Full honesty here. I picked up "The Dragons of Dorcastle" because it had the word "dragon" in the name. Stupid? Oh yeah. And If you pick this boo..Show More »k expecting an epic tale about dragons, that's...not going to happen. Sorry. But you will get a rather absorbing tale of two disparate people coming together in a way that has a surprising amount of payoff. The description of this book doesn't quite do the story justice, although it does give you a much better idea what the book is about than the title does. Kinda wish I had read it before I piked it up, but I'm not a big fan of romance in general. Even in stories where they're not the focus, I find them to be almost physically painful to read, and even worse to listen to because you can't "skim" sound. But the author managed to pull it off in such a way that it was believable, sweet, and really fascinating to watch unfold. The story has a very well developed world, characters, and lore, and a lot of things are being set up here for the rest of the series,
If I had known that I was going to like this book as much as I did I wouldn't have picked it up. I know how that sounds, but I like to "binge read" series I enjoy. So when I devoured this audiobook in just over a day, (and it only took me that long because I've got finals and that means "shit I need my full attention to do") I wanted to throw my phone at the wall, because it will be at least another year before I can read the next part.
So now I'm off to start a different series by Jack Campbell so I can fill the void. Until at least 2015. *Sigh*
The Hidden Masters of Marandur is the second book in the fantasy mixed with technology series Pillars of Reality. Taking place on the continent of Dem..Show More »atr in what I believe is a planet not our own, that humans must have colonized hundreds of years ago. The common people have their kingdoms and governments but are basically under the thumb and control of the two great guilds of Mages and Mechanics. These guilds hate one another except for Mari (mechanic) and Alain (Mage) who came together previously in the first book, The Dragons of Dorcastle, under very dangerous circumstances. This second installment is just as action packed as the first and continues their struggles together against their two guilds, various other nefarious forces and sets them on the road to fulfilling prophecy.
- I was worried at the end of the first book that Alain and Mari wouldn’t be featured together in the second book. Luckily, that wasn’t the case and we get to see them together again navigating dangerous scenarios, trying to figure out what their guilds might know about the two of them working together, escaping dark mechanics and meeting old faces from both of their past lives. I definitely continue to greatly enjoy the dynamics between these two characters especially their dialogue.
- Both the Mage Guild and Mechanics Guild seem to operate in a similar manner in that they try to teach their members to blindly believe nothing but the doctrine of their guild and to place a lower value on the lives of the common people. They take what they want and give little in return except for those services which are highly paid for. The Mages are taught that nothing and no one is real and that the whole world is an illusion and that they must deny all feelings or they will lose their powers as a mage. While the Mechanics are taught that common people don’t have the ability to learn mechanics skills and that they must never make anything new and innovative. Both guilds want to maintain a stagnate state within their guilds and for the entire populace. When one group or common government becomes too strong they pit them against each other in wars to keep them indirectly under their control.
- Each guild does seem to have a group that has broken off that does whatever they please. They are referred to their respective guilds as Dark Mages and Dark Mechanics. They are not part of the guilds and operate outside it’s ruled and regulation doing whatever they please.
- There is a much heavier focus on the romance between Alain and Mari this time around, but I adored it! Alain is starting to show more emotion and Mari is of course very forthcoming with hers. These are two new or young adults exploring feelings neither have had before. I found this to be such a sweet budding relationship that it gave me quite a few, ahhhh I love this book moments. Which says a lot since I’m not usually a sucker for young romance.
- Alain is definitely my favorite character. This might be because he is the most mature character while at the same time has the most potential for growth. He is so intelligent and logical, seeing things so clearly and also having an objective and sticking to it. For being taught not to care about others he still innately seems to know what is right and wrong, having a really strong sense of morals. I loved the way we continue to see Alain slowly learn about simple things like what emotions and different actions mean. I thought that perhaps I might tire of this but have realized its one of my favorite parts about his character.
- Mari is also a great character. Even tho she is a very good person, wanting to help people and respecting each person regardless of their station and wanting so many things for all people. Seeing how things are not fair for everyone and wanting to do things to change the bigger picture she has her faults just like everyone else. She can frequently be so stubborn and pigheaded. She will insist on her way, or get overly emotional about things or even refuse to use logic to see things that are so obvious. And at times she will inconveniently forget that Alain doesn’t understand and see things the way that she does and fly off the handle at him. In a way I got upset a few times at her for being that way and then at other times I got upset that she was written to be that way. *smile* But ultimately I still really adore her character and her fiery personality is a great balance to Alain’s calm and collected one.
I highly recommend this to fantasy lovers, especially if you enjoy reading about young protagonists coming into their own and fighting against a stronger force then themselves. The world building has been strengthened even further giving the reader more history. Along with the characters flight from their pursuers and search for knowledge allowing us to see more of the continent the pace is constant and had me finding excuses to continue the book. The Hidden Masters of Marandur also leaves off at a fabulous point for the third book to pick up which I believe is going to take us and the characters delving even deeper into the world and history of humanity and how they came to Dematr.
The Assassins of Altis is the third book in The Pillars of Reality series by Jack Campbell. This audiobook is narrated by MacLeod Andrews.
Th..Show More »e Pillars of Reality is a series that gets better and better with each new book. I remember listening to first book and liking it. I also remember listening to second book and liking it even more. I can honestly say it was the same case with The Assassins of Altis.
The Assassins of Altis starts right where The Hidden Masters of Marandur (second book) ended. Mechanic Mari and her loyal companion, Mage Alain, have gotten the information they needed from Marandur and now need to continue their journey. Their next stop is Altis. To get there, first they need to evade the border patrol around Marandur and find a way to reach Altis, something that becomes more difficult with time. The Mechanics Guild has found a way to follow their steps and will do its best to stop them once and for all. Luckily for them, they find allies in unexpected places.
There is a lot of character growth in this installment. Mari is finally accepting the idea of being The Daughter that will unite the guilds and the commons. She is also coming to terms with her feelings for Alain and what being in a relationship with him entails. In this book, Mari also realizes the many lies her guild told her and the extremes they are willing to go to keep their secrets and the blind loyalty of its members.
Alain continues to grow and evolve. Seeing his transformation for an unfeeling, cold-hearted young man to the funny, caring one he is slowly becoming is a funny treat. I really liked him; I think he is my favorite character in the series. I loved how he is finding his sense of humor and how he is with Mari when she behaves a little bit irrational.
Their relationship really moves forward in this installment. They are where they need to be; seeing them come to that place was not only very sweet but also hilarious at times.
There are new characters introduced in The Assassins of Altis, some are unexpected, some we knew from previous books. Mari and Alain are finding allies and their numbers are rising slowly. This is great because they need all the help they can get.
The world building is further developed in this installment. We not only visit new places and new people, we also learned about the origins of the guilds and how everything started. I can’t say much without giving spoilers away, let me just say I was pleasantly surprised with this new discovery.
As with previous installments, MacLeod Andrews does an excellent job bringing to life the characters and the story. The voices he does for the characters are distinctive and he uses the perfect inflections to convey the intentions of the characters. I can’t imagine anybody else narrating this series.
The Assassins of Altis is a great addition to a great series and one I recommend to fantasy fans, especially if you like your fantasy with a touch of sci-fi. I recommend you to listen to this series instead of reading it. I also recommend you to listen to these books in order to get the full effect of the amazing and very imaginative world Jack Campbell has created. I’m looking forward to the release of next book (audiobook) in the series.
I have listened to over 250 audiobooks, and this is one of my favorite series! I have listened to most of the books especially books 3 and 4 over and ..Show More »over. This is another strong book in the series. My friends are so tired of hearing me say that I love this series.
The narration by MacLeod Andrews was superb. He moves from voice-to-voice effortlessly.
The story by Jack Campbell continues the engaging mis..Show More »sion of Mari and Alain to save the world. This last book is a bit darker than the earlier ones; it is certainly more than a YA novel, and captures (sometimes depressingly so) the horror of war -- both to the characters as well as the reader. The story is brought to a stopping point, but not a conclusion -- there is plenty more to be told and revealed.