I bought this book because I thought, from the description, that it would be an interesting exploration of a fascinating concept. By the 3rd chapter,..Show More » it was clear that the premise of the story was nothing more than a vehicle for the author to pen a "Ren Fare" fantasy of how the earth would devolve into a huge live action D&D game after the event. From the celtic mythology, the mother earth stuff and the Lord of the Rings references; the author is clearly in love with the world of knights, dark lords, swordcraft, witches and wizardry. I don't mind that stuff--and the book seems passable in that regard--but to describe it as less than a forum contrived for the purpose of telling such a tale is less than honest. I became so disappointed at being "tricked" into buying it by a much broader description of its subject that I'm now too annoyed to finish it. Even the D&D world jargon is too much. I wich the author had woven a few of these elemnts into a broader and more interesting story rather than making this fanatsy element the focus of the book. At the very least, the publisher and Audible should have said more about what it was really about. Do the reviewers even read these things beyond chapter 2...?
If you've read my review for Stirling's first novel in the series, "Dies The Fire," you know I enjoyed it immensely, and rated it highly. Actually, I..Show More »'ve read much of the series, and am continuing to enjoy the experience.
That being said...
This is the biggest challenge to get to those great reads - Get through this second book in the series. It's slower, a bit less action, and a LOT of explaining and establishing "future history," as well as religious changes and beliefs. Whew, a bit challenging, to say the very least. Still, a good (and necessary) read, if you want to get to the better work in the series.
Now, you may read the other reviews regarding this audiobook, and they're not exactly loaded with high praise for its slower speed and detailed lore. That being said, realize that the author is setting up quite a universe for what's coming. Look at the Dune series of books, and the extreme amount of establishment that occurred. MUCH more than this work, but it paid off.
It will do so here, as well.
So, if you like a good audiobook series as much as I do, and know that there will be a book or two that sacrifice "edge of your seat" listening/reading so that subsequent works in the series can soar, dive in and get lost in the lore of what's coming.
You'll need it for the excellent listening that's on the way!
The war promised in the previous book does come to pass. Familiar faces return and a few lesser known characters are explored in more detail. Story is..Show More » split between 4-5 major factions as the action becomes more diverse.
This book seems more "comfortable" with itself and hits the mark promised by the basic premise of the series. Descriptions become a little less repetitive and some characters get a lot more interesting.
Narration is good and addresses some of the more common complaints about pronunciation found in previous books. Could stand to have a slightly longer moment of silence when a scene ends dramatically and before the next scene begins some time later.
I read the series from the beginning and looked forward to listening to it very much as I drive 2500 miles a month. Todd McLaren, the reader, does a ..Show More »very good job with voices, accents and tone but has an infuriating habit of mispronouncing simple words - i.e., when someone bares their teeth, he reads it as "barred". There are way too many of those to list. If you're accustomed to hearing what you've read, be prepared for a bumpy read - it's jarring when it happens. Probably the most egregious mispronunciation is when someone of Celtic origin says "Shite", he pronounces it "She-ite" - like the Muslim sect. Sets my teeth on edge and I lose the thread of the story because it's so distracting.
I just finished listening to this book today. For the past month or so I have been listening to the series and, as usual, was disappointed to reach th..Show More »e end. The characters are easy to like or hate. There is plenty of action in all the books and this is no exception. I recommend that you not read the books out of sequence.
I don't want to write more because I might give hints about the plot and how it develops. So I will end by saying If you enjoy RR Martin's and Robert Jordan's books you cannot go wrong with this series.
The story is epic in scope, passable in style. A good ripping yarn, but not a classic.
The narrator has excellent control. Each character had..Show More » a unique, fitting accent and it was clear instantly who was speaking (or thinking) most of the time. Unfortunately, the narrator had a few annoying and recurring pronunciation errors that really jarred me when they occurred. Pronouncing "chete" as "sheet" is understandable, but since it's based on "machete", he should probably have pronounced it "shetty". "Coif", when referring to headgear is pronounced "koyf", not "kwaf" (which refers to the hair). And every time an animal "barred" its teeth, I had to grind my teeth to keep from yelling out "BARED".
Please, audiobook narrators, get your pronunciations right before you start! If you're not absolutely sure how a word is pronounced, please look it up, or ask the author! These pronunciation issues jar me out of an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable listening experience.
There is a definite problem with the recording in Part 2 at the point when the group returns home. There is a need to correct this and offer a replace..Show More »ment recording to purchasers.
I am less and less satisfied with the series as it moves from a gripping story of diverse and well drawn characters coping with a world that has suddenly changed into a ho hum oft told tale of a quest for the magic thingie that will defeat the evil ... so on and so forth, etc.
This particular episode reads as if the author decided he needed to get the main character home ASAP and finally married to his soulmate. Disappointing
Didja ever wonder what was going on in Montival while Rudy and the gang were on the sword quest? Me neither. (12 hours of that) . Dies the Fire was ..Show More »a really fun thought experiment. Hard Sci-fi and swashbucker and whatwouldUdo post-apocalypse thought experiment. I even enjoy trying to use my undergraduate physics (quantum mechanics and Boyles Law) to explain the "change" Macguffin to my friends. The 2-followups set the hook ...or maybe I actually just skimmed the food porn in the first four books (advantage to print). Anyway, I'm still enjoying the ride. But the ride IS getting slower. Makes me wonder why he's spends time recapping the origin stories (like sequels usually do) because anyone still here at book EIGHT was surely here from the beginning. Worth a credit for emberverse fans. If you're new, head for book one then decide.
I actually loved the story, but the '4 out of 5' rating and the title of this review stem from the fact that I feel, like others who..Show More » have written reviews here, that this book and the last should have been a single work - the majority of "Lord of Mountains" was simply a continuation of "Tears of the Sun." It is clearly necessary for there to be continuity between books in a series, but this one felt more like a "Part II" of "Tears" rather than a sequel that could stand alone. Each of Stirling's other novels in the series constantly built on each other, but could easily have been grabbed at random and, while the reader might scratch his/her head for a moment pondering details, would still have been able to convey the essentials of the story - not true here.
However, even if "Lord of Mountains" should have been packed into the last book,it was another fantastic installment in a unique and fulfilling series. I have been with the story since "Dies the Fire," and I read the Nantucket series, from which the Emberverse series sprang, before that. Never before has a series captivated me as much. I "plug in" on my commute to and from work, at my lunch break, and any time I have a spare moment or two - it is definitely worth the read (or listen)!
Still, as much as I love the series, I hope "The Given Sacrifice" draws the story to a close before there are "diminishing returns;" i.e., before the story stagnates. I have heard rumors that another series will follow this one, beginning yet another Changeling generation's tale, but - and it pains me to say it with as much as I have loved all of these - I sincerely hope not. I'm sure, as with other writers, that S.M. Stirling still has volumes of story and wonderful things to add to the world of The Change locked in his creative mind, but, as the saying goes: sometimes more isn't better, it's just more...all good things not only do, but should, come to an end, or they don't stay good things.
One thing that impresses me about all the audiobooks in the series (Nantucket and Emberverse) is that Todd McLaren has a) been used for every book and, b) he, as a narrator, is so consistent in his tones, his portrayal of each character, and his ability to draw emotion from the "reader" based on his performance. There are a good many audiobook series wherein a different narrator steps in each time, or there is a disconnect when a specific narrator goes on "hiatus" for a book or two, then returns (often only to forget their characters and the overall feel they themselves set up). McLaren is a master!
In short, thumbs, way, way up for the entire 12-book (so far) story and for Todd McLaren's performance of it, but Mr. Stirling: as awesome as it is, please wrap it up before the wonder and magic start to fade!
Overview: I have followed this story from the Nantucket series forward, and I have loved nearly every minute of it. However, I must admit my dwind..Show More »ling enthusiasm since "Tears of the Sun," and my particular disappointment with this book. It actually pains me to give such a low rating to a story that I have been so in love with, but there does come a time when an author needs to call done, done, and avoid diminishing returns.
The Audiobook/Narration: This has been the high point throughout all of the series: Todd McLaren has performed every book, which is a rare thing to find in a series with so many books - you almost always get at least one or two others to come in and, in my opinion, generally "upset the apple cart." Say what you will about some of the mispronunciations of words and places, but as a Scot myself, and one used to hearing the Gaelic, I can can tell you that even "native" speakers massacre a word here and there! But, he has been absolutely consistent in his vocal representations of every character, such that you don't need the "said Rudi," or "said Juniper," to alert you to whomever it is speaking. Not exactly an easy feat, what with a year or more between recordings! Hats off to Mr. McLaren.
"The Given Sacrifice:" That said, I rate this book lowest of low in the series for a number of reasons. First, it is my opinion that "Tears of the Sun," Lord of Mountains," and "The Given Sacrifice" should all have been ONE book. In fact, all of them seem only designed to set the stage for the NEXT series, detailing the story of Generation III of 'The Change.' There is a sense of rushing and being incomplete in each of these last three books. We are introduced to characters, or are walking alongside characters we've known from the start, then suddenly there's a, "aaaaand...they're not important anymore, so moving on..." and "poof" - where did they go?
In this final iteration (thus far) we, in fact, get time warped from cradle to adulthood with those who will take center stage in the next part of the series, suddenly hearing about the deaths of characters we have know and loved (or loved to hate), or characters of the same esteem who have been shunted off north somewhere, or driven so far into the background that we know they will be cameos or less than cameos from here onward.
Here's the thing: we GREW UP with Rudi, with Mathilda, with Mary and Ritvah and the rest; we "knew" them from childhood to the crowing of the King and foundation of Montival. As such, we shared every triumph, every grief, and all the wonder that the characters did - we were invested in them.
SPOILER ALERT: At the end of this book, however much we have been prepared for Rudi's death, his daughter, her friends, and a good many others ride into the final battle, unblooded and nervous, but...who cares? We don't know them; have no investment in them; and to be honest, as we see only strangers taking the guise of people we have known and loved, there is an absolute feeling of let-down. Not simply because a beloved character has died, but because, once again, we get a sense of, "so THAT happened...aaaand moving on - forget all of those folks; here's the new folks - ta-da!"
Sorry, and I do submit that this is only one man's opinion, but things should have been wrapped up long before, and left with the gold old fashion "let the reader finish the future," for good or ill.
There simply is a time to say "when," and call something great good enough.
Love your writing Mr. Stirling, but with this one - nay, with "The High King of Montival," I'd say - enough was enough.