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A Beautiful, Intriguing Story

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

Reviewed: 02-24-19

This has a bit of everything: magic, battles, romance, and reflections on humanity and nature. It is pretty much all you want in a great fantasy. It is set in a mythical version of Poland, and it is narrated by a woman with a Slavic accent. Some people have complained about the narration, but I disagree. I think it adds great verisimilitude, and as is often the case in listening to someone speak with a foreign accent, there is a beautiful rhythm to her speech, even if it is a rhythm that is somewhat alien to a native English speaker. This is one of the better books I have gotten from Audible. I think the narrator added greatly to the book.

Good writer, depressing stories

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

Reviewed: 11-17-18

I really didn’t care for this, and had to force myself to finish. Although she’s a good writer, the stories are dark and the endings are almost always unhappy. I don’t get the fascination with vampires. There’s also a bit of mommy porn. It just didn’t make for a book I found enjoyable.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Good story and some flaws

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

Reviewed: 11-05-18

The story is good and the characters are engaging that is what keeps you going as you listen to this Mammoth book.
It is a long listen for two reasons:
The prose is highly repetitive. When describing a character’s anxiety, she’ll use the same phrase over and over. She will also constantly remind you of what is distressing a given character.
The narrator speaks slowly.

A few other things:
As in the other books in the series, Maas throws in a good bit of unnecessary mommy porn.
Maas is in ordinately fond of the word “that.” As in, “she stared at that handsome face.”
I think the book would have been better if it had a more thorough editing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Too much Kvothe?

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

Reviewed: 01-01-18

Since this is based on the audiobook, I probably have names misspelled.
Rothfuss is an exceptionally gifted storyteller, and his use of language, metaphor, and motifs is brilliant. Thus, I can see why so many people love his books. My negative review will be a minority report. Here are things I dislike about this book and the one that precedes it. Some spoilers here.
1) Just one stupid thing after another. Kvothe is highly intelligent and mature beyond his years, but to move the story forward, he has to do one stupid thing after another. Other people, too, have to be stupid. When it is Kvothe, you can tell it is coming, and you tense up thinking, “OK, now he is going to do something really stupid, and it will go badly for him.” Example: breaking into Ambrose’s room. Example, blurting out to the mayor that his (the mayor’s) new and beloved wife probably had an affair with a mummer, and that is why she hates them. Also, from vol. 1, how does the librarian not know that Ambrose set up Kvothe to take a candle in the library? How can he let Ambrose keep his job? A narrative shouldn’t constantly rely on people, especially the hero, doing or saying stupid things.
2) That woman. Kvothe’s devotion to Denna makes no sense at all. No 16 year-old would maintain that kind of devotion to a girl whom he only rarely sees, who is constantly with other men, who constantly disappears, and who weirdly wants to keep him close/not close. She is clearly messed-up, and Kvothe (as he is presented in the narrative) would see that and run away for the sake of his own mental health. Kvothe constantly but correctly remarks that if he shows real affection for her, she’ll just run away. Why mess with that? Worst of all is how she keeps showing up like a bad penny. No matter where he goes in the world, there she is! I found myself rolling my eyes when she abruptly appears in some foreign city and thinking, “Why can’t she just die?” There are several women in the story about whom I think, “She could be a good match for him,” but never Denna. There is no romantic tension because I can’t see why he keeps pining for her.
3) Unbelievable. Elements of the story stretch credibility too much, and I am not talking about the magic. For example, a small group of thugs successfully pass themselves off as a troop of professional musicians (Can you pick up playing the lute and pipes in an afternoon?). They kidnap two girls, and successfully escape a town of angry people in a couple of wagons, having beaten back the whole posse. And they think they can go from town to town doing this, supposing news of it won’t spread. But worst of all is Ademre, a fascist, xenophobic, matriarchal society that prospers by sending out its invincible mercenaries to other lands. The people, when not training, have constant promiscuous sex but the women almost never get pregnant and no one ever gets an STD (STDs do exist in this fictional world, so it is not because it isn’t there). The people actually think that sex has nothing to do with pregnancy, but that women just sometimes spontaneously bear a child; they have no word for “father.” The whole society is unrealistic, and their unbeatable combat skills bears no relationship to how actual fighting works.
4) Too much Kvothe. Almost all the story is 1st person, and even when it is 3rd person, Kvothe is in almost every scene. It is a relief to final have a bit of narration where is is not there. Kvothe’s stupid things just make you get tired of him. That is not a good thing for an epic where he is on every page.

Clean up your language!

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

Reviewed: 08-20-17

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. The language is so bad I'd be embarrassed to do so.

What other book might you compare The Legion of Flame to and why?

It is very similar to Ryan's Blood Song trilogy. A number of the characters and tropes are almost identical. I don't mind that, since I liked the trilogy, but if you have read about Blood Song, you'll experience deja vu.

Have you listened to any of Steve West’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The performance was great. I don't understand why some criticized him.

Any additional comments?

The language in Ryan's writing has gotten to be atrocious. Constant gutter profanity. Yes, I understand that career criminals use bad words, but I don't need to hear that to know that these are bad people. It is especially irksome when you hear it in an audible book, shouted in your ear. We listen for entertainment, and that language is not entertaining. It's a shame, because Ryan really is a good writer with interesting concepts. In this book, he develops counterparts to the British East India Company, Tsarist Russia, Bolsheviks, etc., and one can see metaphor in the dragons and their uprising. All would make for a thoughtful book if you are not always having to deal with the constant profanity assaulting your ears.

Good story and narration

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

Reviewed: 11-20-16

I like the fantasy genre but some of the writing is somewhat amateurish. Not so with this book. Careful attention to the writing craft and a good story.

Story ok, but be aware

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

Reviewed: 11-16-16

There is a great deal of profanity in this, unlike the first volume. Also, the female characters are all honorary men. It would be nice if writers could have strong women without turning them into men.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Weak heroine

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

Reviewed: 02-24-16

A good story frustrated by a weak heroine. Story ever giving long expositions of her emotional reactions and thoughts. She cries constantly, and pathetically pines for a man who treats her like a dishrag. Same basic story could have been made much better if she had a little more toughness in dealing with emotional issues. As it is, you just want to throttle her and yell, "Show a little backbone, will ya?"

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Another good story, but with major plot holes

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

Reviewed: 01-29-16

What made the experience of listening to The Bands of Mourning the most enjoyable?

Interesting characters, good narration

What about Michael Kramer’s performance did you like?

He does voices very well

Any additional comments?

Overall good, but one major character's actions make no sense. Also, at an important point, it seriously violates the laws of physics (even taking into account the nature of the fictional world). This makes the story less plausible and thus less satisfactory.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

Unbelievably preachy

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

Reviewed: 06-16-15

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The story is fairly good except when one of the characters makes a long, preachy speech. The mathematician Malcolm makes a lot of these.

Would you be willing to try another book from Michael Crichton? Why or why not?

Probably not.

What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

Good dramatic voice

Was Jurassic Park worth the listening time?

5 out of 10

2 of 6 people found this review helpful