Do you have the courage, the wits, and the skill to claim a dragon's hoard? If so, apply within . . . The sign is small, tucked into the corner of Mr. Clutter's bookshop window: “Adventurers Wanted. Apply Within.” No one but fifteen-year-old Alex Taylor even seems to notice it is there. And for Alex, who has wished for a change in his life, it is an irresistible invitation.Upon entering Mr. Clutter's shop, Alex is swept away on an incredible adventure to a faraway land filled with heroic warriors, mysterious elves, and hard-working dwarves. Alex becomes the eighth man in a band of adventurers seeking the lair of Slathbog the Red - an evil dragon with a legendary treasure. Along the way, Alex and his new friends must battle dangerous trolls and bandits, face undead wraiths, and seek the wisdom of the Oracle in her White Tower. Alex's adventure takes him to distant and exotic lands where he learns about courage, integrity, honor, and, most importantly, friendship.
©2009 M. L. Forman (P)2009 Shadow Mountain
"The beginning of an epic fantasy series." (Library Journal)
"Entertaining ... The series potential is limitless." (Booklist)
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We picked this book up in a bookstore for my 11 year old son and after he read this one and the next in the series, I asked how he liked them...his faced lit up and he went on and on about magic and elves, swords and wizards. I love a good fantasy novel, so I decided to give it a try on Audible. Wow! Great story, great performance! EB Stevens did a fantastic job of mixing different accents, octaves, and tones to make each character their own. Well done and highly recommend it to anyone!
"Great book for all ages. Hard to put down"
This is a book that is great for kids and adults. I really enjoyed it and it was very well put together. Already 3/4 down with book 2 and it is as good as the first one.
Alex Taylor is a must for the best characters. He has honor without measure.
No first time I have listened to E.B. Steven's but will keep listening to him going forward.
Yes the way the world was built with the limits on magic and adventures was great.
"Thrilling and kept me looking forward to the next"
Yes, To look for anything I missed the first time.
The lead character Alex
Yes, He has a lot of diversity
No, Just kept me engaged for hours.
"This was one great book very fun and upbeat"
Yes the narrator did a spot on job he was great loved the audiobook was just wonderful
The whole book was good can't pick just one
Brings it to life
"Transparent story, but entertaining just the same."
Overall the series was entertaining and fun. It was well performed and easy to follow.
I did not realize when I bought the series that it was tagged for teens. I bought it under the Fantasy Genre and it was obvious fairly quickly that the book was not going to be thrilling and challenging. It was entertaining. But there were some very big mechanical problems with the Adventurer's Bags in particular. They were extremely overpowered and underutilized. Plus there would have been some great opportunities to use the bags that were never realized. Plus, Alex gained far too much power too quickly and then obvious magical solutions were overlooked in lieu of mundane plots.
I know that some of this is just trying to keep it simple for the teen market, but some was just bad planning and plotting on the Author's part.
Overall it was fun and upbeat and I don't regret giving it a listen, but it is no WoT or GoT.
"A Great Adventure!"
My teen kids and I really enjoy this genre, and this book didn't disappoint us! We can't wait to hear the next book in the series. Narration was very good, and the story line was well thought out and exciting. Plenty of foreshadowing to future events, I've already bought the next two books in the series!
"Most likely derived from a D&D campaign"
This book might be satisfying to the most novice of readers. The story does not maintain tension for more than a few paragraphs at a time. All the characters in the party are affable and forgiving.
I sampled the story on the basis of its premise: Getting hired out of our world to join an adventuring party. But from the opening scene, the story undermined any chance of suspense or threat to the main characters, and the rest of the story repeatedly failed to provide any tension among them either.
Mr. Stevens did a decent job maintaining identifiable accents for the primary cast. But within minutes of starting the story I had to turn up the playback speed to partially smooth out the constant hitches in his diction. Is this a problem in all his readings? I don't know, but I'm not ready to completely dump him either.
I have no problem with the basic natures of any of the characters. There was a good bit of banter, and I like noble personalities. I just kept wishing that one of the many clever jabs would have provoked a stronger reaction. Something to show that these people have just begun to work together.
If I had to rewrite anyone, it would be the viewpoint character, with the aim of making him the square peg in the round hole.
Everything just goes too well. This book suffers more than anything from an absence of challenge.
And in full disclosure, I only made it through half the book, and that much only due to my listening environment. Even if there was a big twist to come near the end, it is too little, too late.
Sorry, Mr. Forman. I hope these are things you've already improved in the rest of your books.
"A Most Excellent Adventure"
This was an outstand start for M. L. Forman. I bought this book for my kids, 8-16, and when I saw their enthusiam for the story, decided to give it a try. I was very impressed with the pace of the book, a great blend of action, suspense, learning, and all the time character building. This is right up there with some of my favorite teenage fantasies. I liked it much better than the Wheel of Time series. Call me crazy.
If you are looking to start a series, this is a great choice. After just finishing book 4 I find myself hoping the adventure does not end with book 5. Great characters and plots. Full of magic. Now if I could just get one of those magic bags.
The narrator always spoke with an excited breathlessness that was not fun to listen to. He made all the characters chuckle as they spoke even when it was apparent from the writing that the character was a very serious one.
The story was also ridiculously convenient for the main character. No real conflict because he always somehow won out for no reason other than that he is the main character. I am sad that I wasted a credit.
"Almost as fun & adventurous as the written book -"
I liked the story as narrated by E. B. Stevens. He did a very good job with the many different voices. However, as the narrator in-between the different characters his voice became almost hypnotically soft spoken. This caused me to drift off, think of other things, etc. I am happy I had "read" this book before listening to the audio version. I only wish it were Simon Vance who narrated this series.
The tale is still just as fun, adventurous and epic as before. Honor, friendship, camaraderie, choosing between right and wrong, seeking truth, endangering one's self to rescue another, taking responsibility, enjoying fellowship, learning to overcome fears and learning a good book is always a good friend!
"loved it, want more adventures."
great a good adventure with a bit of myth & magic thrown in.
can't wait for more.
wasn't sure to start with when i got it, only got because it was on offer, but glad i did.
if you like Harry potter i'm sure you'll enjoy this book, though it is completely different. .
""Questioned" is not a synonym for "asked"!"
Not used the word "questioned" instead of "asked", or better yet, "said", at every possible opportunity!
Not been so gratuitously derivative of Tolkien that I daren't allow my kids to read it in case they think Tolkien copied Forman (assuming I’m prepared to run the risk of them catching the "questioned" disease, which I'm not).
Not used adjectives instead of adverbs, or better yet, dialogue - rather than writing "he said (questioned!) in an angry tone", write "he said angrily", or preferably have him say something that lets the reader know he's angry!
And finally, the totally flat characters - the protagonist who rapidly develops virtually godlike powers, to the apparent total lack of surprise or envy of any of the other characters, all of whom are wholly interchangeable.
Yes, but it would be despite, and not because of, being a Stevens performance.
The book was mildly entertaining and there were a couple of original and imaginative ideas. I'd try one more in the hope that, having exhausted most of Tolkien's major themes, Forman might find his own voice.
The wooden delivery and entirely gratuitous French, Russian and German accents deserve a special mention - although it strikes me that the narrator was desperately looking for a way to differentiate the many featureless characters.
"Trouble getting to sleep? Listen to this"
Awful plots and irksome characters. The character's are made so unbelievable by the poor performance of the narrator. All the characters voices sounded so identical I had a hard time guessing who was who.
None... All the characters may well have had the same name, because they all sounded the alike. Maybe they were all related, who knows!
An annoying attempt at an Irish accent, that sounds more like a Swedish Jamaican Scott.
I did laugh and cry... Cried when I punched myself in the eye when I got past the first chapter; and laughed when I got my credit back.
As I used my iPad I was unable to listen to a sample of the audiobook, as Audible had taken this function away from their mobile site- something which they have reinstated now, so I thought I would give it a go, how surprised I was. The story is a particularly bad take on the hobbit. The characters were flat and lifeless and uninteresting, and the story is sluggish and moves slowly to its unexciting conclusion.
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