Listen to more books in The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches series.
©2002 Robert Stanek; (P)2005 Reagent Press
"[A] complex tale...sure to attract fans of graphic novels and classic Tolkien alike....Stanek will likely draw a cult following....This cliffhanger guarantees fans, and those fans will be ready to wield their swords against the Dark Lord in Stanek's next installment." (Voice of Youth Advocates)
I tried to like it. I really did. I?m an avid SciFi reader and I assumed that with all of the 4 star reviews this book must be a winner. I tried to listen to it on three separate occasions, but I was never able to get into it. I also though the dialog sounded contrived. The book opens with a short soliloquy from a female character, but it sounds like something out of a high school creative writing class. Oh yeah, and the narrator is annoying.
The reader of this book is like nails screeching on the blackboard for me! I have tried to get through it four times, and he is just torturously painful to listen to. I really wanted to get into this one(the story really piqued my interest), but the annoying narration has killed it for me each time.
Please listen to a sample and imagine the whole book droning on in the same way for hours, before purchasing.
I love to listen to audiobooks, and have listened to many of audible's offerings over the past few years. I have loved each and every experience and have naught a bad word to say about every other book I have purchased.
Story seems great, but proceed with caution. I warned you!
Based on the reviews, I was really surprised by the lack of quality in the narration of this book. It's extremely difficult to listen to. As another reviewer mentioned, there is virtually no transition when they switch from one character or section to another, and the narrator has an odd way of speaking that I have difficulty understanding. (I usually prefer narrators with accents, so it's not just the accent.)
As for the content, I didn't find anything outstanding. The characters seemed flat and were at times difficult to tell apart. Descriptions were few & far between, to the point that I had difficulty determining when a scene was set in the same place it had been earlier in the book. Dialogue - yawn.
Definitely not recommended. (Because I find that it's easier to determine if you have the same taste as a reviewer, here are some authors that I do enjoy: Tolkien, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Anne McCaffrey, Susan Cooper, Douglas Adams.)
I'm completely kicking myself. I desperately needed a new series to read and have been enjoying juvenile fiction lately. The reviews looked pretty good at a cursory glance and so I bought all 4 books. At the same time. Without previewing them. I listened to the first one and was thoroughly confused. Where was the plot? It was more of a "really crappy introduction to the main characters" Seriously, it couldn't keep my attention at all and that's not like me. I never had any problem stopping or turning it off.
I finished the first book and thought the perhaps I was missing something. After all, there are all these glowing reviews, right? I even listened to all of the second one (I was desperate, OK?) and while the plot did seem to advance just a little bit, the writing was equally terrible and I was equally disinterested. I've given up. And I have to wonder about all those reviews......
Huge waste of money, cannot get past the narrator's monotone cadence to follow the story. After concentrating really hard on the words, I believe the story to be great. But, we could not sit through more than a few chapters before we were disgusted. I think I will try it in paperback. Don't buy this narrator's work. He is terrible.
This is the start of something special! I've always loved epic fantasy especially when the story is well done. The author not only paints a visual picture, he transports you into another world where the characters are cut from whole cloth and the world is deeply imagined.
There are good books and then there are great books. The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches is definitely a great book. As others have said though this is only the beginning. I would highly suggest getting both the first and the second books before listening. That way you can keep going when the first book ends, and you'll definitely want to.
The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches is four books in all. I can only hope books three and four come to Audible soon. What I'm surprised no one has said in reviews is about how each book gets better. Having read all four first, I can tell you without doubt books three and four are incredible. To understand what happens in the later books you really do need to start at the beginning though (book one).
Over all these books are outstanding. Well worth the price and time. The narrative is very good. I can't wait for the next one.
I don't usually like fantasy so I was a bit skeptical about this book. My teens wanted it so much I gave in. Apparently they've read all the author's books in paperback and wanted to see how the story would be to listen to.
I agree with the previous reviewers of this book about this being only the beginning of a much larger story. I think someone else said Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was very much the same. Make no mistake, like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and The Fellowship of the Ring, this is very much an introduction to the fantasy world of the authors imagining.
What I liked about it, and I don't normally like fantasy, is the believability of the storylines and how well drawn the characters are. Each character has a background, a history, wants, needs, desires. If you have no feeling in you whatsoever I guess I could see how you wouldn't like this book. Adrina pull's on your heart strings because she is in so much pain over the loss of her mother. Vilmos experiences much adolescent angst. Poor Seth and Galan get the worst luck of all.
I think this book owns all five stars easily. It's well written with a great story and a good reader who does a good job of telling it.
Writers like JK Rowling may get all the ink in the press but there are very few writers of Stanek's caliber. The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches is a wholly engaging story, filled with delightful characters. This book gets everything going and sets up the story beautifully for the sequel The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches II.
Both I and my 7-year-old son found the book almost painfully boring: Very little happens through much of it, the narrator's voice tends to be flat, and the lack of pauses between changing characters makes it very hard to follow at times. Having listened to over two dozen audio books with my son on our morning commute, this is the first one he's not liked at all.
I love Fantasy books and this had the makings of a good story. But the execution was horrible. There is NO continuity in the story. If it did not clearly state that this was an Unabridged version I would swear it was a horribly mangled abridgment. I actually listened to all 4 hoping beyond hope that it would get better, that the author would actually pull the story together, but it never did. In 4 books the story progresses very little and you will need to continue on with the "In the Service of Dragons" series if you want to find out what happens. I usually do not select books under 8 hours but I made an exception in this case and I am regretting that decision. In fact in the well over 100 books that I have purchased from Audible these are the only books I actually regret purchasing. You have been warned...
When a book wins as many awards and accolades as these books have, you know they're pretty good, and they are. The writing throughout the series is a sheer delight. The reading is superb as well, with spot on voicing of the characters and the narrative.
Having read all the novels previously with my sons I can honestly say The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches is one of the best things going. Each book in the series is better than the one before. My favourite of all is this one. The sweeping scenes and rich prose make this more than a good book; it is an excellent book.
The series is four books. The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches #1, #2, #3, and #4. Don't start if you don't plan on listening to them all, because you won't be able to stop. If you start, you have Edward Tallyback, Erravane Queen of the Wolmerrelle, King's Mate, kingdom trios, the elf queen, king cats, eagle lords, a dragon king, and more to look forward to.
With all the dastardly villains and endearing characters, Mr. Potter could find himself with some serious competition. Certainly one of the most richly imagined novels I'm come across in all my years of reading.
Full praise to Robert Stanek.
Starts simple, but keep going because it picks up in the second one. A must read series.
"Is this the readers first book?"
After reading some of the other reviews I was looking forward to hearing this, however I did not get past the first 20 minutes. The reader spoilt the whole experience, either he was being paid a fixed fee, so was doing the job as quickly as possible or it was his first reading role. The experience is that he reads too fast without conveying anything of the text or showing any feeling of the book. He also speaks in a breathless way which is very disconcerting and he his either trying to do a British type accent or a posh American which you spend all your time trying to analyse without listening to the content. Overall a very poor attempt and I have obviously been spoilt before with this being the first time I have had such a bad experience. I cant really comment on the content or quality of the writing as the reader takes your whole attention.
"You have to read it"
This is one of my favourites - I read it a few years ago and loved it then. It is the start of one of the most engaging series I have had the good fortune to read. A must read for all, as it will have something for everyone that reads it, drama, action and a brilliant plot. My sister who had never touched a Fantasy book before got hooked on it when I gave it to her on Holiday. She's read all four now. To get the whole experience you have to read at least books one and two.
"Gave up listening to it..."
OK, maybe this picks up after a while, but I listened to the first hour and then gave up, it was just too much effort.
Given the other good reviews, maybe I should read the book rather than listen to it. The other reviews seem to be talking about 'reading' the book, rather than listening to it. It just seemed too complicated a book to listen to, so I couldn't grasp what was going on. I didn't find the narrator that easy to listen to either.
I may see if I can find a copy of the book (paper version) in a library to read to see if that's OK, as it seems to be easier to understand books with lots of detail in their plots when you can go back and look at things again and so on.
I found the narrator irritating: something about the inflection seemed to be very repetitive.
This is perhaps the most disappointing audiobook of the nearly 100 I have listened to. I found the characters so uninteresting, and the story so slow that I kept drifting off, and thinking about other things such that I was not really following the story
Despite being a fan of the fantasy genre, I cannot recommend this audiobook, unless it is to help you go to sleep
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