Ewzad Vriil's keep has fallen and Justan has been reunited with his friends. But the kingdom remains in turmoil. The mother of the moonrats still builds the Dark Prophet's army of monsters in the mountains, and the Battle Academy forces are weakened. Justan's bonds with Fist and Gwyrtha have made him stronger and faster, but the more he learns about his powers, the more questions he has. He seeks out the bonding wizard Master Coal, hoping that the man can teach him what he needs to know about his magic before he hurts his bonded and himself. Deathclaw has freed Talon from Ewzad Vriil's power, only to find that she is no longer the sister he used to know. Meanwhile, a new creature is born: a beast designed to hunt dragons. Will they survive the Hunt of the Bandham? Hunt of the Bandham is the third book in the Bowl of Souls series.
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I'm tired of narrator changes. There's nothing more frustrating than enjoying a couple of books and looking forward to the next only to find that they've changed the narrator. So disappointed. Other than that the story was as good as the first two but I find myself cringing at the narrator and his inability to bring the different characters to life.
OK vacation book series, but not top10 (grade: B–)
Bowl of Souls Series (books 1–3): B- Bottom line recommendation: “If you’ve got a credit (or $) to burn, and you’re looking for some decent entertainment, yeah sure, might as well go for it.” If there’s some supposedly acclaimed book sitting on your wish list that you’re considering diving into, but haven’t jumped, I’d say go get that one, and you can come back and listen to this afterward. That is to say, save the Bowl of Souls for when you want a break from those “deeper” more “Intense” or “intricate/complex” books. I think this series certainly has it’s high points, but overall, this is just another fantasy book with the story line and characters poured straight out of the mold. I certainly wouldn’t say I wasted my time by any means—it has been entertaining thus far… but I also won’t be putting this one on any top-10 lists. - The good stuff: 1) As stated, it’s entertaining. I suppose it would be one of those good pure entertainment “beach-reads.” 2) Though it doesn’t really come to light until after the first book, there’s a pretty neat component of the magic system that is either original, or I just didn’t come across it before. So it was nice to ponder that different aspect. 3) The fauna is neat. There’s a lot of variety and the interactions between species and races is pretty cool. - The not-so-good stuff: Not the best writing in the world. It’s somewhat juvenile, especially for character dialogue. I don’t know if it was just my failing patience, but it seemed to get worse as the books went on. Also, I don’t really want to be “that grammar guy,” but I think that people on the radio should be able to enunciate clearly and writers should be able to employ grammar properly. If I’m the one (as a “sciencey” person) catching the grammatical goofs, it’s probably not a good sign. -- Eye of the Moonrat: B They might look like it on the cover, but Moonrats are NOT cute! - Story: The first book of the series is definitely the best so far. This is one of those books with a few distinct plot lines with different sets of characters (the sort in which you just know those stories will come together by the end). For this book (1st in series), I like the fact that the author doesn’t always use cliffhangers to get you to read on (like many authors employing this format do), but rather makes each chapter self-contained enough that you’re not screaming “WTF happens after he picks up the sword?!” or whatever. Instead, the author has made the stories interesting and somewhat dynamic in such a way that you’re excited to read on instead of compelled to do so. I just finished a chapter and thought, “wow, that’s nice. I’m sure glad he wrapped that up before switching to the next story line,” and figured I’d better make note of how much I appreciated that aspect. There are DEFINITELY some heavy fantasy genre clichés. This gets significantly worse in the following books. - Audio: Narration was pretty good (B). Some characters in the voice acting seemed a bit forced, but still OK. I actually enjoyed the fact that the narrator (or someone) decided to go with a US southern/south western accent for the dwarf instead of the typical Scottish. No complaints about production quality. -- Messenger of the Dark Prophet: C+ - Story: This is where all the fantasy genre clichés cast right out of the same ol’ mold really come to light. Another story of a boy going to school, feeling out of place, meeting some new friends, and running into the obligatory characters who, because of some scarred past or for whatever stupid reason, become obsessed form some petty vendetta against the main character for their own f-ups. Really? There’s not another plot device out there? We’re gonna keep bludgeoning that poor deceased equid? - Audio: Narrator was same as before = good, not great. No complaints about production quality. -- Hunt for Bandham: B- - Story: The plot picks up a bit and gets into the larger scope during this book. Background built up during the first 2 books starts to come together and the tale gains momentum. - Audio: The narrator switch in book 3 was a MAJOR step down (grade = C). The characters that may have previously seemed a bit forced became downright caricatures in this book. Also, the reading style for the narration reminded me a bit of a child being careful to pronounce every word properly, because the kid’s just getting this whole reading thing down. No complaints about production quality. -- Future: I'll be getting the upcoming books, as long as I remember (but I'm not putting stickers on my calendar for release dates). They're good enough for entertainment. :)