Thinblade, book one:
When second son Alexander Valentine loses his brother to an assassin's arrow, he discovers that his family protects an ancient secret and reluctantly finds himself at the center of the final battle of a war that was supposed to have ended 2,000 years ago. Pursued by the dark minions of an ancient enemy, Alexander flees to the mountain city of Glen Morillian, where he discovers that he is the heir to the throne of Ruatha, one of the Seven Isles, but before he can claim the throne he must recover the ancient Thinblade. Thinblade is the story of Alexander's quest to find the ancient sword, claim the throne of Ruatha, and raise an army to stand against the enemy that has awoken to claim dominion over all of the Seven Isles.
Sovereign Stone, book two:
After gaining entrance to Blackstone Keep and recovering the legendary Thinblade, Alexander must seek out the Sovereign Stone, and quickly. Contained within the ancient teardrop ruby is the secret of Wizard's Dust, the source of magic and the one thing that will ultimately decide the final battle of the Reishi War. Prince Phane will stop at nothing to lay claim to the Stone and with it the world.
Mindbender, book three:
War has erupted across the Seven Isles. Alexander has recovered the Sovereign Stone, and much to his surprise, it has bonded to him, revealing the truth of his bloodline and his duty. He is the Seventh Sovereign of the Seven Isles and champion of the Old Law. Fleeing the wrath of Prince Phane, Alexander has traveled through the Reishi Gate to Ithilian in search of an alliance, only to discover that Ithilian is facing the threat of invasion as well. Alexander struggles to bring the army of Ithilian to his aid while secretly searching for information about his unique magical calling, information that he desperately needs if he is to have any chance against Phane. What he finds is beyond anything he imagined.
©2011 David A. Wells (P)2015 Podium Publishing
It's overall an average series so far. It wasn't bad enough to stop listening, and if you are going on a long journey then this would keep you mildly entertained. That aside I wouldn't really recommend this...There are better things out there.
So first 3 books...51 hours, and I'm pretty ambivalent to most of the characters so I'd say utilisation of character connection is lacking, or even the world building. It's interesting but it doesn't really stand out to other things I've read. There are moments that are really, really interesting, and I was like "Yeah! This is cool!" ...The first time they happen... Book 1 and 2 are pretty repetitive, and it actually pissed me off a bit towards the end.
Book three picks everything up a bit and I'd give that 3 1/2 stars on it's own. I think the writing does improve, or perhaps I've just got used to it? But more than that I actually started to care about the characters and think they were kinda cool.
This book was a little hard to get into over the first 5-8 hours. I found the narrator a little flat and seemed to remind me of the shipping forecast. after that and definitely into the second book i felt that it flowed a lot better, part of this opinion may of been from me coming straight into this from a 8 book series.
the first two books are written mainly from the perspective of the main character and the other characters are explored through his perspective or narration. this changes slightly in the third book where you have whole chapters away from the main character.
This set of books is very neat and leaves each sub story fully answered which i found a nice change from the cliff hanger and uncompleted sub-plots of many books nowadays, its simplicity was refreshing and I enjoyed it very much. I have purchased the entire series and am looking forward to finishing.
The story is gripping. The delivery flawless and I tried to slow down the listening only to prolong the end. I look forward to the next installment and highly recommend this to be and seasoned fans of fantasy writings.
Nice characters, fast enough pace to the story, and the author has a really nice style of writing.
I'd listen to Derek Perkins read the phone book, for me one of the reasons I picked this series... he's the man...
I would very much recommend this series of books
That I did't have to buy 3 book ,as it was an omnibus.
I liked all the charters, and how their story lines wove in and out the book.
He was very good at bring each charter to life. with different voices for each. It really helped me imagine what they would look like.
Griping from start to finish.
If you liked this series of books then you will enjoy, The Cycle of Galand Book 1The Red Sea
and book 2 The Silver Thief By Edward W Robertson. Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds.
Not a bad audiobook by any means, but nothing special either. The story is fairly average with nothing to particularly wow you and a few things strain belief (eg the love story between Alexander and Isabelle moves too swiftly for my tastes - a few days of knowing each other and it's true love, which is a bit hackneyed if you ask me).
The performance is fairly good and lifts it somewhat; it's well performed and it's only real drawback is that sometimes the voices Mr Perkins uses for the characters can sound alike, but in all fairness not everyone has a massive vocal range on which to draw so this can't really be considered a negative. Only real negative I can think of with regards to the narrator is that his choice of voice for the character Chloe is a touch grating, although that's more personal taste than a failure on his part I guess.
Overall, while I wouldn't recommend it to a friend unasked, I wouldn't dissuade them from listening to it if asked about it. It's also enjoyable enough that I wouldn't be opposed to listening to the subsequent entries in the series. Overall I'd say the audiobook is about a 3.5/5.
Fantastic story and clever characters, author seems to feel that readers/ listeners won't get simple facts, theory or strategy as subjects are repeated about three or four times with slight variation over a five minute period. Also main protagonist does a lot of pointless philosophical thinking at the strangest of moments . Apart from these minor points it's well written and engaging
The story following Alexander is at its core emotional. Gaining an attachment to each character no matter how little a role they play. Listening to the ups and downs of the journey can take you from exhilarating highs and then in an instance throw your emotions asunder, giving you pause and fear for the characters you have come to love. Derek Perkins gives each character their own voice to each character helping fuse that emotional bond you have with the characters to your soul.
"A Poor Man's 'Sword of Truth'"
I would not have purchased this without the 3 book bundle, but I'm glad I did in most ways. It is a good series, but having read the Sword of Truth series the similarities are unavoidable. SoT is much better to me because it provoked more thought and held my attention and was usually pleasantly surprised by the conclusions (except for the last book Confessor. Don't get me started on that....) but this series never gripped me in the same way and was going through the motions instead of keeping me interested.
"Could Use an Editor and a Thesaurus"
Some spoilers ahead, though not many. I'm actively trying to avoid that.
Derek Perkins went a long way to helping me make it through this story. I will definitely listen to him again.
The work, on the other hand, is very unrefined. A solid edit could probably cut a lot from this book and make it much more enjoyable, rather than feel like a task to finish.
Many terms were used and reused.
World of Time and Substance
He said to no one in particular
Sea of Infinite Possibility
The list goes on. Change this kind of repetition up or it really impacts the story.
Also, the characters, with one exception, were extremely flat. Very black and white, good and evil. I was able to tell whether someone would be with the hero or an unforgivable villain from just their job title. That doesn't make for a compelling story.
Not a scene, per say. But the concept of magic in this novel was good. Given polish to the rest of the book, that concept could have even been great.
About 30% of the overall length. An editor could be used to trim down a lot of portions of this work without impacting the story. If you're familiar with the term "Chekhov's Gun", this book breaks that a lot. Taking out just those points would help the length.
Three last comments.
First, there was definite improvement by the third book. Still not great, but it earned the rating it's second star.
Second, the conservative notes are a little ham fisted. Every "petty" noble and bureaucrat is horrible. Central government is bad, an odd idea for a book about reestablishing a long dead monarchy. You can be a conservative author, but not every union member is a vile person. Not every noble is a slime bag. And red tape is not worse than torture.
Finally, the piece in the third book about how women use magic is a touch sexist. Women are too emotional to detach from their feelings? Was that needed?
I know my words might seem quite harsh, but I forced myself to listen to this entire work to write this. Then I took a couple weeks before I wrote this blurb. Trust me, some harsh criticism is needed here.
"Predictable, repetitive and full of clichés"
I'm finding it hard to say anything positive about the Seven Isles. There doesn't seem to be a fantasy/D&D trope or cliché that wasn't used in this book. All characters are completely black and white, and don't deviate a bit from the expected stereotypes. The main character can even see with their mage-sight if people are good or evil (and there's rarely anything between the two extremes). There also seems to be little reason why people act as they do, except, well, because they're either good or evil.
Storyline is pretty linear, Alexander keeps running around doing things they need to do to advance their quest. There is plenty of action, but any tension feels ruined by how perfectly things always turn out. The hero of the story seems to only ever make mistakes, so he can thoughtfully reflect on how not-quite-perfect he still is. And naturally, the main characters will always be saved at the very last moment, often multiple times during the same fight and after an interposed explanation of how dire their situation is. If someone does get hurt in the course of a battle, hey, there's a magic potion or a salve that will heal them instantly. And the bad guys, unless they're supernatural and highly impervious to damage, they're all felled with a single blow from the weapon/projectile of choice.
This title does have a few redeeming qualities, though. The story keeps on (mostly) chugging along at a good pace. Magic system has some flavour, there were some actually interesting moments in the story and the narrator is very good.
If you want to read a story of how a good hero defeats an evil wizard, triumphing in each challenge put before them, do get this book. If you're instead seeking for some depth in the characters or unexpected twists in the plot, turn the other way.
I regret buying. Plenty of content, but very basic writing skills. Won't finish the series.
"Repetitive in spots. Got better as it went on."
The first book was extremely repetitive but it did get better as it went on. Debating on following up with listening to book 4, not sure if it's worth the audible credit.
Awesome story and narration.
couldn't put it down.
Scrambling to find the next book in the series.
"These three are good... but before you jump in..."
These three books would have been a solid 4 stars if Wells had wrapped up the storyline in a trilogy... but he didn't. I left my review at 3 stars but before you jump in I'd warn you to avoid the series if you're picky like me. I've abandoned the series after the fourth book because the story has so many vast huge fundamental problems that I just can't get over it. I still want to know what happens to the characters because I like them... but those characters are being whipped around by so many frustrating and obvious 'editor should have caught this' problems that I just can't continue.
One of the biggest problems is that the protagonist is so powerful that he's got to be an idiot to just not win the war easily. Example (spoiler) - he has the ability to create illusions... and creates a fog bank to hide a ship from enemies (instead of just making his ship invisible... which he can also do). When a rival mage (while mages are SUPER rare and can no longer be created... the enemy has so many that they can have not one but TWO on blockade duty). Anyway... the bad mage dispels the fog bank and instead of just continuing to cast various illusions he ends up doing a bunch of STUPID things that result in a big battle (which was obviously where the author needed him to go). He can use his power to reconnoiter anyplace in the world... but instead of checking for lurking enemies prior to a battle (reclaiming the dragon egg) he just stomps into the room and is then surprised by a bunch of additional bad guys.
These major problems crop up again and again and again. His wife is being turned evil by a bad spell... but the spell requires a connection to a demon that can be broken by putting her in his mages den, instead of just having her stay in there until he has a cure he keeps her with him so she's virtually guaranteed to have to go down the 'turned evil' plot path. I feel a bit bad for him... the fundamental problem is that he spent the first three book making the good guys VERY powerful, but instead of letting them use that power to take out the bad guys in those 3 books he's milking the series so he needs them to get into trouble again and again, which would be hard to do if they were smart. Then there's the other huge problem of the endless series... nobody dies. Well... a LOT of people die, but no bad guys die, no good guys die... nobody that matters dies. At the end of the fourth book a bad guy was cut in half... and I laughed because I KNEW he would make a miraculous recovery... which he did. Anyway... if that sort of thing bugs you then don't get sucked in by reading the first 3 books.
"It's a lie."
It is a lie. It is not an omnibus. Audible lies in telling you it is. It is not "all" of the series. Research the series outside of Audible before you buy.
Many series do have a legitimate trilogy, and then subsequent books and series on the same characters. The first three books in this series are not a coherent story. I should have done research outside of Audible first.
No. The books should be classified as Juvenile, and not very good even at that. Not good enough to bother buying any more of the series, or anything else by David Wells.
Very pedestrian writing style. Flat characters, generic predictable plot, and the details of the story are inconsistent and not believable. David Wells need to learn what “suspension of disbelief” is and why it is important for any fiction author, even more in fantasy.
There is no “system” of magic. It is just random unexplainable powers, even to its practitioners. Any good fantasy book using much magic, has to have a system behind it to separate it from just random superstition. Even the Harry Potter series does this.
Christopher Paolini does a great job in every area where David Wells fails. I thoroughly enjoyed the Eragon series even as an adult. David Well’s books I wouldn’t even recommend to my kids (who love Brandon Sanderson’s work).
Derek Perkins is a decent narrator, and I have listened to several other of his readings. Most of my complaints about the narration are technically the producer’s fault, not Perkins’. He misreads a larger than average amount of words. At least learn a few things about nautical terminology, please.
The entire premise of the series is rather pedestrian, but tolerable if done well. The writing is shallow and falls flat. Unfortunately I think every scene in the series would need to be rewritten.
Audible’s new “Omnibus” releases are all lies. Not a single one of them I have yet found is a legitimate omnibus. They deceive you into buying part of a series.
"Excellent in every regard!"
Listened long into the night, every night. Couldn't wait to continue with the story and I will.
"Easy to follow storyline Books 1 - 3"
I enjoyed the story the performance. But the author might consider employing a thesaurus. Once he used an adjective it was used constantly, ad nauseam.
Two of the characters communicate telepathically which the author described as "in his/her head" every time they "talked" to each other and they talked a lot. There are many other ways to communicate that medium to avoid redundancy. That phrase ran consistently throughout all three books. If I hadn't enjoyed the story so much I would have stopped reading by the middle of the second book. It seems to me that once, perhaps twice per book, their mode of discussion would suffice.
There was a segment containing a sexual encounter which seemed inconsistent with the rest of the book. It was an important part of the story because it not only introduced a new character but also explained her role and position but I felt assaulted by it. At one moment I was listening to a delightful fairytale then, suddenly, I was listening to a rather harsh, inappropriate encounter Again, a thesaurus might have been beneficial.
I'm on the fence, undecided, open to discussing pros and cons, undetermined and unresolved about reading the rest of the books in this series.
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