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Not looking forward to a long period of car and plane travel, I looked for a long book to listen to and found this one. (55 hours for one credit!) I had read or listened to several of Prior’s books and enjoyed them. Bob Neufeld was the narrator of the first Nameless Dwarf book I listened to (the Chronicles) and had done a good job.
In my opinion, this new book (actually 4 in one) is the best so far. Prior incorporates and excels in many of the elements of this genre. He creates thought-provoking new worlds (at least 3 distinct ones in this), flawed characters doing heroic things, mostly against their wills and natural inclinations (a cold-blooded albino assassin saving the world!), creepy villains and epic, bloody battles. The title character, for example, is a fun guy who likes to sing bawdy songs while clearing the battlefield of enemies with his enormous axe. He also has a constant battle with depression and spends much of the book in heroic exploits to atone for the horrific crimes that lead to his name. (I’m trying to avoid any spoilers here.)
The need for redemption is a strong theme in this saga and Prior handles it well amid the nearly non-stop action. There are many who need redemption, which adds to the complexity of the plot and characters.
One characteristic that sets Prior apart is that, while the stakes are high (preventing the end of all things) and the action is fierce and fast, there is a welcome intimacy through most of it. For example, rather than battle scenes with thousands of fighters and piles of corpses, most of the fights involve just the small, outnumbered band of lead characters against the creepy villains and their minions.
Bob Neufeld’s narration is excellent, the best of his I’ve heard. It’s hard to imagine a better voice for the Nameless Dwarf, a low, vibrant rumble with the range to capture Nameless’ humor and melancholy and make him the clear leader of the main characters. (It reminds me a bit of Jonathan Rhys-Davies in Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings.)
He has also found convincing voices for most of Prior’s array of misfits and villains - the albino assassin, the slimy Lich Lord, Otto Blightey, and the hybrids, giants, mages, poisoners and petty criminals. I have quibbles with a few characterizations and accents, but that is mostly about personal taste. In a book this long and with so many characters, it’s to be expected.
All in all, a great choice for my long travel days and one I think most fans of the adventure fantasy genre will want to try. It’s surely worth the one credit.
I hope this helps.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful
I loved the story, world, and characters. Unfortunately the narrator has one voice for everything.... He sounds like an old man talking with a mouth full of marbles. Kept drawing away from the story and creates confusion when its supposed to be a youthful character.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
I could only listen for about 40 minutes and then had to turn it off. The Narration is truly awful. Imagine grandpa from the Simpsons reading you a story and doing it badly - that is as good as it gets - the written story may be OK but the terrible narration makes it inaccessible.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
the story was amazing the characters were all unique and had been thoroughly thought out the heros memrable and the villains are most vile yes theres a bit of an audio issue close to the end of the book but it is the most amazing story ive heard and i will listen to it again