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Publisher's Summary

Sword fights and romance, miracles and mystery, treachery and sly humor....

A god summons a curious assortment of witnesses to his temple to testify on what they know about a jewel that was lost 1,000 years ago. At least one of them is guilty. Others are lying....

Dave Duncan at his devious best.

©2015 Dave Duncan (P)2018 Dave Duncan

What members say

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

Everything felt flat

I had a difficult time reviewing “The Eye of Strife” which is a contemporary fantasy book written by Dave Duncan and narrated by Anthony Lee.  The book provides little in the way of a description to those considering a new book to read.  The only details we are given is that the book is about a God who summons a number of witnesses to testify about a jewel which has been lost for centuries.  The Eye of Strife is the first book I have listened to by both this author and narrator.  A number of the author’s fans, in their reviews, recommend reading his other material over this book; which seems to tell me that my gut feelings after listening was correct.  I cannot speak for the author’s or narrator’s other works, but this one was hard for me to complete.  The author appears to be quite a prolific writer and well like author.  However, as you will see in my review below, I cannot recommend the book itself nor the audiobook edition do to the number of blemishes and bumps along the way.  I’m a big fan of both science fiction and fantasy genres, but there were too many flaws for me to fully enjoy this one.

As a contemporary fantasy story, I enjoyed the varied characters including priests, priestesses, kings, gods, etc.  I enjoyed some of the background details, but most of the time they were lacking.  I liked the premise which the author laid out in the book’s description, but for me, the execution fell too short on delivering what was promised.  If I had one thing that most impacted my dislike for this story, it would be that the book felt less like a tale being told than simply a large dump of events and details like that of a linear computer game.  Most of the time I felt pulled along in the story instead of being lead and shown the beauty of it.

I did not feel the book had any life nor did the characters have any dimension to them.  Everything felt flat.  The descriptive words used to paint the scene were often muted or back and white only.  I wanted color and life which was lacking throughout the story.  Maybe this was the author’s intent based on the story revolving around a trial-like environment.  At times the back and forth between past events and current were confusing as they did not have any solid transitions allowing the listener to smoothly be lead back.  There were also points of interludes that attempted to reveal some new information, and at times that work well.  As a whole, it just did not work for me.  I felt the humor and writing style was more geared towards a young adult (YA) audience than what I have come to expect in a more mature author.  For me, the book lacked any level of action or suspense; and some of this may be due to the way it was narrated the story, or both.

Let me turn to the narration of the book.  Anthony Lee is a newer narrator on audible and I take this into effect while writing my reviews.  Even for a newer author, I had numerous issues with the book’s narration.  For a book which I believed would be lively, the narration lacked inflection and felt jagged.  I felt his ability to narrate the number of different characters was weak and at times confusing for the listener.  The audio itself had at least one, if not two, places I noticed it was patched to correct for missing or wrong wording when first recorded.  There were also quite a few places where there were volume inconsistencies between chapters.  Most professional narrators I know make sure to normalize chapters to a specific level prior to release.

For parents and or younger readers, take note that this book contains a fair amount of crude humor, scenes containing adult subjects or can be graphic in nature which may not be appropriate for younger audiences.  There is also a light use of vulgar language sprinkled thought out its pages.

In summary, I found the number of flaws in both the story and narration something I cannot overcome.  Even though the audiobook is nearly six hours in length, there were a number of times I was going to mark it as a DNF; Did Not Finish.  I expected more from an author who has written so many well-received books.  As others have recommended, this may not be the best text where the author shines, and maybe a few others would have been better suited for me to listen too.

Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

I of strife

Whenever I get a free code for an audiobook I always try to play a little more than fair. Someone was nice enough to give me a code, and I reciprocate by trying to highlight the things that were best about it.

Here, I have to start by saying that Anthony Lee's narration does not fit the book. He is almost robotic in his delivery, little inflection, but perfect pronunciation. I am sure that it really impacts the story, too. Because I had to really focus on getting through the book.

Additionally, I have heard a lot of good things about Duncan, and so I figured I might get a good introduction. But after listening I was underwhelmed, and it was clear to me that if he was as good as I had heard this was not his best stuff.

The combo of narrator and writer made up a sandwich that consisted of weak sauce and stale bread, with some chewy, stringy meat. You could eat it, but only if you didn't have any other oprions. Sorry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

It Has Its Moments, But...

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

It took me a long time to get through this book especially at the beginning. I just couldn't understand what the quest was all about. I got the symbolism of the eye, but the different characters' machinations to possess it, the higher sacred hierarchy of priests and priestesses, Mother and Father, kings and warriors, made for a very confusing melange of criss-crossing events with little to share. I'm thinking that maybe reading the book would have been more self-explanatory and easier to follow. I could't find many connections between the various events but for that "maleficent" eye. And that is the impression I received from the story, not one of a magnificent God.
The narration was fine but maybe because the book didn't grab me, I couldn't appreciate the interpretation either.
I will give both the narrator and author another chance however. There is meat on the bone, so I can see that the potential is there.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • OddShard
  • Baltimore, MD United States
  • 08-01-18

Sleep Inducing

I received a copy of the book in exchange for a review. The story is good but the narrator nearly put me to sleep half way through.

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

Great!

Great listen with an intriguing storyline. Great performance from the narrator as well. I received a free review copy of this audiobook at my request and I have voluntarily left this review.

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

The usual suspects/reservoir dogs meets the fantasy world

The eye of strife is told
By a panel of characters as a series of linked flashbacks all leading up to the moment they are in and the climactic ending that it all leads up to. Very similar in style to that of the aforementioned movies. The tales are wonderful short stories in and of themselves and each could lead into its own full spin off novels in regard to a more in depth exploration of their stories. The eye of strife itself and the god it is from is similar to the Norse pantheon and you will see hints of Odin and Locke quite easily. The tale is novel in my experience and has some great twists and turns and was a breath of fresh air to some of the tried and true fantasy novel methods. Enjoy it. I did. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

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

Middle of the road

I have read several Dave Duncan books over the years and enjoyed every one of them. A few of them I have read multiple times. When I read what this book was about, I was intrigued. The story was well written and the point of view by the different characters was refreshing. Although I liked the premise, the execution fell kinda flat. For me, the biggest issue was the narration. The narration was consistently neutral when I thought there should have been more inflection or emotion. The narration seemed to detract from the book. I do not think Anthony Lee is a bad narrator, he just wasn’t suited for this book. With that said, I will still continue to read and listen to Dave but I feel this was not one of his better works.
Even though this book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review, my review is honest.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • TU
  • 03-21-18

meh

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

The story premise was interesting, which is why I picked the book up to review. That being said, the narration was very dry and was not a great fit for the story. In fact, I felt it detracted from the story, because it was so distressingly bad.

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

not a wow book but nice enough

I wouldn't say it was the best book ever but it was nice and the story was cute the narrator did a nice job and it wasn't the most enjoyable book ever but it wasn't bad either

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

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

Some pluses, more minuses

On the plus side, the story has a nice 'mythological' feel, due to its theme (a god's eye went missing), its placement in time (ancient history) and also because of the way the story is told: as multiple stories within a story, different strands weaving a web.

However, there are some issues as well:
1. Because you know from the start (see publisher's summary!) that at least one of the storytellers is lying, and you don't know who until the very end, I found it impossible to identify with any of the characters. For if anyone of them could be lying, why would I care for anything they had to contribute to the story? The entire tale became untrustworthy and I had to struggle to not lose interest entirely.
2. The concept of the missing jewel eye of the god starts out as an interesting premise, but there's really no payoff, in my opinion. I found the ending anticlimactic.
3. The narration is harrowing. The accent of the narrator not only did not fit the story, but he also had some trouble emphasizing the right words in several sentences, and sometimes he was hard to understand. Extremely annoying. The narration detracted from the story and made it extra difficult for me to hang on until the end.

For me, these issues were more significant than the positives.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. I was not required to write a positive review but nevertheless I feel very sorry to only be able to give it two stars.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • C. Rowlands
  • 03-24-18

Eye think this was an enjoyable book

I was not familiar with the work of this author prior to listening to this book, but the summary and premise for it seems to be an interesting one so I gave it a shot and I am glad that I did as I enjoyed it very much and would like to know more about this world that the author has established rather well in this book.

The main part of the story is framed as being a varied group of witnesses recounting their parts of the main story to the high priest that had gathered them all together so that the titular eye could be returned to the god Strife, there are also some flashbacks to an earlier time in history when the eye of strife first given out to a warrior that eventually became an emperor due to its help that serve to add more depth to that world quite nicely.

This was quite a short book and in some ways it almost had the feeling of being a spinoff set in the same universe as a larger series of novels, you have the overall world that felt like in many ways it was actually better defined and more distinctive than the main cast themselves were, but if this is intended to be merely the first book in a series then there is room for that to change.

Much like with the author, I was not familiar with any of this narrator's previous work, but did enjoy his overall presentation of this book, he made most of the characters sufficiently distinctive that it added to the book without being too over the top with any of them, his tone was a pleasant one that did not distract from the book either.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick and enjoyable fantasy tale and I would personally be interesting in hearing more from this world in the future too.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Rob Cooke
  • 03-04-18

An enjoyable book with a strong theme

This book feels like a walk through a by gone civilisation. It has a very strong theme of civilisation with both customs and politics feeling very natural whilst being alien enough that you know it is a different world.
This story told from multiple angles has a feel of a judicial hearing in the way in which your picture of the story grows with every new testimony. It has many twists and is intricate in its delivery, despite dealing with violent and horrific circumstances it dances a fine line of description without slipping into gore. This is entirely in keeping with the books tone and pace as it focuses on description and fact rather than sensationalism.

The characters were well formed and you learn more as you move along the story but due to the tone I never quite formed an emotional bond to any of them. This does not lessen the enjoyment of the story as the story differentiates the opposing sides and is told predominately from one side.

The narration is very well executed across multiple characters with distinct feels and sounds to them. The narration is in keeping with the tone of the book and helps build the world around you immersing you as you go.

In summation I enjoyed this book and would recommend this to anyone that is looking for a well crafted world and intricate story delivery.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily provided this review.