With their most treacherous mission yet behind them, heroes Seregil and Alec resume their double life as dissolute nobles and master spies. But in a world of rivals and charmers, fate has a different plan.
After their victory in Aurnen, Alec and Seregil have returned home to Rhminee. But with most of their allies dead or exiled, it is difficult for them to settle in. Hoping for diversion, they accept an assignment that will take them back to Seregils homeland. En route, however, they are ambushed and separated, and both are sold into slavery. Clinging to life, Seregil is sustained only by the hope that Alec is alive.
But it is not Alecs life his strange master wants - it is his blood. For his unique lineage is capable of producing a rare treasure, but only through a harrowing process that will test him body and soul and unwittingly entangle him and Seregil in the realm of alchemists and madmen and an enigmatic creature that may hold their very destiny in its inhuman hands. But will it prove to be savior or monster?
A Note From Author Lynn Flewelling
It's been brought to my attention that there is some confusion over the noticeable difference in some of the pronunciations between the first three books of this series, and the last two. The reason for this is quite simple. For Shadows Return and The White Road, I had the pleasure of talking in considerable detail with narrator Adam Danoff. So the differences from the first three books may be a bit jarring at first, but what you will hear in Shadows Return and The White Road are the proper pronunciations of names and things, as the author intended. I'm delighted with these new interpretations, and I hope you will be, too. Happy listening!
Don't miss the other volumes in Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series.
©2008 Lynn Flewelling; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
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"I love the book, but..."
The first time I read this book I finished in it a day. I've read it several times since then, so when Lynn announced on her LJ that there was an audiobook I was excited. Her books were so good that I caught myself trying to read them in traffic, so this was a safer way to enjoy it.
The story holds up being an audiobook. It keeps the listener's attention even while doing something else. Sometimes with audiobooks I find that I get lost in the task that I'm doing along with listening. I didn't find that with this book at all, in fact I was coming up with reasons to drive just a little bit more so I could listen a little longer. I did notice some editing problems, several times two takes of the same sentence were included in the finished product. It took me out of the moment, but Lynn's wonderful world brought me back in quickly enough.
If you haven't read any of the Nightrunner books, you should get these. They are an addicting series and listening them is much safer than trying to read in the car.
I can't wait for White Road. I'm going to be getting the paper book and the audiobook, just in case I can't put it down.
Like all of Lynn's books, this one was a phenomenal adventure! Its amazing how she brings you into a world so real you would think she had actually been there. The adventure continues and I was on the edge of every word for this entire story. If your looking to dive into an intense and memorable experience I suggest you open your ears to this adventure!
On a side note to those of you who have listened to the other Nightrunner books: This is Narrated by Adam Danoff who isn't the original narrator of the other 3 books. It takes a bit of getting used to in the beginning. His pronunciation of many of the commonly used words and names are different. Overlook these and just be as grateful as I was to see Audible adding another one of Lynn's Books to the collection.
"An unexpected development"
If you began listening to the Nightrunner series with Books 1-3 as narrated by Raymond Todd, you might find the sudden switch of narrator jarring. Adam Danoff pronounces some names and places a bit differently and character voices are a bit different. This does not make Danoff's performance in any way less enjoyable than Todd's. It merely means that there will be an adjustment period. If you're nervous about switching between the two narrators, I recommend a break of a month or two between finishing Todd's narration and moving on to Danoff's. The differences will be much less obvious.
Danoff has a very pleasant voice to listen to. He clearly distinguishes between the different characters so that it is always clear which character is speaking. He keeps a good pace and captures the mood of the book well.
As for the story itself, Shadows Return is very different from the previous books. Seregil and Alec are not especially active in this book--at least not in the sense of nightrunning. I don't wish to go into too much spoilery detail, but this book is graphic on the slavery, mental manipulation, and violence. I found the story difficult to listen to, but valuable in that it delves into part of the oracle's prophecy regarding Alec and brings Seregil a little closer to resolving his unhappy past.
Shadows Return is my least favorite book in the series, but only because I found it so emotionally draining. It is still a good book.
"A rough ride, but worthwhile"
The Nightrunner series takes an interesting turn with this volume, providing an emotional roller coaster and a long path to what becomes desperately desired resolution. I found it highly worthwhile as a unique part of the whole epic, but individually it was not an easy read. Not because it was poorly written, far from it, but it departs widely from the adventurous and occasionally light-hearted intrigue that dominates the first three volumes and plunges headlong into dark and deadly waters. As with most of the books in the series, it sets up a great many things that unfold in future volumes.
The switch in readers to Adam Danoff is quite jarring at first, especially given that his pronunciation of some of the setting-specific vocabulary--particularly place names and even character names--is drastically different from what we heard in earlier volumes. A modicum of research, however, reveals that these are the pronunciations that author always intended. Additionally, in Adam Danoff's performance I found that I was finally hearing the "true" voices of Seregil & Alec and his overall tenor and approach jives much better with the language and feel of the series than the previous reader's efforts ever could.
After the stresses of the previous 2 books, our heroes return in service to Queen and Country. Much is learned of Seregil's past as he confronts the forces that have placed him in his new life.
Like some others, I had originally written a review basing my opinion of the first 2 books of this new series criticizing the dramatic changes introduced by a new narrator. Changes so jarring that it was sometimes hard to grasp exactly who the characters were and where they had found themselves. I also received an email from Audible indicating a wish for me to re-write my review with the knowledge the author had consulted with the new narrator on pronunciations. Imagine my surprise to discover my previous review had mysteriously disappeared; so, I will repeat, regardless of the author's opinion, my review.
In a series that picks up at book 4 and 5 with a new narrator, consistency, in my opinion, should outweigh how something was originally intended to be pronounced - after all, we all pronounce these made up names and places in our heads differently, but consistently for ourselves. Book 4 and 5 provides little to no background to existing characters, mythology or previous plots. It ASSUMES you've previously listened to the previous 3 novels. To ignore the personalities, pronunciations and performance of that first series seems a very odd direction. My opinion of the narrator isn't solely based on his simply pronouncing people and places differently, it's that in choosing to completely ignore what was done before (very well), he gave the characters very different personalities. Character voices often sound so similar, you're not sure who is speaking. Solid, direct characters like Alec seem more like whiny teenagers as book 4 starts simple because of the performance.
Regardless of which pronunciations are correct, if the initial narration of the first 3 novels had used the same narrator as the last 2, I don't think I would have made it past the first book.
"Love this series"
I'd recommend the night runner series to anyone. I've read the books several times myself.
"I actually don't mind the change of narrator"
Yes, the pronunciations are different, but you get used to it. This is how the author intended it to be so I'm fine with it. I do agree that he doesn't distinguish between the character voices though, and some times it's a little confusing, but I like his voice. The story is all right. Very different from the first three. Very different, and I preferred those. But this was still a good listen.
"Had the book for years but could never finish it"
It's the first audiobook I've ever had, and I enjoyed the narration so it's at the top for now.
This book is a lot more bleak and serious than the previous books. Alec and Seregil spend a big chunk of it apart, and more often than not, in pain. Can't really think of a book I've read that's a direct comparison, but it's like a mix of Captive Prince (C.S. Pacat), add elements of the RPG Valkyrie Profile (the original one), and then a bit of the Japanese OAV Record of Lodoss War.
It was too serious for the most part, though there were parts that were somewhat amusing (mostly Seregil's thoughts). It did make me feel a bit sick during some of the scenes where characters where being tortured / punished.
I loved Adam Danoff's narration. I wish he had done the rest of the series. I've so far only bought the last three books because I'd already read the first thre novels in paperback. After trying this book, I went to check the first three audiobooks in the series, but they were done by a different narrator who sounds a lot more robotic during the narrative parts whereas Adam reads with more emotion.
"New Pronunciations, NOOOOO!"
There needs to be a rule that new narrators have to listen to the previous narrator and pronounce the names and places in the same way. Every time I hear this guy pronounce a name differently, I want to correct him.
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