A luminary in the fantasy genre firmament, R. Scott Bakker returns fans to his acclaimed Prince of Nothing universe with The Judging Eye. Aspect-Emperor Kellhus is waging a terrifying war, subjugating all nations in his path. There are those willing to stand together against him, but these rebellious souls must act quickly and decisively to thwart his mad schemes of power and domination.
©2010 R. Scott Bakker (P)2013 Recorded Books
If you liked the Prince of Nothing series, you may as well keep going. It was a little hard in the beginning, getting used to the new narrator and starting a new set of characters, but it was worth it.
Narrator's not as good as the last trilogy but the story itself is just as good. May as well keep going if you've come this far.
The Judging Eye is consistent with the previous trilogy. Bakker's stories and characters are deep and his story elements are mature.
I like that Bakker takes his subject matter seriously in spite of the story taking place in a fantasy setting.
David DeVries would have been a better choice of narrator. Kevin Orton's intonations are overly dramatic, even stodgy.
The characters are flawed in very human kinds of ways. They aren't typical "good guys" and "bad guys" for certain.
Overall, the book is quite good. If you like the original trilogy, you are likely to enjoy this book. Since the world is established, there is less time spent on world-building, however. This is important for those who were attracted to the first three in the series for their brilliant take on fantasy history.
The narration was completely inappropriate to the novel, however. There were moments when I was completely taken out of the experience of listening by the overly dramatic performance of the narrator. It seems clear that he did not understand the story or the characters.
I thought the prior Trilogy was amazing, and I was immediately looking forward to the follow-up. One of the strengths of the prior series was how distinctly unique and involved the lore and setting had been. Each culture from the Three Seas had been painstakingly crafted, and I was actually a little worried that so much had been explored that there would be little left to learn in this series. I expected this series to focus heavily on the characters at the expense of setting development.
I am very pleased to admit I was wrong. While this book definitely focused on a smaller core cast, we learn a great deal about the world and history beyond the Three Seas. The Judging Eye explores the history of the Nonmen, the northern kingdoms, and even delves deeper into the faith while maintaining the philosophical musings that carried the first set.
There are really 3 distinct stories being told in The Judging Eye, and it's difficult to relate these stories without going into spoilers. I would say that if you enjoyed the sections of The Fellowship of the Ring spent in Moria, or the Dune Messiah/Children of Dune books you will probably enjoy The Judging Eye.
First order of business, the narrator for the Aspect-Emperor Trilogy (Kevin Orton) is different from the narrator of the prior The Prince of Nothing trilogy (David DeVries). Both reads were great for very different reasons; in David DeVries' read I can much more vividly remember what people said primarily because each character's voice was pitch-perfect. On the other hand, Kevin Orton's read of descriptions and actions resonated much more strongly, and gave me a much clearer picture of events in my mind's eye. Both were great, but I preferred Orton with a very slight caveat; DeVries' Cnaiur from the prior trilogy was worthy of a standing ovation.
With that established, I feel the need to provide a very bizarre warning. Roughly halfway through this book I was overcome with the feeling that I had heard Kevin Orton's voice somewhere before. It haunted me for a few hours before I my terrifying sudden revelation.
It's clearly not the same voice actor, but Orton's pace and tone melded seamlessly with Bakker's writing and style. For the remainder of this and the following book I could not help but picture this story being told by the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future.
Definitely. It was difficult to pause or walk away from The Judging Eye.
I would try another book from R. Scott Bakker but not with Kevin Orton som narrator.
I would change the narrator.
His reading was overall annoying.
It might have but I will have to read it in another format to find out.
I really looked forward to the Aspect Emperor triology, I even added the second book to my wishlist. But I see that Kevin Orton narrated that one too so it will get off the list.
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