I'll be honest, I am swayed a bit by cover art and nearly didn't read this book because I find the cover art cliche, contrived, etc. Based on the oth..Show More »er good reviews I went ahead, and I'm glad I did! The development of this world/environment is second to none, bordering on genius. There is really nothing that couldn't be done with the mix of worlds and technology. It has all the fantasy standards, but that's only because the sci-fi setting allows you to dive into that world at will. Rarely have I read a book that succeeds so well at blending sci-fi and fantasy.
So, "awesome environment", check. Now, how about the characters and storyline? I've also never seen such a wide variety of characters in one book (and I've been reading books for a little while now). I won't elaborate here to spoil it, but there is one character (who gets narrated with a very deep voice) that never ceased to amaze and surprise me. Actually, most of the characters were multi-dimensional, gods be praised :)
The storyline has plenty of twists and intrigue without being obtuse. As with all good books nobody is ever who they appear to be a first glance, but that is true in life isn't it? The storyline is probably the weakest part of the whole package, but it is supported so well by everything else that it still works very well.
I've never listened to this narrator before, and each new narrator always takes an hour or so to "get to know". I've never heard a voice with so much timber as Stefan Rudnicki's and found it difficult at first, but it matches very well with most of the characters. One of the characters absolutely required his voice and I actually felt the warm vibrations of this character's voice coming through my speaker!
If you like Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson, Joe Ambercrombie, Brent Weeks, and Robert Jordann, (and who doesn't) you will like Matthew Stover.
I've written multiple reviews with the Caine books & Stover has brought a hardcore, gritty, graphic, & unique fantasy series that takes place in a fut..Show More »ure where 'Actors' are sent to another dimension/timeline where they take on they're persona's learned from acting school but its all real, & 'Actors' actually earn the millions they get paid because they could get a 6-inch tusk buried into their head during their visit to a 'middle earth' like world
After this small review I've given all the books up to 'Acts of Caine II' 5 stars because Rudnicki is supurb, & I love the new angle Stover takes with his Character, where Caine is the best method actor & a real scumbag but still has a heart for a few. I guess if it was RPG I would classify his personality as chaotic neutral bordering on chaotic evil... & the lietrary passages written by Stover are absolutely bombastic & filled with profanity of a new kind! I fear for goats & other such animals when he's describing whats in Caines demented mind, BUT he also has these long stretches of philisophical wax & waning where u actually think a lil about what it means or could mean... in this particular book it has more action, the adventure 'retreat from the Boedecken (spelling?)' is highlighted in this novel so u see how Caine became a star but u also see a whole unique background help for studios in the crazy future... 'Blade of Tyshelle' has an end where there is some great verbal sparring between friends to go with disembowlment & ripping spleens out of people...
I recommend this book highly to hardcore fatasy novel readers looking for a really different reading experience & would warn off anyone who does not like gratuitis violence, bad language, & blasphemy lol... in my opinion Stover does good work & looking fwd to act III