Spy, rogue, thief, and noble, Seregil of Rhiminee is many things, none of them predictable. And when he offers to take on Alec as his apprentice, things may never be the same for either of them. Soon Alec is traveling roads he never knew existed, toward a war he never suspected was brewing. Before long he and Seregil are embroiled in a sinister plot that runs deeper than either can imagine and that may cost them far more than their lives if they fail. But fortune is as unpredictable as Alec's new mentor.
©1996 Lynn Flewelling; (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks
Although it had some slow patches, this was quite an enjoyable romp and Seregil is definitely a compelling character. Under normal circumstances I'd have given it four stars. However, what spoiled it a bit for me was that nothing really got resolved at the end. It's part of a series, but it doesn't stand alone as a complete story in it's own right. If you want to know the answers to the major questions you're going to have to get the rest of the series. And I didn't enjoy it *that* much that I'm dashing to read the rest. So, all in all, it was a bit let-down at the end.
"A really good story. (What homosexuality?)"
This is a really interesting adventure. There are wizards and magic. Evil bad guys. A valiant hero and his apprentice. Adventure. Breath taking escapes. A whole world has been created for our enjoyment.
How can anyone complain of spoon fed homosexuality in this story? One of the characters entertains a few thoughts. That's about it. You will get stronger sexual references in the average TV commercial. I'm started on the second volume and so far in the two stories the only overt sexuality is heterosexual.
There are some really, really intolerant folks writing reviews. It isn't the story that did it. Must be something inside the reviewer. Are they just too stimulated at the thought that a hero might be gay?
"Fantastic Series! Homophobes, shut up!"
I am completely enthralled by the series and its characters. Lynn Flewelling does a expert job of weaving together a world for her creative energies to take form in. This--the first book--is largely exposition woven into an array of adventures that build the relationship between our main characters and introduce the most influential ones to grace us throughout the rest of the series. However, I highly encourage the effort to gain the knowledge of this exposition to more fruitfully enjoy the rest of the books. Though this is not a kind of literature that begs the reader to develop grand theories of metaphor and symbolism, I would urge anyone looking for a good adventure with engaging characters to purchase this text and the ones that follow. Raymond Todd, while occasionally missing an inflection or overusing certain voices, does an excellent as far as most audiobooks go. Mainstream youth fantasy novels such as Harry Potter or the Inheritance Cycle receive more funding and are able--I imagine--to buy more studio time to master all the different characters voices.
However, I must say that I am disgusted by the heteronormative and homophobic interjections of fellow reviewers on this site. The mere idea that queer characters being present could be "unsafe for children" is appalling and deserves a good scolding. Furthermore, that this should make anyone avoid the series is outlandish. Though I suppose--to be fair--I find myself rather appalled by the blatant heterosexuality that dominates the majority of books on this site. However, until this moment, I have felt no need to scream from the rooftops that I don't wish to read/listen to such "lifestyles" being exhibited in literature. Therefore, I kindly ask all homophobic and heteronormative listeners to shove it and let listen to my queer audiobook in peace.
I will not be warned against what I look for in the first place. Heteros don't own the world, they just seem to think they do
"A surprisingly good series"
I was pleasantly surprised by this series of books. The characters are enjoyable from the first and as they develop across the series you find some new depths. Sometimes keeping a handle on what is happening can be a bit tricky at first but I found I soon got into the flow of it. At times it is distracting that the narrator miss pronounces some of the words and the strange accents are a bit comical, but it does not distract too much. The book does not have a complex plot and because of this it works well as an audio book. Worth a listen for some good harmless fun
"Good tale, 'comfortable friends'"
I'm enjoying this series (I've reviewed the second book too if you're interested). The characters feel like 'friends' after awhile, and I like that sense of companionship. They face interesting adventures, and take their time revealing themselves to each other and to the listener, so there's always something to discover. I listened to the story steadily but not obsessively ... which to me means it's a good tale!
The universe is not difficult to imagine (even without a map), and it's culture is intriguing and presented in such a way that it makes sense to the listener. I will note that this is a culture where varying forms of sexuality are considered normal (something I seem to keep stumbling across in the books I've read lately - I find it refreshing, but I realize there are many who would find it distressing so I mention it here).
"Looking forward to the second book in this series"
Thought this book was pretty good, 'harassing the horses' and all. :D I did not think it sounded the slightest bit amateurish. Fantasy books are for light reading, after all. The before mentioned homosexual love, is stated as an abstract concept- you don't really have to worry about your kids reading this one. Ive had an excellent couple of days with this book. Looking forward to reading more of this author in the future!
"A good book, just not finished."
This was a very enjoyable read (listen?) right up until the last few seconds, when the narrative is cut off mid-action. I've read a few series of fantasy books and expect there to be some unresolved business, but this ending is entirely unsatisfactory.
If you're willing to buy the rest of the series, you'll enjoy it - but there's no resolution to this book at all so don't plan on reading it by itself.
I don't normally write reviews but felt compelled after I almost didn't download this book due to the other reviews. In fact I went to Amazon to get additional reviews since I felt what I was seeing was blatant homophobic remarks that had nothing to do with how well this book was written or if the story was engrossing. I very much enjoyed this series, the plot, writing, characters, and dialog. It was exactly what I was looking for. In fact the only negative thing I can say about this series is that I wish they would stick to the same narrator for all the books. I almost gave up listening when the narrator was changed in book 4 and to be honest I would have if I didn't enjoy the story so much! The comments given that the amazing love shared between these two men was not necessary to the story baffle me. I felt it was an integral piece of the story line to understand why they made the choices they did and brought me to care so much more about their struggles and relationship. I guarantee that if one of the main characters was a woman there would have been no complaints with the other reviewers. The emotion between them was love not lust, tasteful, moving, and beautiful.
"narration is undoing"
I chose this title based in part on the synopsis and the high reviews. All I can say is thankfully I wasted a book credit and not $60.00 on this tedious tale. I have trudged through other books where the reader was an obstacle, but this one was the worst. I can't quite put my finger on it but the readers tone and tempo were to much to overcome. The lack of any real action made it all the worse to endure. It was all I could do to make it to Seregils recovery before giving up. The other reviews allude to a gay relationship which I must say went over my head unless it developed later in the book. I have never heard the term "harrassing the horses" in conjunction with same sex love. Was that supposed to be a major underlying theme? Sorry, I'm on to better fare.
"Let down by narration"
Enjoyable story with memorable characters in an interesting setting - I didn't find the 'world-building' a problem at all. I have to echo other comments about the poor narration, however. Mispronunciations, awkward phrasing and unrecognisable accents detracted from the pleasure of this audiobook. I'll listen to the sequel for the strength of the story, but would avoid anything else with this narrator.
This was a remarkably enjoyable book. I'm halfway through the second one and the trilogy so far has been one of the best I've read/heard recently. I'm impressed by the characters and the story.
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