With Lord of the Isles, David Drake returns to fantasy with a towering and complex epic of heroic adventure in an extraordinary and colorful world where the elemental forces that empower magic are rising to a thousand-year peak.
In the days following an unusually severe storm, the inhabitants of a tiny seaport town travel toward romance, danger, and astonishing magic that will transform them and their world.
©1997 David Drake (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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"The start of an epic"
Well told story told in the classic fantasy style of myth, magic, and mayhem. Michael Pages does a great reading creating distinct characters as he introduces us to the Lord of the Isles saga. David Drake lays out a solid foundation to build his world. Great ear candy if your looking for a good fantasy tale.
Its decent. It deserves more of a 3.5 star rating than a 4 but it didn't deserve a 3 star. The strength is in its pacing which is quick and requires close attention from the listener.
Drake does not spend as much time in characterization as authors such as Robert Jordan or GRRM. However, in doing so he also avoid the traps that Robert Jordan and GRRM both fall into which is repetitive characterizations that get really boring when you're binge listening.
This can be considered a lighter version of Robert Jordan.
"Good narrator, poor story"
The story just has no depth. It's hard to follow and the characters are plastic. I quit on chapter 12. Then decided to give it another try for lack of anything else but gave up again on chapter 19, Just nothing to keep my attention.
"Give this Series a Shot!"
I might be a little biased because I LOVED these books when I first found them at my local library all the way back in 2008 (eleven years after the first one was printed). But listening to them on Audible has reminded me so much of why I loved them and why they - periodically - drive me a little batty.
This series is great for a lot of reasons. First, it has all the classic fantasy tropes you could ask for (and Tropes Are Not Bad). There’s a young shepherd boy who would become king; a maiden in peril who seeks not only safety, but agency; a strong man whose simple country values will help him resist the temptation; and at least two wise old sages to give advice to our heroes on their quests. These tropes are used, but this series avoids some of the pits fantasy books are wont to fall into. There are, for instance, as many complex and interesting female characters in this series as there are males. And these women all have goals, motivations, and friendships outside of the main cast; nary a refrigerator to be found.
Second, while the books have a large cast of characters who go their separate ways, they’re never apart for longer than the length of each individual book. When I read these the first time, I found it was fun to skip around and follow each character’s journey separately until the very end. This isn’t nearly as easy with the audiobook format, but neither is it difficult to keep track like it can be with other fantasy series with a plenitude of characters (see: Wheel of Time, Song of Ice and Fire, etc).
Third, the characters and the world feel very “lived in.” We know what kind of beer each character likes. We learn how they wear their clothes and if they prefers shoes to sandals. We never question their motivations because their characters are so fleshed out the author knows what each character “would” do were they real. Each island has its own customs and flavors without becoming “the island of brickmakers” or “the island of miners.”
However, this series might not appeal to you for a few reasons. First, well, it has all the classic fantasy tropes. Sure David Drake uses them to their greatest effect in the vein of David Eddings and Brandon Sanderson, but if you’re looking for something else besides another story about a Chosen One who has a Destiny (or in this story Duty), then you won’t find it here.
Second, the novels are each essentially the same story. There’s an over-arching goal that all the books are aiming towards but in every novel you can count on one particular character being kidnapped or otherwise separated from her friends and another particular character going to her rescue. Each novel has the characters going on their separate journeys, but miraculously all ending up in the same place around the same time to save the day. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but it could get tiresome for some readers.
Third, and this bothered me the first time I read this, there’s no sex. I’m not saying I want explicit scenes like something out of a Laurell K Hamilton book. But there’s legitimately no confirmation one way or the other that any of the relationships have been consummated by any act of intimacy. There are a lot of fingertips being rested on wrists and meaningful looks, but nothing even hints that their relationships have gone beyond seventh graders holding hands in the cafeteria. One of the main character’s entire motivation for the first novel is his love for a woman. And by the third novel there’s still no sign that he hasn’t been friendzoned. So if you’re looking for some romance, this isn’t the place.
All in all, I’d say this series, and the first novel especially, balance out pretty well. There are a few moments here and there where the Big Bads are dispatched rather more handily and with less cost than one might assume possible, but those moments are few and forgivable. Give this series a shot if you haven’t yet.
One note on the narration: this series utilizes some sound effects like echoes and double-voice layering and pitch altering during some of the magicky sequences. It’s not terribly bad, but it might not be your thing. Beyond that, however, Michael Page does a splendid job.
"Hard to follow with little to keep your attention"
Deeper story hooks. I felt there was nothing of any substance to keep my attention to the point I only listened to it because I purchased it.
No. Even as poorly entertaining as this audio book, and the whole series, have been I will continue to listen.
I'm not sure anything could have been done to improve the performance of this series. I feel it was poorly read but I believe that was the story and not the reader.
Disappointment for sure.
If you are still considering listening to this series please only get the first book before getting the whole series. It could be I was just looking for something more like a Robert Jordan or Salvatore type read.
"Confusing, bloody, poorly read."
This book was very confusing and annoying. It switches about every chapter between three groups of characters. The groups are similar enough (he-man and girl) that it takes a while to figure out which group he is talking about now. That doesn't get better as you go along. It just gets very annoying!
Another bad part is the bloody animal and human sacrifices. You have throats cut and blood spurting. It's really disgusting. David Drake also talks about how there is no morality, and what is past is past. Nooo we wouldn't wand to judge anyone would we?
The reading: There is a female character that Michael Page has to read. He completely fails with a tortured high male voice. It's revolting. Fail!
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