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The Ember Blade

The Darkwater Legacy
Narrated by: Simon Bubb
Series: The Darkwater Legacy, Book 1
Length: 30 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (174 ratings)

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Summary

A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man's journey to find his destiny.  

Aren has lived by the rules all his life. He's never questioned it; that's just the way things are. But then his father is executed for treason, and he and his best friend, Cade, are thrown into a prison mine, doomed to work until they drop. Unless they can somehow break free.... 

But what lies beyond the prison walls is more terrifying still. Rescued by a man who hates him yet is oath-bound to protect him, pursued by inhuman forces, Aren slowly accepts that everything he knew about his world was a lie. The rules are not there to protect him or his people but to enslave them. A revolution is brewing, and Aren is being drawn into it, whether he likes it or not.  

The key to the revolution is the Ember Blade. The sword of kings, the Excalibur of his people. Only with the Ember Blade in hand can their people be inspired to rise up...but it's locked in an impenetrable vault in the most heavily guarded fortress in the land.  

All they have to do now is steal it....

Read by Simon Bubb.

©2018 Chris Wooding (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not great..

I don't know what rating to give this. I think I'm going to cry. I'm 20 hours in and STILL nothing worthwhile has happened. Sure there was a little action interspersed with stupidity and drama, but nothing meaningful or unique. And until they escaped you know where, I felt like the victim of a prank. What's the point of fantasy if you're not going to explore new ideas?

I have a sinking feeling that this book is just some exposition to a "grander story". It's taking me longer to finish it than it normally would because it's all pretty boring. Doing nothing and staring into empty space is more interesting, so I found myself pausing the audiobook without a reason and without thinking.

I'm wasting time writing a review I'm going to replace because useless work feels more rewarding than listening to this.

I'll give it credit where it's due. The world building is pretty extensive from a historical and mythological perspective. Everything else is just normal with a tiny bit of the occasional magic.

Three of the main characters are interesting enough, so there are people to care about. The two MAIN protagonists are the means that complicates the plot because they do stupid things one after another.

In a way, the story was well thought out, I think, but it's light in substance and heavy on sentimental detail.

It boggles my mind that the other reviews are so positive. It's nowhere near as entertaining as almost anything else I've read and there's no message because there isn't an ounce of originality. It's just a detailed story about heroism and rebellion and a vague end-of-the-world prophecy that nobody seems to care about.

The story is like a constant tease. It has so much potential that at any point a better writer could turn it into something great. The setting is ready for something meaningful to happen, but it just stretches and stretches and stretches. And there are so many POVs about mundane internal struggles that it's slowing everything down even more. Entire character arcs could have happened in the background. How much did I really need to know about that wife and her sick child? A few chapters? Am I going to start caring about that supporting character just because I know his struggles? Everyone has their struggles, I get it.

Audiobooks I liked less: The Stone Man, 1984, Dune, Mythos, The Iliad. Out of about 80.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved this book!

I have to be honest the first 4 hours of this book were a little bit of a struggle for me but my goodness the remainder of this book did not disappoint, I couldn’t stop listening. Everything I look for in epic fantasy. Adventure, twists, revenge and even heart ache. I cannot wait for book 2!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Quick 30 Hours!

I really enjoyed this book. Some long stories can drag, but this was a real page turner. The characters were believable and narration superb. Surely there must be another to follow - the scene is set. It was sad to reach the end.
Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic

Can’t wait for the next Book. Love the story and the voice. I think Grubb is wonderful.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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My favourite audio book of the year so far

This was a fantastic listen, I loved the characters Grub being my favourite. Great world building and looking forward to the next instalment. The narrator was brilliant!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Rachel
  • Dromahair, Ireland
  • 08-02-19

Good fun

I enjoyed this fantasy. It is good-humoured and very visual (I can really see some of the adventures clearly in my mind's eye). Although the characters are a bit cliched they are rounded enough to care about and Simon Bubb's narrating certainly helped to make them seem more three dimensional. The story is exciting and well-paced with some good set pieces. The character of Aren did develop and mature through the book, although his friend Kale is a bit of a Sam Gamgee. I wonder if I've made this book sound dumb? It was certainly enjoyable for me and I will be listening to the next one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Really Disappointing!

I listened and read Chris Wooding's Tales of the ketty Jay series and loved them. Found this book and thought "YES."
How wrong I was. The story is so boring, the characters have no charisma and some of the humour is cringe. I had a real problem with the Narrator as well - It really annoyes me when a narrator keeps their own voice for the main character. It makes it difficult to distinguish a difference from narration to dialogue. Although the dialogue is 'Captain obvious!' I got to Chapter 77 and gave up. I thought "just see it through, I need to find out the ending at least." Then I realised that I don't care about this book nor the ending. I can't believe that this is the same author who wrote the Ketty Jay series. Will definitely be returning this one Audible! I want my Credit back.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Gave up 10.5hrs in

The narrator has a distracting stilted rhythm but improves a few hours in. However 10.5hrs (a mere half way) in to this long winded tale where not much had happened, I felt uninvested and unexcited by the characters or plot and decided to call it a day.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I love his books but this....

I don't know where to start.

I love the Ketty Jay series. It's in my top five favourite series.

If you were hoping for a similarly good series in this book I'm afraid to say you may be better spending time elsewhere.

it may have been the narrator with over characterised accents etc but I think it's deeper than that.

For a book this long it has no sense of detail or any real substance to the world Wooding is trying to build. It perks up towards the end, but one and two are horribly slow and leaves the characters you like least and moves away from the interesting ones.

If you like hearing people's inner monologues you'll love this book however. As the perspective changes haphazardly from character to character in uneven bouts we get to hear every uninteresting thought that passes through their head, every worry, contradiction etc etc. Most times I feel like paragraphs could have ended sentences ago and the story would have been much more involving for the reader. It's nice to have a little mystery in characters. All of these are splayed out like Christ on a cross.

Another note to make, and I'm not being over the top because I fully understand stories have overlapping themes, conventions and plot tools, but this book is like a Frankenstein of all the best major epics. LOTRs clearly is one of the main contributing factors amongst others too numarable to mention. Whether this is intentional homage or just inspiration working it's way in, you notice it a lot in what are the most climatic parts of the book.

I will read the next one, maybe Wooding needs more time to get into it. But this is no where near as creative, fun or engaging as Retribution Falls.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing in places

A really good tale with a great variety of characters, but most of the characters lack depth, and up all being very similar, and there are places where they are used for narrative rather than true to themselves.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-05-19

I cried at the end of this damn thing.

title says it all doesn't it. I read close to 36 fantasy novels each year, between audible and paper. Yes the narrator doesn't do this thing justice, as most of these comments I originally saw before I purchased this thing said. But Chris Wooding has done something amazing here. Do not let a few negative reviews based on narration rob you of the incredible book this truly is. I'm looking forward to book 2 of this series more than im looking forward to book 3 of the KingKiller Chronicles. For those of you enthusiasts of the fantasy genre, you know how big a statement that is. I don't take much time to review books, due in part because this is reducing my reading time, but I wanted to review this one. if you turn down the opportunity of reading this book because of a few negative reviews you're robbing yourself as I almost did. Yes the narration leaves something to be desired, but the book is marvelous.

81 of 83 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gregg
  • 21-03-19

Fantastic Fantasy Fiction

I was hesitant to purchase this as it sounded like the same old trope... the hero's journey boy thrust into the world unawares... But I was pleasantly surprised. The story is compelling, the caricatures refreshingly flushed out and the plot consistent. My only complaint is...

Part 2 is not yet available.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathon Mason
  • 24-04-19

Interesting story but horrible narration

Like the title says the narration was one of the worst I've seen on audible. A distinct lack of emotion when clearly the scene was boiling with it. Two characters could be arguing or yelling during a high stress situation and the narrator would never change the tone of his voice. He did make an effort to have different voices for different characters so for that I didn't give him a 1 star. The story in the other hand is fairly good. Predictably but good.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Colin E.
  • 27-06-19

Fantastic!!!

I don't know what other reviewer's who said they didn't like the narrator are talking about. I almost wonder if they are getting paid to post a bad review. I actually do voiceover work and I am a huge fan of Michael Kramer and this narrator was fantastic. Subtle and nuanced at times yes, but overall very very good. The story, the performance, everything I thoroughly enjoyed!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Royal
  • 07-02-19

Lame beginning.... great ending

Great study on betrayel, bad governments, as well as resistance. I couldn’t finish a book for what seems like forever...... and now I finished this one good stuff!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • @tone0189
  • 08-10-18

Complex Characters.

I was pleasantly surprised that despite the book following a typical narrative the characters are complex and compelling. All their motivations are diverse and feel real. No two dimensional characters.

If you enjoy coming of age fantasy with compelling characters with complex motivations the I recommend the book.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Zach Miller
  • 20-06-19

My new favorite book.

Before spending a credit on this book I read a review from a fellow audiobook enthusiast who said that they were anticipating the 2nd book in the series more so than the 3rd installation of the Kingkiller Chronicles. I was very skeptical as Kvothe was my favorite fantasy character of all time. Notice that I said "was". Grubb is my new hero of choice. As I have just finished The Ember Blade, I am still exalting in its greatness. The storyline was fantastic, characters are believable, and the plotline wasn't as predictable as the summary outline made it out to be. I will be buying this book in Hard Cover to add to my already full bookshelf. I cannot praise this book enough. Please do yourself a favor and purchase this audiobook. My only regret is that I finished this 30 hour title in 3 days, I couldn't stop listening. As far as the narration goes, it is not bad. I have finished books with worse voice acting and worse story lines. He is no Michael Kramer but he is a burgeoning talent that will no doubt continue to improve as the series goes on.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LindaP
  • 15-06-19

If you like classic fantàsy READ this Book

I listen to audio books all the time. I think this is the second time I have written a review. This book could do with one more edit. Some passages are a little long. Having said that, I loved it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marcus Swift
  • 14-06-19

Thuroughly Enjoyable

Just a quick comment to say unlike some of the reviewers I liked the narration. Or at least I didn’t hate it. Story was well paced. Good character development. Interesting and relatable world. Well worth the credit

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alen
  • 26-12-18

sword and sorcery story with some unexpected turns

sword and sorcery story with some unexpected turns, pleasant read and characters are developing nicely

2 of 2 people found this review helpful