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If you are looking for a twelve hour bottle rocket of a book with precision placed plot markers, set in stone character arcs, and an over the top climax - look elsewhere.
Here lies master craft writing, beautiful world building, and characters who feel real to the touch.
While I have nothing against fast paced writing - often I prefer it - there is something to be said about the sacrifices made to do so. Redick throws all those restraints in the garbage, leaving none of his tools spared. This book has been well nurtured to create a beautiful garden you can't help but take a stroll through. You may find yourself in a lull at points, but push through, this story is more than worth it.
The characters in this book are the most engrossing I've encountered in a long time, their decision making complicated, raw, real. My suspension of disbelief was held iron-clad. The world is vast, it's environments and cultures rich, loaded with untold secrets barely scratched in this novel.
Eric Michael Summerer is a great narrator with a good wheelhouse of voices.
There is a reason two of my favorite authors (Patrick Rothfuss & Michael Lawrence) gave glowing recommendations for this novel, because it rocks.
First off, the cover art and title have a YA vibe that is completely incongruous with the actual story. This is not YA but serious, fantasy literature so don't come in expecting a swashbuckling light hearted listen!
In fact, you will struggle to find a better written book in any genre, let alone fantasy and this really came across with a wonderfully flowing narration by Eric Summerer. This book also has some serious (deservedly so) backing from the likes of Patrick Rothfuss and Mark Lawrence and i'm certain will be up there come awards season.
But (and there is always a but), there is a difference between a good story and good writing.
While the narration and writing were wonderful, I really struggled to get pulled into the actual story. It's not that a lot doesn't happen, per say, but I felt a lack of urgency and pacing that meant while I might really enjoy half an hour here and an hour there. I didn't feel compelled to find time to listen, let alone be staying up late into the night listening.
Ultimately that is one of the main things I look for and what perhaps (unfairly) makes me mark down a book that was still an enjoyable listen.
It's well worth a credit and for some will be the best thing they listen to this year. While everyone else can sit back, listen and admire the prose before moving onto a more action packed book.
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