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Paul Hoffman seems to have come up with an interesting plot, but unfortunately never got past the drafting stage for this novel. The clipped dialogue and focus on distinct details convey well the grim mood during the first chapters of this book. Unfortunately, the writing style doesn't change much as the story progresses, leaving both the dialogue and the storyflow poorly paced and lacking in flavor. Perhaps for this reason, many of the characters were left feeling shallow and unimaginative.
The further the story progressed, the less polished it became. Characters were introduced, just to be completely forgotten a few chapters later. The author also became ever more obliged to explain (rather bluntly) characters' actions and reactions (no matter how obvious or uninteresting they are), as if he had a need to convince you with the logic of it, instead of trusting into his own storytelling. The events, first logical and tightly bound, soon became disjointed and artificial, feeling to be arbitrarily forced by the author rather than stemming from the world he created. Most of the events didn't seem to have much of effect on the overall story progression, as the characters were plunged into the next plot twist, without having any choice about it.
This book suffers from poor storytelling. However, my main complaint is about something else. It has a good deal of real-world references. Real town names, currency, nationalities, religious references and terminology are all used as-is. At first, this felt interesting and sometimes amusing. Soon, it started getting repetitive, making it difficult to immerse into the book. By the end of the book, these references seemed more like cheap and unimaginative placeholders, which no one bothered to replace afterwards.
That being said, I did buy the next book in the series. The plot really isn't so bad, it's just the writing which makes me cringe.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Well written book which kept me listening past bed time as well as an unusual plot, looking forward to the next installment
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
An epic fantasy. Unlike anything I've read or listened to before. As other reviewers have said, the narration is perfectly suited to the story. A very well told story- the characters are deep, and the storyline unique. Highly recommended. I've just downloaded part two, as there's no way I can leave the story where this book ends........
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
Although I acknowledge this book is not particularly great literature and that there is nothing terribly original in it, it is a really entertaining fantasy book. There are elements of it that are contrived and other parts which make you roll your eyes, but on the whole it is fine and keeps going at a great pace and compels one to read it to the end. If you take your fantasy seriously (to me 'Serious Fantasy' is an oxymoron) then you will probably be able to quote lots of better books and authors, but if you want an easy listening experience without taking it all too seriously, then this is as good as the next.
In a nutshell, if you are a 3rd Dan 'Dungeons and Dragons' Master who has memorised everything that Terry Brookes ever wrote and go to LOTR conventions dressed as an Orc, this is probably not the book for you. For everyone else who has realistic expectations (look at the cover illustration, for goodness sake!) of what this book is going to deliver, give it a try.
I for one am looking forward to the sequel.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
Sean Barrett is an amazing narrator and this novel is hard to stop listening to.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
I might be a bit hard but, I just couldn't get into this story. It is set in an undetermined time in an undetermined location. Too much fantasy and a not very believable story line.
Having said that, I didn't like Game of Thrones either but I did like the TV series.