Winds of Fate is the first book in the Mage Winds Trilogy.
High Magic has been lost to Valdemar centuries ago when the last Herald-Mage gave his life to save the kingdom from destruction by dark sorceries. Yet now the realm is at risk again. And Elspeth, Herald and heir to the throne, must take up the challenge, abandoning her home to find a mentor who can awaken her untrained mage abilities. But others, too, are being caught up in a war against sorcerous evil.
The Tayledras scout Darkwind is the first to stumble across the menace creeping forth from the "Uncleansed Lands." And as sorcery begins to take its toll, Darkwind may be forced to call upon powers he has sworn never to use again if he and his people are to survive an enemy able to wreak greater devastation with spells of destruction than with swords....
©1991 Mercedes R. Lackey (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
So this is a high paced sword and sorcery adventure story, and the narrator seems to have turned it into an audio tranquilizer. Painfully slow narration, with odd pacing and inflections and strange accents and voice choices for the characters. Sometimes it almost sounded like the book was being read by a text-to-speech program instead of a human actress.
Ultimately, it was unlistenable for me. I've loved these books for years, but I'll have to go on loving them as *books* and not audiobooks, because this was a total bust. Especially disappointing because I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook versions of Mercedes Lackey's 500 kingdoms series, as well as the Elemental Masters series. A pity that her flagship Valdemar series received such lackluster treatment.
I'm a long-time Mercedes Lackey fan and was prepared to enjoy this familiar story in a new medium. I like the tension between Elspeth and the Companions, and I loved that she dressed up and went around with a brassy female mercenary on their journey. However, the narration was not of the same quality I'm used to from other audiobooks. Free public domain librevox recordings have better editing.
Need, probably, because this book is where her character goes from a vague idea to an actual personality, which I enjoy.
I might have to find Karen White and fight her if she says "mere" one more time when she means "merc." She did it once in the same paragraph that she said "mercenary company." There is no way that the context clues were not pointing toward ::shortened version of the word mercenary, which begins "m -e - r - c":: even if an error did cause many of the "merc" references to show up as "mere." But it's possible she was not permitted to correct even very obvious typos? I'll listen to the rest of this series, but not seek her narration out again.
I give this audiobook a 3, because the story is great, but the narrator.. ugh.
Euan Morton. Karen White has serious issues with masculine voices, as well as keeping track of who uses what kind of accent or voice change. ALL of her male voices are high-pitched, raspy, breathy, hissy. It is highly irritating. For accents overall, she does not seem able to maintain any one accent for one character.
I first read this book in middle school, over fifteen years ago, and it's just as good then as it is now. It starts slow but the story develops beautifully once the two main characters come together. I do wish the narrator would stick to accents and would stop attempting to make the male characters voices sound gruff and gravely. It would have been a great deal more enjoyable if a male narrator performed the men and Darkwind, but we can't always get what we want. The narrator made Elspeth sound like a spoiled annoying brat, while reading the actual book originally made her seem strong and more fierce. I found myself disliking Elspeth when listening to the narrator interpret her.
This is a familiar book to me that I enjoy, but the performance is just so sub par that it should be redone. I can only assume that the author never had anything to do with the recording -- or ever read the e-book (OCR) version of her books, or ever heard the final product.
It's fanciful and fun and I generally like the way that the Valdemar books are written.
Karen White's cadence is deliberate and ponderous. Early on, the inflections of her sentences is remarkably similar. She was obviously uncomfortable and unpracticed with the fantasy words used.
Also, she's not an amazing actress in general. Her voice is pleasant. I wish she would have used accents less -- I would have rather had a more homogenous world than the sense that characters spoke their own languages slowly and uncomfortably.
Well, I like the book and had some credits to burn, so I won't be turning them back in. However, it should never have been 18 hours. That length was based on the slow pace of the reader.
The OCR errors should never have gone live. I'm truly shocked that no one in the recording and reviewing process ever questioned words that appear to be randomly inserted into sentences in ways that don't make sense. I understand that the fantasy words could be mis-read without anyone not familiar with books. However, when the text is english, there's no excuse.
I love this story I always have. I wish Audible had all of the Queen's Arrows series the predecessor of these. A story set in a different world, different countries, different ways of ruling, add in true magic, mind magic, and swordsmanship. Add in loyalty, love, betrayal, loss. The story especially when all are read has some wonderful twist and turns and outcomes. I will say it is more geared to a younger crowd, teens to early twenties, and does not deal in depth into philosophical issues. Its just a good story with nothing riding beneath it.
That said. the narrator... She could be good, maybe. The narrative voice is excellent. the character voices are somewhat grating. Her pronunciation of some of the strange words, at first did not bother me. by then end I was correcting her constantly it was starting to get to me. That said though I have previously listened to the Magic Price stories, that thankfully have good pronunciations and that is probably some of my irritation. I am getting the books one at a time, in case I reach a point I can not tolerate the narrator, I am hoping I can as I enjoy listening to books, not just reading them.
I loved this story until I heard this presentation of it. I suppose if you want to fall asleep this will do.
BORING!!!! the narrator destroys the story with her awful reading.
Good, but the reader repeatedly says "merc" as "mere". It's the abbreviation of "mercenary", not "merely" anything. Clearly, it's a usage the reader wasn't familiar with, so she replaced the "c" with an "e" to make the word familiar.
Other than that, a couple of names came out differently than were pronounced in older works. The Queen's Own is "Talia", whom this reader pronounces "tah-LEE-uh" instead of the usual "TAH-lee-uh". Fans of this author get very picky about things like that.
All that aside, it was a wonderful reading.
The book is one I've read before and it's one of my 'comfort food' books. This review is for the narration.
The narrator's voice is pleasant, though slow (I sped up the play back for my own preference). There are many times the word merc (as in short for mercenary), is read as the word mere. There were a few other places where the wrong word is read, possibly due to typos in the text the narrator is using. When this happens itt throws me out of the story.
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