I picked it up because all reviews rave about how Luke Scull is the "new Abercrombie"... and I thoroughly disagree!
I mean, sure, it's gritt..Show More »y, dark fantasy with some political intrigue and some not-entirely-unexpected plot twists, but the similarities end there for me:
1. Writing style: I cringed at all the clumsily presented exposition: do characters really need to flap their mouths all the time telling each other stories and plot elements that they should all be familiar with, just because the author didn't find any more inventive way of informing the reader? (also, do we really need a painstaking physical description of every character as they enter the scene? HINT: no). Dialogue in general feels forced and unnatural, again more like the author talking to the reader than the characters talking among themselves.
Also, the characters' vocabulary is all over the place, switching from low-class to high-brow with no sense of continuity; thesaurus abuse is also evident in the use of "erudite" words such as "coruscation".
2. Characterization: I guess the author tried to break some clichés, but in my opinion tried too hard... the characters feel more like a collection of quirks with a backstory than actual living beings, and their reactions to events feel awkward and forced, as if you could see the Plot holding every character's strings and forcing them forward (the ridiculous battle and ensuing dialogue with the Shaman at the end of the book comes to mind).
3. World-building: nothing earth-shatteringly new in the setting (mage wars, magic fading away, ancient evils emerging...), so I will simply give this a pass and see what the author comes up with to tighten it up in the future.
Finally, about the voice acting:
I had quite liked Joe Jameson' interpretation of "Prince of Thorns" by Mark Lawrence, and I was expecting more of the same; instead, I found the delivery quite stilted and weak, and the voices unsuited to the characters at times (especially women).