According to mythology, mankind used to live in 'The Tranquiline Halls': Heaven. But then the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms, but the Voidbringers followed. The Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, the Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, mankind finally won (or so the legends say).
Today the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world is at war with itself - and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne.
On a world scoured down to the rock by terrifying hurricanes, a young spearman is forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn't understand and doesn't really want to fight.
©2010 Dragonsteel Entertainment LLC (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Limited
Fantasy fanatic, sci fi dabbler
This book consumed my life for 3 weeks. Not a second of it was wasted.
All of the characters are interesting and real. Even the bit players stuck with me - Ishic the Fisherman in particular. I really hope that Sanderson will expand on some of those in the next books - I'm optimistic, from all reports he'll have plenty of pages to fill :). I keep trying to imagine what will happen when all of the characters eventually meet (for instance, I'm certain that Rock will fall head-over-heels for Shalan).
The glimpses you get of the 'magic' systems are intriguing, and I kept catching myself trying to put the pieces of it together when I really should have been doing other things (sleeping, for instance).
The environment is unique, the plants and animals are a mixture of the familiar and strange and hint at events that must have happened in the world's past ... and even as I write this, I'm putting more pieces together :) I think I may have to listen to it for a 5th time.
I would recommend listening to the whole book at least twice. Listening over it again with hindsight/foreknowledge of where the story is going lets you see events in a very different way, and the simple length means that even the most careful listener will miss some gems. I'm considering buying the hardcopy as well.
Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.
I have listened to over 100 Audiobooks, and this is the first time I really felt the need to write a review. I picked up a Brandon Sanderson book about two years ago, and was immediately impressed by his writing style. Too many fantasy writers forget how important it is that their worlds should also have rules and limits and plausible (if fantastic) magic. Every brilliant writer is an artist on his own, and should not be compared to another. Brandon Sanderson completed the Wheel of Time series, and I hope that he wouldn’t therefor mind being compared to Robert Jordan. An amazing story and a satisfying end, although I feel the itch of the addicted for the next book. The brilliant narration by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading (the narrators for the Wheel of Time) takes you right into the world and leave you hungry for more. I give this book my highest recommendation and my only wish is that I can have a selective memory loss so that I can enjoy this one again.
Epic, brilliant, extensive
Getting towards the end, I found every opportunity to listen.
Being such an epic this title begins by developing some backgrounds and history pertinent to the the overall story. In doing so the story takes a bit of time to form but when it does there is no disputing that this is an outstanding epic journey into a completely original culture and world. Initially I felt that Brandon Sanderson was, in a way, showing off his ability to create such a different society but after giving the title time to develop my opinion was utterly changed. Please stick with this book, you will be glad you did....
This was very new to me. I thought I was going to be bogged down with slow periods in a long drawn out novel. I was very wrong. Splendid.
Wow! Brilliant! One doesn't realise Brendan Sanderson's genius until you reach the end and can encompass the entire book. To write 40 hours of material with focus and and keeping the dialogues sharp and inventive is a unique talent.
This book had a great variety of characters. Some "critic" reviews on other sites have complained about characters lacking depth. But, I found all the characters were well rounded and had a variety of facets to their personality.
I would highly recommend listening to this book.
I've been looking for a good epic fantasy world since I've finished Sword of Truth and got as far as you can with Wheel of Time, and if this book is anything to go buy The Stormlight Archive is going to be an amazing Epic fantasy series.
It might just be because this book has the same narrators as the Wheel of Time but the writing style is very similar to Robert Jordan, this might be why he was asked to finish off the WoT series after Jordan's death.
The writing is great, the narration is great and the action scenes flow nicely enabling me to really visualise the story in my mind.
Love it, five stars isn't enough.
top story, characters and writing and really subtlety performed
the attack on the tower plateau
I have both audio and printed version of this book. I would listen to the audio and go back and re-read the printed version. I often found that while listening, my mind wondered and missed some small details. I enjoyed in re-reading the printed version to "catch up" or find the missing plot. Further, I use both printed and audio books to help me in my reading/diction and accent. It is a great way of learning English.
The Wheel of Times - an epic fantasy novel, where this book is shaping up to be. Just hope the series don't take several decades to complete!!
Accents, the emotions in the voice bring the characters alive.
No, the audiobook and the print edition have different qualities.
The book is a very good bok in itself. With a nice plot, good characters that are not black and white, but flawed as well, and set in an interesting world. Add the that two very skilled narrators that bring the story to life, and you have a masterpiece.
A very well planned 1st chapter. A bit slow at first, and the indexes break the storytelling in my opinion. But interesting enough to grip you wanting to understand and find out what is happening and perhaps, why?
The narration is stellar and never boring.
Yet another corker from Brandon Sanderson. This enormous audiobook kept me gripped from start to finish, and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.
An aside: The sheer size of this epic audiobook (45.5 hours) does make me wonder why the publishers of the Game of Thrones audiobooks cannot release them in one purchase per book such as this, when Brandon Sanderson's epic is fully 15 hours longer...
"Philip from Winchester"
I won't spend time on a summarry as the publisher has that well covered. I have 105 Epic Fantasy titles in my audio library and I generally listen when out with the dogs or home alone, as it is a fairly anti-social activity. This is the first book I have listened to where I have found myself sneaking away to create 'listening space'. My interest didn't flag from beginning to end. The narration by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading is as expert as you would expect, the characters are engaging and both the world and the plot which Brandon has created are riveting. A real five star listen!
One of the best reads (or listens) I have ever had! Easily a five star rating - indeed it's making me question my other 5 star awards, as this is far superior to those. It's label of "epic fantasy" is more than justified. It's a unique story, in a unique landscape. Not so fantastical as to be ridiculous, but really well thought through, and everything gels together to make a world that is almost tangible. The plot is anything but predictable, nor are the characters. Many happy hours walking listening to this - and many "sneak away to keep listening" moments too!
A really good listen (and the narrators are good - I think the dislike of Ms Reading must be a personal thing for some listeners - apart from pronouncing one of the characters names in a completely different way to the other narrator, I thought she was fine.). Highly recommended. I read with dismay that book 2 is only scheduled to be out in 2012 - gutted at the long wait!
And a final thought.... it's a 7 part download of between 5& 7 hours each - pence per hour of listening, you'd be hard pressed to find better value thant this!
"Slow Burning Magnificance"
It would have been easy to dismiss this audio book after three or four hour due to the assault on my memory with the bewildering number of characters and an alien world introduced in a short amount of time, but persevere and it does not disappoint. The main characters grow depth as their history builds with recollections from the past enhancing this. The seemingly separate strand converge brilliantly leading to a satisfying finale. I appreciate the use of two narrators for the male and female roles, but if there is one slight criticism it is that they were not prepped on the pronunciation of the main characters names, this doing it differently in some cases.
"The Patient Giant of the Fantasy Genre"
Brandon Sanderson has achieved something marvelous here. From the very opening scenes it is crystal clear that you are reading an author who has developed a fantasy world of incredible depth and detail. In these early action scenes he demonstrates a refreshingly ingenious form of combat magic, depth of character and hints at the world beyond. As the book unfolds the sheer scale of his imagination is revealed as the history, geography, flora, fauna, religion and mythology of his creation is revealed. This is done gradually without huge long paragraphs of description to bog things down.
The characters too are thoroughly detailed and explored through conversation, flashbacks to previous times and even their dreams. There are no one-dimensional heroes or villains here, nothing in that sense is spoon fed as the characters have a constant struggle to find their right path. When reading this book time and again you will imagine you know where something is heading and be pulled up short. Sanderson is a very patient author and doesn’t take the easy plot route often.
Of course with a book of this length the narration is important, forty-six hours of monotone would make this hard going and the idea of splitting the narration is a very sound one. Michael Kramer is excellent, he rumbles through the book adding real gravitas and atmosphere to Sanderson’s often grim world and its inhabitants. Kate Reading is eloquent and very precise but clearly not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m afraid she’s not mine, her intonation is too often lacking the correct inflection making her sound like an automaton at times. She does read much less of the book than her counterpart but I still think the audio sample should have included some of her reading to help prospective purchasers make an informed decision.
All told this is a book that demands respect, it does take an investment from you to get through it but the rewards are incredibly rich. I was hooked in from the brilliant opening scenes which included some very innovative ideas. Sanderson is a genuine giant in the fantasy genre and those wanting depth, detail and new ideas coupled with a gripping story will definitely want to head this way. The last few hours of the story are as good as anything I have read.
"Excellent story, well worth a listen"
Very engaging, well paced story that trots along keeping you listening for more. This being my second book of Sanderson's but my first fantasy read, I am now, without doubt hooked. Sanderson creates very inventive "magic" worlds with very engaging characters that allow you to explore that world. Micheal Kramer is great but Kate Reading is absolutely abysmal; at her worse she sounds like a really awful droning computer generated voice that has almost no expressive inflection, has terrible timing and no natural rhythm. She sounds incredibly robotic and truly annoying. I really do hope that she is not included in the next book in the series . That said it's still worth suffering through her chapters as Micheal Kramer reads the majority of the book and the story is definitely very worthwhile despite this. So, be warned but not put off spending a credit on this listen (plus it's very decent value for money)
Not having the time the read this book (or perhaps the strength to lift it) I chose to listen to it.
I confess that I got 2-3 hours in an realised my mind had wondered so much that I had no idea what was going on. That is not good. However, on a second attempt I got up to speed and really enjoyed it. At first I was a little miffed that the readers are American. I generally don't like that. Reading isn't my preferred reader by any means. Kramer and Reading read all the Wheel of Time books on audio and I wasn't that attracted to her then - I have only listened to the first one. Her intonation is quite annoying at times. Perhaps not to the north american ear but it is to mine. I get through 3-4 audio books a month so I've listened to a few now.
Otherwise, it's a great book and worthy of the David Gemmell Legend Award for fantasy. It's high fantasy with a broad sweep and a different feel with Shardblades, light-eyes, great use of the stormlight in allowing wielders of it to 'lash' themselves to walls and ceilings such that 'up' becomes 'down' and so on. Great world building and vision with some truly memorable characters. High fantasy at its best.
If it wasn't for Reading, I would have given it a 5.
I have just finished listening to this book and can't wait for the next instalment!! Elegantly written, exceptionally well narrated by two of my favourites, building slowly to an exciting conclusion. It plummets you into despair then lifts you to great heights, unpredictable and thrilling. The characters are believable even the ones with fantastic gravity defying abilities, this is pure fantasy at it's best and I loved it. I have enjoyed Mr Sanderson's other books but this one is out on it's own, my all time favourite.
"So far so good???"
Oh what a shame, I was really enjoying Michael Kramer's narration and getting into the book nicely and then.....Kate Reading joins in. Her voice is like a female Steven Hawkins - it's awful! I loved Michael Kramer's narration of the Mistborn books and couldn't wait to listen to another book by Brandon Sanderson that was read by him. The book sample you can listen to before purchasing did not give you a taster of Reading's voice, but I figured that since Kramer is so good, she was bound to be too. I was sooo wrong.
I am, however, persevering with the story because, like all of Sanderson's books, it is so good and grips you from the first that you have to keep going. I am blisfully enjoying where Kramer narrates and wading through Reading's chapters. The book is too good for me to allow her to spoil it completely. I am, however, a little nervous of listening to the Wheel of Time series that I am starting to purchase, as Reading also contributes to that narration. The reviews note that she only does a few chapters so I may be able to suffer her voice if that's the case.
Still can't believe they used her? What's wrong with Kramer narrating the whole thing? Oh well, back to it...
I have read this book on kindle and listened to it on Audible and I must say that this is a story well worth reading regardless of the format. Multiple lead characters, good plot lines and a ruddy good romp of magic, fantasy and action. Sanderson has devised another good magic system that sets this book apart from the typical works in this genre.
This is one of the higher quality works in this genre so please try it as I don't think you will be disappointed.
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