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.
Mr. Sterling's mind continues to run in Turbo Mode. In this volume, some issues are resolved only to be replaced by deeper mysteries. A number of new ..Show More »characters are introduced, some good, some bad, most interesting. Rudy continues to learn and move toward becoming the larger than life hero he must. In the end, we must await another book.
The only criticism I have is the inordinate amount of time taken to describe the many feasts that Rudy and his compatriots must endure on their travels. I can only suspect that Mr. Sterling must write on an empty stomach. I nearly went so far as to give the book only 4 stars for this reason but it is just to darn good everywhere else.
I strongly suggest that if you have not read the previous books in this series that you start with the first and work your way to the last. Otherwise much of the context will be confusing. Fortunately all the previous books are also very good.
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!
TGS was probably the most satisfying of this series since The Sunrise Lands, probably even more so. I've enjoyed all of these books but at times parts..Show More » of them-sometimes large parts-seemed to be more place-holding than moving the story along. At other times the whole thing seemed rushed, like the author was up against a deadline. S.M. Stirling is a very compelling writer however, and he has never been boring. I'm pretty sure anyone buying this book has read the entire series. If not, do so before you read this one. These are not stand alone books and I would imagine the frustration quotient from trying to figure out who is who and keep up with the storyline would be huge. Also, knowing virtually the entire life stories of the characters make them like old and comfortable friends. That being said, TGS wraps up this part of the saga very well, with enough plot twists to keep the reader entertained and anticipating more. Stirling is evidently writing a trilogy within a trilogy: Dies The Fire and its two sequels, The Sunrise Lands through this one, then at least two more, covering three generations. I can't wait till next September.