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  • Paths of Alir

  • A Pattern of Shadow and Light, Book 3
  • By: Melissa McPhail
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 34 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 268
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 260
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 260

Powerful beings from the fringes of Chaos have come to the realm of Alorin. Fate bends to their will, and their will is set upon Alorin's destruction. Alone in understanding the threat they pose, Alorin's Fifth Vestal, Björn val Gelderan, has launched a desperate plan to stop them: a "great game" played upon the tapestry of mortal life. Now, in Paths of Alir, Björn's Players have taken the field.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An exceptional book

  • By Chris on 03-02-17

Melodramatic, whiny and poorly executed

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 26-09-18

I made the silly mistake of buying this whole series of books based on reviews and the length of each book represented pretty good value for money.

It’s only that investment and a rather dogged stubbornness that has gotten me this far but now, 2.5 books in, I have to admit defeat. It’s rare that I’ll stop reading a book series having gotten this far in but the adolescent writing style and cartoonish narration have finally beaten me into submission.

It takes a truly amazing writing talent to take every strong, heroic character who is introduced in the book and turn them into a snivelling, whiny caricatures of themselves. And Nick Podehl’s nasal, clumsy narration only exacerbates the situation.

It’s a shame as the fundamental plot is rather fun and a few good characters do provide some light relief from this maelstrom of pathetic shadows of heroism but I give up, I can’t listen to another word and I’m off to find something to listen to that doesn’t make we want to strangle the author!

  • The Dagger of Adendigaeth

  • A Pattern of Shadow and Light, Book 2
  • By: Melissa McPhail
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 29 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 141
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 143

At long last, the reason for the blessed Adept race's decline has been discovered: powerful beings known as Malorin'athgul are disrupting the Balance and preventing Alorin's Adepts from awakening to their gifts. Who are they? Where are they? And how can they be stopped when they wield a power meant to unmake the universe itself? In T'khendar, Prince Ean val Lorian has forsaken his companions in blood and battle to join the traitorous Fifth Vestal in T'khendar in the hopes of gaining some insight into the tragedies that plagued his return.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great world, clunky writing

  • By Rachel Langley on 07-02-17

Good plot fundamentals, poor execution

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-09-18

I’ve found listening to this book very frustrating. Underlying the series is an interesting, intricate plot set in world rich in magic and dragons, powerful races and a variety of cultures which keeps you wanting to read more.

The execution of too much of the book is, however, adolescent, clumsy and derivative. The characters are shallow stereotypes without the intricacies of human nature that keep things interesting. The descriptions of emotions from love to lust, from hatred to self-depreciation and all of the more extreme emotions are handled with all of the sensitivity of a weepy, naive 15 year old and the total lack of creativity with regards to the languages of the races, instead using French, Italian etc and grammatically incorrectly at that, is disappointing to say the least.

All of this contributes to the narration of the story being clumsy. The lack of character nuance leads to the different people you meet being presented by the narrator as bloated caricatures of themselves, tending to the whiny and overly dramatic and gives the reading a cartoonish feel

Oh, and for pity’s sake, PLEASE learn some synonyms for “gaze”

When you’ve exhausted the other fine fantasy readings on here (Brandon Sanderson for example) then listen to these but not before

  • Cephrael's Hand

  • A Pattern of Shadow and Light, Book 1
  • By: Melissa McPhail
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 32 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 237
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 229
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 229

In Alorin...300 years after the genocidal Adept Wars, the realm is dying, and the blessed Adept race dies with it. One man holds the secret to reverting this decline: Bjorn van Gelderan, a dangerous and enigmatic man whose shocking betrayal three centuries past earned him a traitor's brand. It is the Adept Vestal Raine D'Lacourte's mission to learn what Bjorn knows in the hope of salvaging his race. But first he'll have to find him....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Massive!

  • By Patrick on 22-12-16

Both fun and yet not!!!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-08-18

I found listening to this book both rewarding and frustrating at the same time. On one hand, you have an interesting world with basically relatable (if a little overly zealous, pious and unrealistic) male characters, a nice interweaving of plot lines and a fun if a little formulaic narration style. On the other, you have lazy creativity, particularly around names, languages etc which use French and Arabic words amongst others rather than creating unique races and traits.

However, I could easily have glossed over these details and just given a positive all round review if it weren’t for the clumsy, adolescent handling of the female characters and anything resembling romance or lustful behaviours. It seems to me that the writer has very limited experience of both romantic encounters with women or strong female influences in his life. As such, the female characters are weak and formulaic - being either simpering idiots, obsessed with the approval and heroic masculinity of the male characters or bitter shrews with a lovely, sweet girl hidden deep...... And the painful, vomit-worthy descriptions of love and lust could come straight from the mind of a frustrated 15 year old who has yet to experience them first hand.

Finally, the narration whilst great for the male characters is read by a good reader with a nasal style of speech which makes the already whiny female characters sound unbearably whiny!

It’s a real shame, I’m a huge reader and listener of this style of fiction and the bones of what is here has a lot of potential, I just wish his writing wasn’t so stereotyped. That said, it’s fun enough that I’ll certainly continue listening to the series and will just keep the sick bag close at hand.

  • The Society of the Sword Trilogy

  • By: Duncan M. Hamilton
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 31 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,349
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,264
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,260

When Soren is plucked from the streets and given a place at the prestigious academy of swordsmanship, he thinks his dream of being a great swordsman has become a possibility. However, with great intrigues unfolding all around him, Soren discovers that he is little more than a pawn to the ambitions of others.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Took a chance on a new author and....

  • By Graham on 27-11-17

Truly mediocre writing but still quite fun

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-05-18

Barring a few expletives and the odd gruesome death, I would have assumed that this book had been written for children. The storyline is unbelievably simple in a truly derivative style and is so predictable that lovers of twists and intrigue shouldn’t even start this book. Character exposition is nearly non existent and a total lack of story detail means that you are never able to immerse yourself in their world.

That said, it’s banal, simple entertainment and if you want something that won’t tax your mind and if you lose concentration for a few minutes, you won’t miss anything then over 30 hours of listening for one credit isn’t horrible.

Overall, I would say don’t bother and use the credit on someone like Brandon Sanderson or Edward W Robinson which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

  • Malice

  • The Faithful and Fallen, Book 1
  • By: John Gwynne
  • Narrated by: Damian Lynch
  • Length: 23 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 321
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 303
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 300

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage. The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unexpected pleasure!

  • By Damion Foncette on 21-07-15

Great fun story, amateur performance

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-01-17

Such a shame for such a good, engaging book to be read by someone who doesn't seem to understand natural flow of human conversation. A very staccato, hesitant rendition with unnatural meter and no real thought to accents and how they may work together with bad Australian and South African efforts in a kingdom where travel doesn't go as far as boats! Frustrating but the book keeps me interested.

  • The Providence of Fire

  • By: Brian Staveley
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 24 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 908
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 838
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 837

Having learned the identity of her father's assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. Few trust her, but when she is believed to be touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire, the people rally to help her retake the capital city. As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion from barbarian hordes compels the rival forces to unite against their common enemy.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good story but....

  • By P. Harvey-Field on 28-04-16

it's good........ but.....

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-12-16

it's a fun book no doubt but it just doesn't have the polish or humanity of the greats. the main characters are a bit petulant, not overly bright and somewhat clichéd. the writing style is overly melodramatic and contains very little of the levity and humour that makes for real human interaction and draws you to them. and it's just a little predictable, the so-called twists don't twist very far. don't get me wrong, I'll listen to all three parts and I'm sure I won't regret it but it would never be revisited in future.

  • The Wise Man's Fear

  • The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 2
  • By: Patrick Rothfuss
  • Narrated by: Rupert Degas
  • Length: 42 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 8,237
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,344
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 7,331

Sequel to the extraordinary The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear is the second instalment of this superb fantasy trilogy from Patrick Rothfuss. This is the most exciting fantasy series since George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and a must for all fans of HBO's Game of Thrones.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The problem with a trilogy....

  • By Robyn on 09-01-14

slow, directionless and petulant.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-06-16

I struggled through the first book based on the ratings of others, assuming that the whiney, petulant "hero" would grow out of his childishness and take us on a fun adventure in this second book. boy was I wrong! the story moves so slowly, achieves nothing in the way of interesting climax and the hero becomes if anything more petulant, melodramatic, self centred and down right annoying. even in the parts where the story does gain some momentum and you start to forgive, just as it gets going, Mr whiney pants comes back to haunt us. "oh I'm a poor little musician, I'm special, look at me, look at me!!!" blah

  • The Name of the Wind

  • The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 1
  • By: Patrick Rothfuss
  • Narrated by: Rupert Degas
  • Length: 28 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 9,957
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,764
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,750

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the university at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent!

  • By Robyn on 31-01-13

fun story but overly dramatic

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-05-16

A fun, well written story with enough to get me back for book 2. however, any story that makes the main character seem like a whiney, petulant little princess on far too many occasions never really appeals. I'm hoping that his "legend" will lead to a more entertaining read in further books. unsure of the narrator as well and feel his overly dramatic reading also contributed negatively to my view on this.