The assassination of heroes was once a warning... for an invasion that nearly destroyed the world. Nations were slaughtered, cities were erased from existence, and defending armies were crushed into oblivion. In weeks, all life stood on the verge of extinction. But the end did not come. Instead the black horde vanished, leaving terrified survivors... and rumors. As the centuries passed the holocaust faded into legend, and finally myth. Across the southern sea a gifted young man is completing his training. To him the war is forgotten. To the world a warning goes unheeded. And the killings have already begun.
"Well written... highly detailed." (Publishers Weekly)
"Ingenious and immersive." (Best in Fantasy)
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BEWARE the 5-Star Ratings!!!
I have seen many 5 star ratings raving about what a wonderful book this is. I was sucked in and have now experienced one of the worst fantasy novels of all time. This is NOTHING like ".... Wheel of Time Series, Wizards First Rule, George R.R. Martin, The Warded Man, The Name of the Wind..." that the number one reviewer Andrew Stone mentions. I have read all of those titles (I expect when he wrote George R.R. Martin he was referring to The Game of Thrones). Every one of those books is a great read and I would recommend them without hesitation. How anyone could compare this book to those is beyond me.
Another 5 star rater, Tim, in Lowell, IN compares Hale's fight scenes to those of Joe Abercrombie. Unbelievable! Hale's fight scenes were excruciating (see below for why). The quality of Abercrombie's (The First Law Trilogy, Best Served Cold, Red Country,.. all of which I have read) fight scenes are so far above Hale's as to not even be in the same solar system.
And ,in an effort to undo any damage done to another fantastic author by 5-star rater Sharon of Tulsa, OK, who states "I saw this one had good ratings, so I decided to give it a try. I have been looking for books to fill the time until the next Michael J Sullivan book comes out, and with this one, I was not disappointed. While not superb, it is really really good and worth a credit if you enjoy fantasy. I cannot wait for the next books in the series to come out and will definitely be getting those as well." I have read all of Mike Sullivan's books extolling the adventures of Hadrian and Royce. They are phenomenal in their character building, relationships, foreshadowing, fight scenes, and humor, not to mention storyline. Sullivan's books are awesome and highly recommended. To speak of waiting for his next book, and shortly thereafter state that you cannot wait for the next book in this series to come out may make some readers hesitant to try Sullivan's books after listening to this one.
If I could see any way, writing from an iPad, to respond directly to the reviewers post I would have. I know we all have different taste, but while reading the reviews I notice there was a reader who tried this as their first fantasy book and gave up on the genre. If only he would have tried some of the books/authors the 5-star reviewers mentioned he may have found a new world of reading enjoyment. To have so many talented names associated with Hale's is just an injustice for anyone trying to choose their first fantasy book.
I will give this book the benefit of the doubt that it may be intended for Young Adult. But even with that said I am afraid that any young reader trying the fantasy genre for the first time would be totally turned off of fantasy by this book. I wish I could contact Bob Watson and ask him to give the genre one more try. :( Here is his post - "I thought I would take a chance on a fantasy book, and it was everything feared it may be. If you are a fan of this genre I am sure it is wonderful. It was like the audio book of an RPG video game. RPG's are boring enough to play let alone listen to." He hit the nail on the head... it is like a roll playing game.
What could have made this a 4 or 5 star listening experience for me? Not being able to hear the dice roll on the table in every fight scene, or discovery. I am convince that Ben Hale plays Dungeons and Dragons and used one of the campaigns he played in or DM'ed as a bases for this story. While I can imagine that it was a fun game for the players who were vested in their characters, the same joy is not had by the reader. When a tertiary character would intercede with "I think you should xyz", I could just see the mind of the Dungeon Master thinking *These guys are about to mess up if they don't: take a rope; look for tracks first; notice "this" or "that". I better give them a hint.* As for the fight scenes, again the Dungeon Master wants to make sure his players are having a good time and one of the best ways is to have the player-character doe some fantastic maneuvers no matter how unrealistic they may be. Possible example: player rolls a 20 during combat, DM rolls low therefore DM says "As (insert non-player character bad guy name) swings his sword you jump over the blade, flip backwards, catch a horsefly in mid-flip, tie a string to it before you complete the flip, release the horsefly just as your feet touch the ground. As you straighten you are relieved to see that the horsefly has completed a circuit around ____'s neck. You plant your feet, pull the string and ... (DM rolls to see how severe the damage will be) ... you cut his head off." Okay, yes, I am over exaggerating. :)
The scene where the main character evades the elves by running through the forest, falling in a rushing river, saves an elf that was chasing him, jumps down a cliff with his rope tied to an arrow, swings on said rope along the cliff and lands in a window is filled with one unbelievable dex, strength, and perception check after another. This player must have had a very lucky set of dice.
On the ship, for some unknown reason the captain keeps deferring to the player-characters. "Should we keep the row boat?" "Okay men, do what the main character just told me to do." So grotesquely unbelievable.
No. I have been reading in the fantasy genre for 34 years and have read too many good fantasy books.
Derek Perkins is an amazing narrator. I liked everything about his performance. If it had not been for his superb performance I would not have been able to make it through the book. I have also listened to him perform in The Godling Chronicles Book 1 (will not be reading book 2. While the story is a good one, and intriging, the writing skill is not there. I believe The Godling Chronicles may be another Young Adult book).
I am currently listening to Perkins' performance of The Harbinger Book 1. I am only about 1/4 of the way through the book but so far I am enjoying it immensely (great character interaction and humor). Perkins is hitting the voices perfectly. Especially the voice of the female lead. And he pulls off the humor of the book so well my husband I actually laugh out loud as we listen to the story together. (Luckily for my husband he did not listen to Elseerian with me.)
Does this book have any redeeming qualities? Well, I think if I was playing one of the characters in the role-playing game I would have had a blast. Sounds like the DM has a good imagination and knows how to keep his/her players engaged and happy. So as I listened the author did make me feel as if I could once again be sitting at my dinning table eating chips, swigging Mountain Dew, and trying to perfect my ability to spin a 4-sided dice as I laugh it up with our friends while my husband, the DM, spins a wonderful tale for us to play off of and build our character relationships and abilities as we role-played ourselves up in levels to hero status. But, alas, I will not see these characters achieve that final scene in the game, when the evil has finally been defeated and the characters gather in the tavern, along with one or more of the non-player characters that became a major part of the story, to drink ale and reflect on their adventures. There they sit jesting and laughing, only to become somber when they remember who is not present, those non-player characters who, through the story-telling talent of the DM, found a place in their hearts only to be lost in battle. In short, I will not be reading the second book in the series.
If you have made it this far through my very verbose review I hope it has given insight into why the 5-star ratings mentioning wonderful authors such as Sullivan, G.R.R Martin, Abercrombie, etc should not lure you in to reading this book.
If you are not familiar with those authors that have been mentioned then you might very well enjoy this one.
- M. McCormick
Loved this book!
I enjoy Epic Fantasy Books.... Wheel of Time Series, Wizards First Rule, George R.R. Martin, The Warded Man, The Name of the Wind...
If you liked these books (above), then you'll also like this...
- Andrew Stone