Where to begin? First let me say that I was skeptical when I began this series. I have not been a huge fan of fantasy until lately when I began to lik..Show More »e the “gritty” fantasy (Abercrombie or GRR Martin types of genre). I was not quite sure how I would like this series, but it has been amazing. Another concern I have had is that having seen and read Russian literature and performing arts before, I do not know what to expect from this novel. Anyone who has ever seen more than one Russian film may understand what I'm talking about. The storytelling in such films and books at times can be patchy, unclear, unorganized, and have weak conclusions. However this book did not have any traits and was executed flawlessly. Like other reviewers, this was an impulse buy, and I did get lucky. The past few books I have tried to listen to have been getting good reviews, but I just cannot get into them. This one however was well worth the risk and I would recommend it to anyone who needs to fill in some time while they wait for the next GRR Martin or Abercrombie book. Is this book as vast and gritty as those? Not really, but it is still entertaining and really isn’t that what it’s all about?
An entirely derivative fantasy world in which the only surprising feature is that orcs and elves have a great deal in common. A sad dearth of literar..Show More »y sparkle and a plodding vocabulary which operates at about an eighth grade level (though that may be the fault of the translation). A plot which never enthralls or shocks except with its readiness to sacrifice characters we have come to know and perhaps care about.
So why did I enjoy this book so much and why am I going to use another credit immediately for the final book in the series? I feel a little like Sancho Panza opining about La Mancha, "Though I can't tell you why,... I like him." But that is not very helpful, is it.
Well, I suspect a major reason I so enjoyed Shadow Chaser IS that I like him--the Shadow Chaser himself, that is. He is somewhat bumbling and often confused and I can relate to that. Thieves like Locke Lamora who are usually a step or two ahead of the reader and the opposition can be tremendous fun, but every once in a while it is nice to come across a hero who shares our common cluelessness much of the time.
But the real magic in this book resides in an unlikely member of the questing party--a little green goblin who, brilliantly voiced by MacLeod Andrews, is by turns comic and sweet and masterful and mysterious. And all while avoiding "cute." I think I have never had more plain fun listening to a character in a fantasy novel.
I also liked the straight ahead nature of the narrative. There is not a lot of tortured introspection here. Instead, character rises clearly and engagingly from the action, and it was nice to read a story which did not digress into an anguished interior monologue.
So I strongly recommend this book with the caveats stated above. If nothing else, you need to meet the goblin. And sometimes it's nice to go back to plain old gnomes, dwarves, orcs and goblins, right? Right.
While listening to this book, two thoughts occurred to me during the last part of the book. My first thought was that there was no way the Pehov coul..Show More »d finish the story in the amount of time left. And that’s when the second fear hit me…. He would pull a “Christopher Paolini” and force the ending to be crammed into this book. Like Paolini, he built an amazing world, with many great characters, and again like Paolini in such a big world there are many interactions occurring throughout the story. However unlike Paolini, he was able to wrap up the book nicely, addressing questions left unanswered, and not in way that the listener would feel cheated.
One thing I did find somewhat lacking at times, was a real sense of danger for the main character. For whatever reason, I knew nothing too bad would happen to him. Perhaps this is due to the story being told in the first person, but even then I wasn’t worried for the Thief. But that is not to say there was no emotion, instead of fear I felt curiosity to see what would happen and how it would all end. The latter of course being true for most well told stories, but it takes a special talent to also include many other emotions, both happy and sad. For that this book does not receive full stars on the story itself, but still it is better than most of the stories I have heard lately. This book was well worth the wait, and I would recommend this series to anyone who like me is waiting for the next GRR Martin or Joe Abercrombie novel to come out.