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I have mixed feelings about this book, because while I liked the characters and felt deeply for them, there wasn't much in the way of originality here. The highlight was Asher, who defies the likable farm boy stereotype by being belligerent, selfish, self-centered...and entirely fascinating to watch crash through his version of life. His friendship with Gar is a great buddy story, but the rest of the plot lines are less defined. Also, this is only half of a book, so beware the blatant cliffhanger.
Kirby Heyborne did an excellent job at narration, and I loved his portrayal of Asher. His narration was a good part of my enjoying this story.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
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.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful