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John

MS
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Copies Harry Potter

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-29-19

I will say that even though these first 3 books are basically a VERY close variation of Harry Potter, these 3 books are much better than the last two in the series. The final 2 books are a huge letdown.

This is "supposed" to be something of a continuation of the Luminea series - just 10,000 years later. What spoils the world building is Luminea was apparently Earth's past. The author ignores the inconsistency of his geography - in what Earth would a land that you could travel cross in weeks on foot have reference locations in Central Asia, Japan and Louisiana?

The only positive for me were the characters on the "good" side. As the series continues book after book, the villains increasingly become more and more powerful. No explanation is provided for why the mythology and world building shifts to accommodate jumps in strength and abilities for the villains while it remains consistent for the good guys.

Overall, somewhat disappointing overall story/plot. Derek Perkins was a positive, as always.

Tedious and Inconsistent

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-29-19

Basically the same as book 3 in the Luminea series - one long endless, repetitive series of battle scenes. Issue with this entire series is the mythology abruptly shifts simply to make the villains more and more powerful. Luminea had a billion against less than a million... this ends with "trillions" of villains.

When you start skipping ahead to get past one fight scene after another, not a good sign. The grand ending feels like half a chapter is devoted to concluding the series.

Inconsistent wFirst Novel

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-26-18

New narrator and new pronunciations - since I started this book immediately at the conclusion of the 1st novel, I initially did not recognize character names and proper nouns. Ok - you adjust.

Biggest issue for me is the inconsistencies and plot holes. At the end of book one, the white drake is found and mysteriously has a brood of white eggs that are hatched as that novel ends - how exactly a single specimen of a species reproduces others of its kind... never explained. The Spoiled in book one are basic zombie-like creatures. In book 2, they suddenly are almost super-human in abilities... never explained why/how.

The book mostly flows through 4 plot lines (if you ignore the stupid reporter intros to new "parts" of the novel). Three of the four plot lines are pretty enjoyable. The line viewed from one of the Spoiled is just irritating. The more often I fast forward in a book the lower I eventually rate it. I did a fair amount of fast forwarding in this one... so disappointing.

Convoluted Series Start & Narrator Changes Book 2

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-04-18

There's not much world-building to start - just a non-stop series of chapters that appear to have no relationship to each other. It takes a good 6 hours before you finally begin to piece together anything like a plot or overall narrative. You're half way through the book before you begin to enjoy it.

Sort of a steampunk dragon theme mostly populated by fairly unlikable characters. Once it gets into a rhythm, the plot is driven by 3 primary scenarios - 2 overlap (spy theme and jumanji theme) while the 3rd (master and commander theme) has little relationship to the other 2 until the very very end of the book.

Also note that the narrator is different for books 2 and 3. The primary issue is some proper names and nouns are pronounced very differently - so much so that I initially didn't know several characters from book 1 were in a scene because their names were being pronounced so differently.

Get Past First Dozen Chapters in Book One

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-10-18

The initial trilogy in series is very good. Book one starts well and then devolves into a series of bad chapters for what seems like hours. The mythology is not really explained very well and most of the characters are just too difficult to listen to. Once you get past the half-way point in book one, it settles into an interesting tale. Books two and three continue on pretty good notes with occasional issues like the tidal cycle being dependent on a monthly lunar cycle (i.e. full moon required for high tides??).

I actually liked the narrator - not sure why some people don't.

It's after book three that I found myself fast-forwarding constantly and the quirks of the author started to drive me crazy. Books 1-3 basically tell a fairly complete story. Books 4+ are then half as long and tell a 2nd story. Issue with book 4+ is the author begins to literally copy and paste whole conversations from prior books. If someone recalls a prior "something," that something is then lifted word-for-word from where ever it came from and repeated. Each time an item or place is mentioned, the same long explanation or description is inserted again. It became very frustrating to be in the middle of an event and then stop the pace to repeat a conversation from 2 or 3 books ago in someone's head.

By the time you get to the last book, it's only mildly interesting. Main characters shift personalities completely with half-hearted explanations. The lore and mythology looses some consistency or boundaries. There doesn't seem to be an actual climax of the 2nd series - major events happen many chapters before the end and the rest if the book just sort of trails off trying to tie up a few loose ends.

Just Distractingly Bad

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-23-18

Zero setup to mythos or vocabulary. Made it through about 2 hours of the “cast” recording before calling it quits. Odd, constant background mood music. Primary narrator reading as if she was in some sort of hurry. Worst of all was the use of an echo device (like speaking inside a bell) when a character does any kind of thought process. Why???

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Main Character and Plot is Seriously Flawed

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-26-17

I read this book decades ago and remembered liking it. I'm a huge fan of Thomas Covenant series(s) and usually give credit to a good author even when reading something completely different.

The fairly sexist portrayal of the heroine made me cringe and/or yell at the audio at times in this re-visit. I know we're different in 2017 than we were in 1986, but it's hard to believe that even in 1986, a woman would be this easy to manipulate - to the point of allowing sexual assault to occur repeatedly. There's zero satisfactory explanation for her willingness to be manipulated - Daddy issues aside.

What drove me nuts was the fact that the heroine is pulled from a modern day Earth-like world into a Middle Ages realm and there's almost zero curiosity expressed by anyone in that world. Despite her desire to help this world, she takes ZERO knowledge from her life in a more advanced world - never once is it even hinted that she could have knowledge that might help except for a stupid scene about carrier pigeons... huh?

Besides the weakness of the main character, the willingness of every other character to ignore basic logic and common sense was a repeatedly used plot device. Characters became simpletons when needed - not that most of the characters were written as having much more than basic intelligence. Priorities that one would expect when an army is camped outside your castle and dire life-threatening circumstances have occurred inside the castle are paused so that a stupid little trial of who's a possible traitor can be staged as if the army outside the gates is not there ???

Overall, not a great start to a series. Will soon start book 2 and maybe what I remember was a more positive feeling from 1986 based on both books vs this first one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Irritating Storytelling

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-15-17

As a whole, the series is based on a pretty unique and complex kitchen-sink type magic system set in a not too creative landscape that roughly mirrors a stereotype of Earth cultures... basically, Europeans vs near east split by a 300 mile body of water. The stereotypes are not particularly subtle.

I could have been OK with this construct if every single encounter between opposing groups didn't follow the same pattern - the good guys are consistently and repeatedly inept regardless of where they sit in the magic structure and the bad guys are nearly omnipotent in nearly every encounter. This is a world where apparently 90% of the population on both sides of the water are somewhat to completely evil (for no apparent reason) - there are few sympathetic characters.

The books have moments where they're great - those moments are just interrupted by long sections of narrative that drives one insane because of the crazy inconsistencies or stupid behavior of the characters.

Finally, based on the numerous loose ends in Book 4, I assume this "Quartet" is not the end of the story. Book 4 ends in a rushed fashion that certainly leaves a lot of plot lines unfinished.

43 of 48 people found this review helpful

Series Starts Off Great and Then Declines

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-15-16

Book one is mostly great. Lots of time invested in the primary characters and something of a plot picks up and moves along quickly. This initial introductory telling is the most enjoyable part of the series to me. The set-up and world building in book one, however, are somewhat irrelevant to the series plot. You're well toward the end of book two before the author gets around to tying some of the loose ends together. I didn't particularly enjoy books 2 and 3 because they seem sloppy. Minor, irritatingly purely evil characters drone on for page after page. The conclusion in book 3 seems rushed and tacked on. You're well into book 3 before the author gets around to providing a purpose for everything that's happened to that point. By that point you're simply listening to get the series over with.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Book 6 Is NOT the Final Book

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-18-16

The 2nd "trilogy" of House War turns out to be incomplete. I'm now about 10 hours from end of Oracle and very little has happened in the book. Although there's no indication of another novel, I starting researching to see what I could learn from various sources and a Wiki reference indicates this "last" book was split into 2 novels... the 2nd of which could be called "War" - no hint of when it will be released. Given where book 5 ended and the fact that this book is nearly 30 hours, couldn't see how there would be more than this "final" 6th novel in a 6 book series. I can't find any reference on the authors website about another book.

An additional book is accomplished by spending the start of Oracle with 6+ hours following the most minor of characters (Jester). Additional hours focus on other minor characters doing exciting stuff like having hours long discussions of hugely entertaining things like merchant corruption or alliances. The main character, Jewel, has been relegated to an occasional passage. It feels like non-events are getting strung out longer into narratives just for the sake of pushing a possible conclusion into another book. I say "possible" conclusion because at this rate, who knows if a book 7 would complete the series.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful