The powerful city-state of Saraykeht is a bastion of peace and culture, a major center of commerce and trade. Its economy depends on the power of the captive spirit Seedless, an andat bound to the poet-sorcerer Heshai for life. Enter the Galts, an empire committed to laying waste to all lands with their ferocious army. Saraykeht has always been too strong for the Galts to attack, but now they see an opportunity. If they can dispose of Heshai, Seedless will perish and the entire city will fall. In the middle is Otah, a simple laborer with a complex past. Recruited to act as a bodyguard for his girlfriend's boss at a secret meeting, he inadvertently learns of the Galtish plot. Otah finds himself as the sole hope of Saraykeht: either he stops the Galts or the whole city and everyone in it perishes forever.
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If you're wondering why this book gets high ratings in "Book Format", but not many "Reviews", in Book OR Audible Format, I think I can TRY to answer THAT question at least...
We all buy books in Genres we each like.. Some people like Hard Military Sci-Fi (ME! ME! ME! ;). Some People Love Hard Sci-Fi (ME! ME! ME! AGAIN! ;). Some people buy romance books, (Uhhh NOT "Me" on this one, but to each their own)...
I HATED "Fantasy" until Sanderson got me hooked on it... Now I've just quit saying I hate "Fantasy" because it seems every 4th book I listen to nowadays is Fantasy (I like to tell myself "that *I* haven't changed, It's just that better writers started writing fantasy"... MAYBE that's even true! ;)
But... This book (The SERIES in fact) is MOSTLY based on "Characters"... almost like the author thought "How ALIVE can I make each character? Can I make them feel so real that people CARE about them as they would a real person?"
THAT was DARING! Because when you buy a Fantasy Book with Magic (etc), You EXPECT "Magic, Etc"... but there's not much "Magic" in the series (and I'm on the last book in the series now), but I STILL got caught up in "The Characters" somehow!
...Which makes me feel... "Weird"... OK, let me just say it, "I feel like a Sensitive Girl who got caught up in a novel because she 'Cared' about the people involved".. There! I said it! To put in perspective how HARD that was for me to write, MY life can summed up as "I have NEVER expected to die in bed from old age!" I have A LOT of HARD Miles on my body! I have holes in my body in places that SANE people DO NOT want holes.. I even have the proverbial "Another Hole In My Head" (IE: "I need THAT like I need another hole in my head"). I've raised FIVE Gifted Children (4 Girls and a Boy), Put them ALL through College (Except our Youngest, 12, and she MAY start college at 16, like her Siblings).. I've raised them to adulthood, seen them Married to "Perfect" Sons-And Daughters-In-Laws, and now I'm teaching my Grandsons about "Life on the Ranch, and things Young Men NEED to learn to become "Well-Rounded Young Gentlemen". I've retired from the Military. I've Retired From Electrical Engineering and Programming (I still DO THEM, but I do them "For myself" or "For Charities and Schools that NEED some help", from my Home Offices and Workshops), and I just recently sold my Businesses to allow myself more time with my Wife, Children, Grandchildren, and our Ranch... I've spent literally YEARS of total time in Hospitals being "Put back together" after one horrible event or another (I know, "You get the picture, I'm not exactly 'Mr. Sensitive'" ;)...
... but I'm listening to a fantasy series, that seems to be mostly about "Caring about the Characters, throughout the action during their lives". Two Months ago, I would have looked you in the eyes and SWORN that couldn't happen... but Abraham has somehow pulled it off.
The "Striking (COMPLICATED) Poses" felt weird in the first book (Characters "Strike Poses" ("Learned Body Language") to add MUCH more subtle meaning to situations, than "Words" alone could convey).. but I even got used to THAT kinda quickly and stopped noticing it by midway through book one, and I even UNDERSTAND it (It's been done by various cultures throughout history, where "Body Language" is A PART OF the over all Conversation. IE: Speaking while "Holding A Pose" conveying the meaning of "a young, submissive, lower-class merchant, speaking to the wife of a highly-ranked Nobleman"... Sound Complicated? Yeah.. But it's actually been done, to that level of detail, in some older cultures)
This series is HARD to "Review", because there's really nothing else like it to compare it to! PARTS of it are 'LIKE' a lot of other books, but the 'style' is something totally Unique 'Over All'.
... Just go ahead and hit the "0 of 5000 People Found This Review Helpful" icon, because *I'm* not doing a good job of "Describing The Series" either... but I thought I'd give it a try. Seriously, It's OK, Hit the icon... I'm USED to FAILING far more than Succeeding. But no one has EVER said "I didn't TRY" ;). I am "ENJOYING The Series a lot", and that's all that really matters to me.
- Trip Williams "Did you know you can put in a set of Ear-Buds, slap your Hearing Protectors over them, and Mow the lawn, Weed-Eat, etc, without your book being drowned out by engine noise? OR, you can just let the horses in the yard, and THEY'LL mow and weedeat (literally) FOR YOU!"
Worth the Wait
I was super excited when I was browsing Audible and noticed this series was finally in audio format. Having already listened to Abraham's newer series, Dagger and Coin, I had high expectations for this older acclaimed series. I wasn't disappointed. Abraham's style is fairly unique, he writes fantasy but without the usual heroes and villains. If you are looking for melee or magical combat this book doesn't have it, it does have some great characters, plot, and suspense.
Best of all you won't have to wait long for the other books in the series, all are scheduled to be released before the end of 2014.