The first book in the Song of Shattered Sands trilogy - an epic fantasy in the vein of A Thousand and One Nights.
In the city of Sharakhai, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape by a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall of the cruel, immortal Kings of Sharakhai. Then on the holy night when the powerful yet wretched creatures known as the Asirim wander the city and take tribute in order to protect the Kings, one of them tells Çeda the origin of their dark bargain. And this dangerous secret may be the very key she needs to throw off the iron grip the Kings have had over Sharakhai....
©2015 Bradley P. Beaulieu (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
Bought the book because I like a fantasy - sci-fi and strong female protagonists, but I could not get behind Ceda or into her world. She's unbeatable in the arena, but inexplicably, got walked over elsewhere. I got through a few hours of of disinterested listening. I realized it had taken me weeks to read so little. A few more weeks passed without turning this book back on. I love Audible, and have quite a few books piled up to read, but this book killed my desire to listen to books. (I filled up my driving and gym time with podcasts - check out Serial.) I didn't dislike Ceda or the other characters, and the narration was forgettable but not objectionable. It was just boring. My bad. I should have switched to another book. Today, I started listening to Career of Evil, and returned this book to Audible. (The return option is great! I've been an Audible member for 12 years, bought over 900 books, and returned only a handful, but the option takes the risk out of buying a book.)
An engineer enjoying his share of escapism.
Picked this one up on a whim without reading any reviews and was pleasantly surprised. The world and story setting felt both fresh and creative. I particularly enjoyed how the story and background of the twelve kings was gradually discovered throughout the book. I'll be looking forward to the next instalment in the series, just to read more about the world and its story.
Storytelling and progression itself was also entertaining enough. However, don't jump in expecting too much depth from the main characters. Both Çeda and Emre felt somewhat naïve and overly obsessed with a single thought, which I found seriously off-putting and almost binned this as a 3-star book because of it. The overall story and, surprisingly, the narration made me rethink the rating, though.
So, the narration... Yes, the narrator puts a lot of emphasis into the voices. Yes, she can't growl like an angry old man (have you heard Roy Dotrice's female voices, though?). Yes, she makes this feel more like a story book than serious contemplation over politics and oppression of an imaginary city. And yes, without her, I believe the book would have been far less entertaining to listen to. Character dialogues are often lacklustre enough, so I dread thinking what they would sound like in a steadily monotonous voice. :)
I abandoned the book after an hour because the performance of the narrator was the verbal equivalent of William Shatner's acting. Everything was drawn out, over-enunciated, unnecessarily stressed. The male characters also mostly sounded muddled and mildly brain damaged. I just decided I'd rather read it than keep listening to so distractingly poor a performance.
I like the story. However, I found the narrator annoying. Why English accent? The way she randomly change her voice for the same character also does not make sense either. Hopefully, she improves for the next novel. Otherwise, I won't buy the next book as an audible version.
It was well told and performed. I was hooked by the main character after the first 8 mins.
Ceda but I think she could do much better then Emray(sp?)I like her courage and determination. I very much enjoy stories of strong female characters who do not fit the mold.
When Ceda learns where she came from.
Yes it did both make me laugh and cry. Though I find myself really disliking Emray, which is fine. It may even be that I am not meant to like him.
I hope it is not too long a wait for the next one.
Note, I started with the prequel story. I don't think that story does justice to the writer when placed up against this novel. This was a very good listen. I enjoyed the flashbacks and viewpoint changes. It felt like those sequences were necessary for the color of the book. I only felt a couple hair whispers from logic breaks...but nothing that seemed to break the story completely apart...I just wish I had more meat behind why they didn't kill Ceda(sp) when she first appeared at their doorstep...its not like they were portrayed as merciful to that point...maybe something hidden in the next book?..I can hope.
I recommend spending a credit.
Twelve Kings is a pretty solid first book of a series. As a listener, I had some trouble following the plot due to the repeated jumps in the timeline, but once I was hooked on the main plot the jumps back to the past bothered me less and started to add to the story rather than distract. That said, it took about eleven hours out of the 25+ total listen to really get to that point. The saving grace for such a long hook is that the climax of the story is actually rather satisfying and left me wanting more, which I am fortunate enough to get in 3 days after writing this review when the second book is released.
I listened to all 25 hours, so clearly I enjoyed it, but I don't think I'll listen to the future installments in this series. It was about 30% too long, the pacing was uneven, and it didn't end up going anywhere really. And yet I listened to all of it.
Her voice is pleasant, but it is obvious she narrates a lot of romance novels. Her voice could be really shaky, breathless, and dramatic too often. Half the time I liked it and half the time it drove me nuts. Kind of like the rest of the book.
Search out other fantasy stories set in non-Western worlds.
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