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Publisher's Summary

Winds of Fate is the first book in the Mage Winds Trilogy.

High Magic has been lost to Valdemar centuries ago when the last Herald-Mage gave his life to save the kingdom from destruction by dark sorceries. Yet now the realm is at risk again. And Elspeth, Herald and heir to the throne, must take up the challenge, abandoning her home to find a mentor who can awaken her untrained mage abilities. But others, too, are being caught up in a war against sorcerous evil.

The Tayledras scout Darkwind is the first to stumble across the menace creeping forth from the "Uncleansed Lands." And as sorcery begins to take its toll, Darkwind may be forced to call upon powers he has sworn never to use again if he and his people are to survive an enemy able to wreak greater devastation with spells of destruction than with swords....

©1991 Mercedes R. Lackey (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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Very disappointing; could have been so much better

I have been hoping for an audiobook version of this series for years. Now that one has been released, I'm so disappointed.

Karen White has a lot of books listed at Audible, but many aren't well-known, at least not to me. She narrated _The Hemingses of Monticello_, but those reviews reflect comments about the same sort of disappointing performance that I've been listening to.

Ms White has a very nice basic voice - the one she uses for the background, the narrative parts. She uses inflections, pauses, emphasis, all good. She got most of the character and place names right, including some very odd made-up-language words and phrases full of glottal stops. What she doesn't show in _Winds of Fate_ is a good repertoire of voices for different characters. Instead she chose to use differing accents for the characters, and she not only made some odd choices but wasn't able to do the accents consistently for each character.

So, starting from the beginning of the book, Kerowyn, a very strong, active, decisive woman, who has a background as a successful mercenary soldier, got an unsure, sort-of Irish accent that doesn't reflect her character. Skif, a young man who spent most of his early life as a thief and scrounger, but who has become a reliable, effective member of an elite group, has a sort-of lower-class British accent but sounds rather like a hick. Elspeth, the young female heir to the throne of Valdemar, has a sort-of snobbish upper-class British accent, and is probably the closest in reflecting the character, but it isn't used consistently. Darkwind, who is a young but mature and powerful mage, woodsman and fighter, started out with a somewhat thin, wavery voice; it got stronger over the course of the book (18.5hrs), but he never sounded decisive or strong. The voice Ms White used for the character of Need, an extremely powerful female spirit lodged in a sword who communicates via mind-speech (telepathy), often changed accent within a sentence or two, with a British-sounding beginning to the vowels and an accent from anywhere-USA at the end.

What's annoying is that the voices are partly right. Kerowyn is from a different country than Skif and Elspeth, and Darkwind is from yet a third country. So a different speech pattern or rhythm for each of them wouldn't be a bad choice. Skif was a street kid, so a lower-class voice was somewhat appropriate; Elspeth is from the noble class and should speak more elegantly than Skif, though they were both brought up in the same city of the same country and so should have some similarities in their speech, but didn't. But the accents weren't done consistently nor were they done very well.

It's especially disappointing because fans of Mercedes Lackey and this series of books have been waiting for years and years for these audiobooks. Of course we have some expectations built in from all the re-reads of the print books, the voices we've heard in our minds. But if the voices Ms White had chosen had been done a bit better, more consistently, perhaps with more practice, this would have been a much better audiobook. Another few months' delay would have been worth it to get it done with more polish.

I was all set to buy the other 2 books in this _Mage Winds_ trilogy as soon as they came out, but I'm not going to do that. Sadly, the comments about the next trilogy, called the _Mage Storms_, though narrated by a different person, have similar sorts of comments about a poor listening experience, and some of those shortcomings are evident in the samples. So I'm not buying those books either. I can't even give this book a 3-star rating, because I didn't like it. It's just barely OK, a 2-star deal. And that's with a book that's been a nearly 5-star read for years and years.

30 of 32 people found this review helpful

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bad Editing and narration make a writer look bad

What disappointed you about Winds of Fate?

I have the print versions of virtually all of the Valdemar books, In making this Audible book they seem to have worked from the E-book rather than the print. Both have poor formatting and frequent errors(typo's/improper word use). To make matters worse as many have commented here the Narrator did a poor job. Pacing could have been improved greatly and many of the voices were just plain wrong for the characters they belonged to.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Winds of Fate?

If I had to pick just one I would pick the moment Need first spoke to Elspeth.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Karen White?

I don't know, I think she might have done better if she had actually read By the Sword, Arrows, and Take a Thief before she attempted Narrating Winds of Fate, I also think she might have done better if the script she was working from was the print version not the e-book edition (or just edited for pity's sake)

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment, as I commented above I have the print versions, I bought the e-book and Audible editions because the print versions are getting badly worn. I am frankly regretting the investment

Any additional comments?

If a reader has no previous experience with Mercedes Lackey's work in Print he/she will likely get a bad impression of her writing from this product.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Great Story, Shame about the Narrator

Would you try another book from Mercedes Lackey and/or Karen White?

I love Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series. The book is great, but I can't make myself listen to it because of the narrator. Her pace is too slow, and the accents she gives the various characters is awful. I would never buy anything else narrated by Karen White.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Not up to expectations.

How could the performance have been better?

Reader is painfully slow. Even adjusting the speed to fast is barely adequate. For those of us who love this series and have waited a long time for it to come out in audiobook I recommend sticking to the written word. It sounds as if the reader has no connection or joy in the series or the story.<br/><br/>I don't think I will invest my credits in the rest of the trilogy.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Great book, Awful reader!!!!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I've read these books and they are a great story. I enjoyed them so much, I thought it would be nice to read them again via Audio Book. The Narrator is so terrible, I barely got through the first few chapters. She takes valiant women, strong queens and dare devil princesses and gives them all horrible prissy English accents like they're all just heading for a boring tea party....it's awful! Read the books, they're great, just don't listen to them or you'll hate everything about them.<br/><br/>The narrator should have read a few of these books before she started narrating, then she would have never made the voices she has...they don't suit the characters at all!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Love this series... but...

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

I would recommend it to my friends as most have read this series already...

Who was your favorite character and why?

Skif has always my favorite... I like a rascal :-)

What three words best describe Karen White’s performance?

Great voice... but her pronunciation of the characters names irked me EVERYTIME she mispronounced them... Talia is pronounces Tal-ya... not Ta-Lee-Ah.... <br/><br/>Alberich is pronounced Al-ber-ick ... not Al-ber-ritch (the ch make a k sound... please)<br/><br/>sorry...petty I know... but it grated like nails on a chalk board...

Could you see Winds of Fate being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I would like it... my cast would include...<br/>Danielle Panabaker as Elspeth, Alex Meraz as Darkwind<br/>Gemma Arterton as Talia, Alexander Skarsgard as Dirk, Charlize Theron as Selenay, Mads Mikkelsen as Alberich, Anton Yelchin as Skif, and Katee Sackhoff as Kerowyn

Any additional comments?

Please... for the next books... have the narrator go back and listen to the pronunciations of the names in the other books that have already made it to audible... would make for a more cohesive listening experience for the listeners...

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Read the book

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The narrator's pronunciations were atrocious. It would help if she had listened to any of the previous recordings. Character voices were inconsistent and, at times, sounded forced and stilted.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The Griffins, because I like Griffins.

Would you be willing to try another one of Karen White’s performances?

No. I will go back to the printed volumes for the remaining 2 books.

Did Winds of Fate inspire you to do anything?

No.

Any additional comments?

The narrators and "director/producers" need to consult with the author, and listen to any previously recorded works, so that consistency between productions are maintained.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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very dissapointing

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I have the books in hardback and looked forward to hearing them on tape. The narrator had poor character portrayals. Strong women were made to sound like wimpy little children. When she read background, it was OK. The volumn varied too much

What was one of the most memorable moments of Winds of Fate?

Could not find one. had a difficult time hearing it all.

Would you be willing to try another one of Karen White’s performances?

I bought all three books but have not listened to them. having a hard time getting in to them,

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Unlistenable

The narrator seems to be channaling Captian Kirk and filling her narration with strange pauses and bizzare inflections. Every so often she starts speaking normally then seems to notice and goes back to the odd speach patterns.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Not the right narrator for this book

So this is a high paced sword and sorcery adventure story, and the narrator seems to have turned it into an audio tranquilizer. Painfully slow narration, with odd pacing and inflections and strange accents and voice choices for the characters. Sometimes it almost sounded like the book was being read by a text-to-speech program instead of a human actress.

Ultimately, it was unlistenable for me. I've loved these books for years, but I'll have to go on loving them as *books* and not audiobooks, because this was a total bust. Especially disappointing because I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook versions of Mercedes Lackey's 500 kingdoms series, as well as the Elemental Masters series. A pity that her flagship Valdemar series received such lackluster treatment.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful