For once, book 2 is better than book 1. This book picks up directly after the end of book 1 and has more POVs than the first. I found this a bit irrit..Show More »ating - just as things are getting interesting with one character, we switch to another. There's just as much murder and mayhem (more, actually) and the story whirls in directions I could not have guessed at.
We also get more info about the evil that threatens from the Valerian empire, the implosion of one faith and the the growth of dogma of another. It's impossible not to draw some parallels with the religions that plague our world.
Some character development didn't make sense to me. We meet Reeva when she hunts Valen to kill him. She's a surly, fanatical pain in the arse while Valen trains her. Then, with very little transition, she becomes a brave, upstanding member of a family. Odd.
The book is good. The narrator, though, is poor. There is no character depiction of voice, tone, accent like an audiobook should have. He simply reads, all voices the same, gender, background, social heirachy. It's disappointing, to say the lease.
Note- slight spoiler alert - in the last paragraph.
I really struggled with how to score this book. I just felt so neutral about it (hence t..Show More »he "Bland" headline for my review). Was it me being easily distracted? Was my listening interrupted too frequently that I never really got into it? Have I been overly spoiled by a previous Sanderson listen? To check I wasn’t being too harsh, I had a quick read of other reviews…. and relief, I’m not going insane or becoming overly picky.
Overall, I gave it 3/5, partly out of respect for the first book, which I really did enjoy. The second book lost it a little, but there was a promise of more to come. This third book has left me feeling flat.
I still like the idea of the story and the “magic”, but the execution felt muddled. Yes, the story continues, but there are so many new characters and so many more random threads, that it all just feels a little disjointed. It's completely lost the excitement and anticipation of book one. Unfortunately, the narration does nothing to help improve this sense. There is absolutely no character differentiation, and despite concentrating and re-listening to certain paragraphs, there was still doubt as to who actually said or did what. Also, either I've got wool in my ears, or some of the character names are so similar sounding as to seem the same person......adding to my confusion of who was where and who did what - maybe I wasn't concentrating properly? Unfortunately, the narration completely detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book. And, as an aside, I find it really annoying when characters (even armies) can be at opposite ends of the world, yet spin their horses around and apparently cross from the Arctic to the Sahara (or equivalent) in a couple of days....naturally turning up on time at the requisite location to help save the day. That's just too convenient.
Bottom line – try reading this one rather than listening to it. You may enjoy the written word more than the spoken one.
As for the ending? Again, I was left feeling completely flat about it; neither neatly tied up, nor with sufficient loose threads to keep me guessing or interested. It was almost a relief to have it end. My final thoughts of what should have been a great series were “so the boy doesn’t get the girl and the cat died”. Hardly a great sense of closure.