that fascinate me more than others, but even the ones I am less interested in remain gripping. The intellectual, moral, philosophical and political complexity of the story is amazing. I read it 5 years ago, read the whole series, in fact, and came back to this now. And it is still amazing.
I don't normally read epic fantasy, so am not accustomed to this many characters and wondered if the vast creativity and the suspense would translate into audio. DeVries' capacity to do a dozen different accents, and another half-dozen tones of voice, made this a really good audio book. That is not to say there are not a lot of complex names and geographies to keep in your head as you listen, but Bakker is writing to an intelligent audience.
Just loved it (again). And just bought the second in this series.
This is badly written, and badly read. I can't blame the reader. He is just trying to get the ordeal over with. There may be some ideas in here, but I can't make my way past the painfully inelegant, tired prose. The author has a talent for the unnecessary, not quite "ept" word. It was "sort of" recommended by Mark Lawrence (Prince of Thorns), but he is a nice guy.There are too many descriptive attempts to evoke mood which break down on analysis.
It all sounds like a first draft.
Prologue - page 1 or 2
"wind moaned" - trite
"they traded breathless reassurances" - they had no reason to be breathless
"Before the wind swept his ashes skyward" ?swept skyward?
"pursuing his bloodline to its thinnest tincture" ?thinnest tincture? I know what he meant but it just doesn't work
"the cries of the dying crowded their thoughts with too much horror"
"Heart breaking assault" disastrous maybe, but heartbreaking?
"slurring the words in blasphemous ways" huh?
"staring down through the gloom at the bard's broken corpse it differed only from the others in that it was still wet" - he's looking over a wall in the dark
"was it murder when none was left alive?" just nutty
"once in a while, his eyes wide with hope and superstitious dread"
"savoring the wind's bite on his cheek" savoring?
Very enjoyable will purchase the remaining books as well. Great characters, the world feels very alive, narrator is on point as well.
Yes, this book is challenging, but Devries' reading complicates, rather than clarifies. Very little distinction between different characters' voices makes it easy to lose track of who is saying what. Choices on inflection make it sound like he himself has no idea what's going on. Paragraphs are picked up with no breaks, missing the fact that a new idea is starting.
I would often listen to a section two or three times before going to the text and finding it much easier to understand.
I'm really enjoying this story, but I'll have to somehow find the time to read the sequels without audio.
I read the books a few years ago and they were even better now than I remembered. A very ambitious book-series exploring the ideas of how the unprecedented intellectual prowess of one man entangled with arcane magic might impact a world of empires, wizards, beasts, barbarians and holy wars.
Like with the Dune saga, I find it easier to follow this story in audiobook format. Though if my attention wanders to something else (phone, radio, people talking to me...), I soon have to rewind in fear that I missed something important.
Also, the narration is excellent. Voices of individual characters are performed in a way that fits well with the story. Hopefully the rest of the series retains this high quality.
"A truly terrible book"
Nope. the story is disjointed and poor and the narrator not in any type of league
After four hours i couldn't pick up story threads nor could i get round the poor narrator. people do you selves a favor a keep well clear of this ine
Id put the relevant story plots closer together
It was poor all round. i cried at the waste of a credit
"Good read!! Bad Narrator!!"
Please, Please, PLEASE.... get Steven Pacey to record this!! For whatever reason... the reader/storyteller just doesn't get it. I have had SO much trouble listening because his reading, voices and timing are just plain OFF.
I agree whole heartedly with the previous reviewer. Get a narrator like Steven pacey to tell this story. The current reader is terrible and unsually for me, i gave up listening after about two hours and put the radio on. Ive often found the narrator can bring a book to life while this one simply detroys it. One stars all round, but in all honesty I might be doing the author an injustice because of the poor reader. Sort it audible and ill try the book again!
Listen to it yourself and you will understand why. A little emotion, different accents/voices. Too stiff, too wooden. I've heard computer generated voices with more fluency.
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