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This was my first experience with Karen Miller's work. I enjoyed both books in this series very much. This is Fantasy with characters I could understand, a lot of raw emotion, and a rich background story only hinted at. Looking at the other books available, I can see that the history behind the Innocent Mage is out there as well. Miller breaks a couple 'rules' of writing and does it very well. She writes in dialect, and she calls real things by made up names. These rules are meant to be broken, but it takes a good fantasy writer to do it. She succeeds. The narrator of these books handled the dialect very well but does not return to read the series that comes after, and that may be a difficult switch. I was looking for long fantasy novels where I could get involved with the characters and not have my attention wander. Miller gave me that and I will continue to read her novels. The only criticism I have is that she seems to be dancing around a religious allegory and that was a bit distracting. I may be confusing the basic progression of "The Hero's Journey" with religious allegory... something to think about. It may also just be my imagination, and if so, she has touched on an issue in Fantasy I strongly believe in. We have to be able to believe in the character's world before we can believe in them. If it is too alien, we shouldn't just be dropped into the deep end unless we already know how to swim. That doesn't say it very well, but I've read books where I've drowned, and a few brilliant works that I have learned to swim in. I prefer to wade in and swim out to the deep end when I'm comfortable. These are well worth the time to listen to.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
After having enjoyed The Innocent Mage, I expected more than this book delivered. Much of the story line was so predictable that it felt as though I'd already read it by the time I actually got to the parts I already knew were coming. There was also a lot of repetition that could have been done away with by a good editor. Many times I thought my iPod was playing up or the audio book was skipping or hadn't been properly cut together, but it turned out just to be the author repeating the lines again.
Having said that, the last third of the book was a lot better. There were several events that I didn't see coming and one or two quite clever plot devices. It basically saved the book. I also thought Karen Miller did a good job at making her characters realistic. Few of them were wholly good or purely evil, which is more in keeping with truth and reality. It did, however, sometimes make it quite difficult to decide whether a character was likeable or not and left me never quite knowing if I wanted to invest any particular feelings in the characters. Still, it added depth to the book and was well done and I applaud her for it. Do I recommend the book? I don't really know. This is one book where I would make an exception for an abridged version as a lot could have been cut with no ill effects on the story.
Narration: The book is well narrated and I would listen to Kirby Heybourne again.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful