©2007 Jim Butcher; (P)2008 Penguin Audiobooks
This review applies to the series. Normally, I listen to sci-fi and decided to give this fantasy series a try because of the high ratings the books got at Amazon, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. The characters are excellent, the plot good, etc. The first book takes a little getting use to the new concept of furies and the author doesn't really try to explain how one gets these furies powers. (This probably explains some of the poor reviews on the 1st book) He does implied that it is genetic, but how many people in today's society really understand genetics? Who's ya daddy! The sixth book of this series is due out in November and I looking forward to it.
Kate Reading does one of the best jobs of narration in this series that I've heard anywhere! If you like a narration performance, you'll like this one. Lots of blood and guts, but very, very few 4-ltr words, if you dont count CROWs; - this series swear word.
Audible needs to cross-reference these audio books with the book reviews in Amazon, their parent company (I believe). This is especially true where there are few or no reviews on the book. Just a note about my high 5-star ratings - I usually only rate books that I really enjoy, hence high ratings in all my rating history. Hope this helps!
After reading the two preceding books, I Still can not figure out what the deal is with the horns. I can live with them, I just don't understand their purpose. I love this series and though it took me a while to snuggle in with all the characters, I feel as close to them now as I do with Jamie and Claire of the Outlander series. I'm glad I stuck with this one. The only reason it didn't get a five star rating was because of the excessive battle descriptions which I consider a cop out for book filler. He's got a better writers brain and shouldn't be stooping to such silly tactics.
The larger story arc of the series so far is wonderfully fascinating and intriguing. I have enjoyed following the main characters' arcs through the story. It is a bit black and white in some ways with the Very Bad being Very Bad and the Very Good... well, you get it, but there are a lot of grey areas and characters (Lady Placida is fantastic!) The story involving Fade and Isanna is beautifully written; Lady Aquitaine (et al) is fascinating...
My biggest problem with how the series is developing - and it's a major issue for me, is that at least 1/3 of the book is taken up with battle tactics during the war which seem much like a fantasy version of a History Channel documentary. Hours and hours are spent in detailed battle plans and execution. Nothing there there, just details of swords/arrows/spears/etc. While I can see how probably many fantasy fans find this exciting, to me, it became extremely tedious. Every battle or development in the war, over time, started to sound exactly the same in every respect. There's absolutely nothing creative or of interest for me in this kind of war documentary. To quote from the book: "And the battle went on, and on. And on." And it does.
This incidentally was why, of the Dresden Files, "White Knight" is probably my least favorite (huge battle there, which, compared to this Alera book, makes it seem short....)
Jim Butcher remains a favorite author of mine, but I'm not sure that I'll continue on with this Alera series, just because of these endless, tedious battle-upon-battle scenarios.
Last word: I sincerely wish that there was more actual story and development here. Mr. Butcher's creative imagination is strong, unique and wonderful. If you love battle scenes, you have a lot to love in this book.
Yes, every audio version of any book is better than the print. Who the hell would read a book when you have the best Narrator there is in Kate Reading to read it for you.
Every battle scene.
First let me say, I don't do reviews and am not a "staff writer" of which I suspect are the source of some reviews. Just my opinion. :-)
In either case, I just love this series. The characters, the storyline, etc.
I've done the Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind series. Good but not great. More soap opera than not. Always got the feeling it was written with a "string 'em along" publisher's attitude in mind. The Codex series is just a great series. The characters are kept to a manageable number and are very engaging. Jim Butcher's style is addicting. Yes, the good guy wins, but it's the way they win. Leaves you breathless.
Books 1 and 2 are, for me, simply captivating. I'm finishing up on book 3. and it's a nail biter to say the least. Likely I'll do them all.
The combination story and plot. Surprises were plentiful without "reaching" to unforeseen and unexplained character development and plots. I always attempt to map out where the story is going and why characters are being driven to do... This was a real treat with my guesses turning out about 50% right; and when I was wrong, a line could be drawn though earlier actions / character development. explaining the characters' actions.
Character development and interaction. Surprises that kept the storyline fresh.
Great narration. Many readers try to do the English brogue and become all but unintelligible. Kate did a great job of walking that line.
Say something about yourself!
While this book and the reading are both great, throughout the book there are randomly interspersed pauses for a short sound byte of trumpets blaring. It's not long but it comes at random times, often in the middle of scenes or even partially through a set of dialogue, and detracts from the experience. I wish the creators would remove these. There are also instances where it sounds like a pause was removed and one part of the reading falls right into the next part. As best I could tell none of the story was actually left out but the discontinuity is distracting and does make me worry a section was removed whenever it happens.
I loved the action in this book. It was constant and awesome. I enjoy how the story developed and then wrapped up. He has a way to "finish" a conflict while carrying others on. It was very entertaining to read.
It was slow to begin, but this book introduces many likeable characters that you can root for. Jim Butcher is great at creating characters and situation that show courage, honor and compassion.
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