Twelve Kings in Sharakhai

Song of Shattered Sands, Book 1
Narrated by: Sarah Coomes
Series: Song of the Shattered Sands, Book 1
Length: 25 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (305 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The first book in the Song of Shattered Sands trilogy - an epic fantasy in the vein of A Thousand and One Nights.

In the city of Sharakhai, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape by a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall of the cruel, immortal Kings of Sharakhai. Then on the holy night when the powerful yet wretched creatures known as the Asirim wander the city and take tribute in order to protect the Kings, one of them tells Çeda the origin of their dark bargain. And this dangerous secret may be the very key she needs to throw off the iron grip the Kings have had over Sharakhai....

©2015 Bradley P. Beaulieu (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Twelve Kings in Sharakhai

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Song of Shattered Sands

I wonder how many times I've been tempted to start a review with this may be my new favorite series of all times or my new favorite author... There are some really amazing worlds and magic-systems out there, and this one is one of the best. I hesitated to read it because of several negative reviews on Audible and I'm so glad I went with my gut and grabbed this book, because I ended up really loving it! I can't give it 5 stars all the way across because it took me a little bit to get used to the narrator. That seems to be the complaint of others as well. Honestly, though, by the end, I couldn't imagine anyone else's voice doing the narration. Just stick it out, it's a great story.

The story begins in medias res, so the reader needs to be patient and let the story unfold the way Beaulieu tells it. We start with Ceda, a tough-as-nails teen orphan girl who has taken to pit fighting to make her way on the streets of Sharakhai. We learn about the life of the poor of children Sharakhai, the gutter wrens, the Kings who rule, the Maidens who guard the Kings, and the Asirim who are the monsterous and mysterious dangerous slaves of the Kings.

There are a large number of story lines, all somehow tied to Ceda and as the story unfolds, her role and importance to the city becomes increasingy understandable.

There is a little love story blooming with her childhood friend Emre, creating a little angst and suspense.

To wrap up...This may end up being my new favorite series of all time. We'll have to see:)

For those who care: yes, there is sex, drugs, cursing in the book. It's not like Game of Thrones, but it's not clean.

“AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY”

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Ennui reigns.

Bought the book because I like a fantasy - sci-fi and strong female protagonists, but I could not get behind Ceda or into her world. She's unbeatable in the arena, but inexplicably, got walked over elsewhere. I got through a few hours of of disinterested listening. I realized it had taken me weeks to read so little. A few more weeks passed without turning this book back on. I love Audible, and have quite a few books piled up to read, but this book killed my desire to listen to books. (I filled up my driving and gym time with podcasts - check out Serial.) I didn't dislike Ceda or the other characters, and the narration was forgettable but not objectionable. It was just boring. My bad. I should have switched to another book. Today, I started listening to Career of Evil, and returned this book to Audible. (The return option is great! I've been an Audible member for 12 years, bought over 900 books, and returned only a handful, but the option takes the risk out of buying a book.)

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hooked after 30 second audio sample

Firstly, I don’t want to take away anything from the story, because I loved it - an hour in to my first listen I bought the next 2 available audiobooks, preordered the one after that, and downloaded 2 short stories to Kindle.

But the narration is exquisite. The accents, the pronunciations, the pacing - all perfect. Sarah Coomes reads as if she really cares about the characters and the story, and her pacing is not so fast that you can’t have little thoughts of understanding, about what just happened and what might happen next. You are able to get this enjoyable sense while reading but rarely when listening - thank you Sarah, loved it!

Could (and plan to with my purchases) listen to Sarah talk all day, just wonderful! You can tell she struck a chord for me - I’ll leave more of the actual story reviews to others more talented and descriptive than I.

On to the next book yet tonight - thank you Bradley and Sarah!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Original and Exciting

Song Of Shattered Sands has been sitting in my library for awhile. I have been wanting to listen, but seem to shelve it for other books, and to let more of the series be released. The reviews for this series has been mixed, but in the end I wanted to find out for myself.

Upon initially listening, I found it a bit difficult to get into the book. I don't usually mention the narration right away, but Sarah Coomes has an unusual style, and it takes several chapters to get used to it. Her pronunciation of some words are strange, and her pace is a bit slow and over enunciated. Also, it seemed a bit off having a narrator with a British accent as the voice of a desert themed story. Perhaps a narrator of middle eastern decent would have fit better. But after awhile I settled in to the story and began to enjoy Ms. Coomes performance. There were times when her pronunciation or feminine voice for a male character would pull me out of my immersion into the reading, but for the most part it was not a problem.

Once you get past the initial stages of the narration, you find that Song Of Shattered Sands is a pretty good book. The desert setting for the story is unique and interesting. Cede, the main protagonist, is a strong character who you want to root for. Seeking revenge for the death of her mother, Ceda's story is played out between her time learning to fight and seek vengeance on the Kings who murdered her mother, and flash backs to her growing up in a large and hostile city. There are other POV's in the story, but Ceda is the focus of this book.

Overall, after a slow start, I really enjoyed this book. It is original and the characters likable. I am looking forward to book two.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Voice acting poor and overdone.

I abandoned the book after an hour because the performance of the narrator was the verbal equivalent of William Shatner's acting. Everything was drawn out, over-enunciated, unnecessarily stressed. The male characters also mostly sounded muddled and mildly brain damaged. I just decided I'd rather read it than keep listening to so distractingly poor a performance.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Pretty boring book and slow delivery.

It was a pretty boring book, with slow delivery. It is not worth spending a credit on.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining story, great world-building

Picked this one up on a whim without reading any reviews and was pleasantly surprised. The world and story setting felt both fresh and creative. I particularly enjoyed how the story and background of the twelve kings was gradually discovered throughout the book. I'll be looking forward to the next instalment in the series, just to read more about the world and its story.

Storytelling and progression itself was also entertaining enough. However, don't jump in expecting too much depth from the main characters. Both Çeda and Emre felt somewhat naïve and overly obsessed with a single thought, which I found seriously off-putting and almost binned this as a 3-star book because of it. The overall story and, surprisingly, the narration made me rethink the rating, though.

So, the narration... Yes, the narrator puts a lot of emphasis into the voices. Yes, she can't growl like an angry old man (have you heard Roy Dotrice's female voices, though?). Yes, she makes this feel more like a story book than serious contemplation over politics and oppression of an imaginary city. And yes, without her, I believe the book would have been far less entertaining to listen to. Character dialogues are often lacklustre enough, so I dread thinking what they would sound like in a steadily monotonous voice. :)

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great story but annoying performance

I like the story. However, I found the narrator annoying. Why English accent? The way she randomly change her voice for the same character also does not make sense either. Hopefully, she improves for the next novel. Otherwise, I won't buy the next book as an audible version.

3 people found this helpful

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Awesome story!

I loved this story from reading the prequel novella Of Sand and Malice Made, and this first book in the series was a great start to this story! Can't wait to read the next book!

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This series is fantastic!

Just started this series, it's really wonderful. The narration is pretty incredible, fantastic actress who really grips you into the story. Really enjoying it, about to start the third book!