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Good, but ends in a huge cliffhanger, hence my rating.
The narrator is too mellow, he cuts away any sense of rush and excitement.
Anthony Ryan is making quite a name for himself now. After the Raven’s Shadow he set his sights on a veritable fantasy opera of epic scale in the Draconis Memoria. Steampunk, big, powerful and greedy corporations, a magic system based on dragon’s blood and a breath-taking world of epic proportions. In amongst that there are vividly drawn characters that lead us on various adventures with everything from epic quests to Prison Break style tales being brought to life. Despite its length this is fast-paced and breathlessly full of action and adventure.
When I finished The Waking Fire audiobook I had two concerns for the future of the series. Firstly, the narration by a strangely and unusually subdued Steven Brand washed out this colourful world and its swashbuckling characters a little making if feel like I was listening in monochrome. Steve West is definitely an upgrade in that regard, he adds more variety and injects variety into the voices and personalities. My second concern was that having seemingly put everything but the kitchen sink into the first book Ryan would struggle for inspiration to fill the second and third. As it turns out he obviously had plenty left in the tank and he steampunks this through fabulous scenarios such as a prison city and the frozen southern wastes. It really is an amazing tour held together by the highly detailed world building.
One thing that I wish I had done is re-visit The Waking Fire or at least the last few chapters just to get my head around the story and characters again as there is an awful lot going on. If you look on the author’s official website there are actually some resources there including maps, character descriptions, a chronology of the corporate age and a list of the main trading companies that might help anyone similarly challenged between the ears as myself. It’s not necessary but if you like to feel you’re keeping a strong track of things they could be useful.
In short, this is a great continuation that promises much for the concluding episode of the series.
9 of 12 people found this review helpful
The series just gets better and better!
Anthony Ryan wows again with a graceful storytelling, exciting adventures and likeable characters, who stand up against the world of drakes. This book is so fast-paced, it will keep you awake at nights until you absorb it all.
As the story progresses the magic system grows and a new established world full of history, intrigue and politics opens up even further, and invites heroes to discover the unknown. There are so many side stories, it's great!
If you think that this is another book about dragons, well... it is, but the author breathes a fresh breath of air to the genre and introduces new twists to the dragons and their world. Their importance to the human race and magic really stands out, I shall say no more so as not to spoil the plot.
It is difficult to compare the style of these books to the other acclaimed fantasy writers, as the book has a Branderson-sequel magic system, George Martin's feeling of discovery, Joe Abercrombie's strong characters and its own well-crafted plot with Ryan's chapter structure and tension build up. Despite throwing it all into one book, it works fantastically and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Steve West does a fair job performing this book and it is a big improvement from the previous narrator. He is trying to give characters a unique personality and voice, however is it believable? I'm not convinced... though I have enjoyed this book a lot.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Overall solid storytelling as always. However, the habit of ending every single chapter with a minor cliffhanger grew tiresome.
The voice performance felt overbearing and unnecessary. Dramatic accents seemed not to fit the tone, creating cartoonish characters (Tinkerer and the Electress, for example). Accents seemed to have no correlation either, as when three people from the same city in the beginning of the book had 3 wildly different accents. Also, changing the pronunciations of names and words from the first book was confusing.
The experience was still enjoyable, although minor issues with the performance may incite some small frustrations in other pedants like myself.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
would have been a lot better if you had kept the same voice actor as in the waking fire