But as Sparhawk and his allies - who include Sephrenia, the ageless sorceress, and Flute, the strange and powerful girl-child - seek to save Ehlana and the land, they discover that the evil is even greater and more pervasive than they had feared.
Listen to another gem in David Edding's Elenium series.
©1989 David Eddings; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"[A] graceful, fluid style of storytelling." (Publishers Weekly)
"[Eddings] draws once more on his particular strengths, combining heroic yet humorous characters with exotic settings and tangled politics to create a fast-moving fantasy that will appeal to his large readership." (Library Journal)
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"Quirky pronunciations but overall a worthy job."
I read the Elenium and Tamuli serieses back in 1996 when I was sixteen. I'd just finished reading the Belgariad and Malloreon novels earlier that spring, so I was slightly disappointed that the Elenium and its sequel series took a different turn. But the humor found in what has become one of if not my absolute favorite fantasy serieses continues in the Elenium universe. The Elenium tells the story of Sir Sparhawk, a member of an order of knights known as the Pandions, soldiers of the church of the Elene God, a deity similar in many ways to the Christian god. His worshippers often behave in similar ways as well, right down to the inflexibility and intolerance of other religions that some Christian fundamentalists display. The Pandion Knights, however, as well as the three other Militant Orders of the Church, are exempt from certain restrictions of Church law, such as the prohibition against the practice of magic.
Sparhawk, having just returned from a ten-year exile from Elenia, comes home to a much-changed kingdom. King Aldreas is dead, seemingly killed by the Falling Sickness, and his daughter, the strong-willed Queen Ehlana, is suffering from a fatal disease and being sustained by powerful Styric magic while the search for a cure is undertaken. But now the kingdom is being run by the corrupt Primate Annias, who seeks dominion of the Elene church. It soon becomes apparent, however, that something far more sinister than ordinary politics is at work.
Greg Abby's narration is very well-done, although I did notice that he tended to mispronounce some fairly common words such as Impudent or Hexagonal. His voice, however, reminds me of a combination of those of actors Neil Dickson and Lex Lang. In short, very well-done aside from the quirky pronunciations. He does manage to give life to the many characters in the story. When humor is called for he manages to pull it off quite nicely. In short I'm glad I bought the series.
The first part was slow and I thought for sure this book was a dud, but when Sparhawk's friends enter the story they liven it up. I am very picky about my fantasy stories and this is one that has made my list. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good book.
"My favorite Eddings Series"
Opinions varied on David Eddings throughout his life, but I really like this series. Yes, his work is derivative but he is good at following the formula he developed. This serues was more gritty and mature than the Belgariad and Mallorean. I read this series as a young adult and was pleased to find that it holds up just as well in audio format.
Maybe I am in the minority but I had no problems with the narrarator and really liked this novel . Eddings did tend to write more for young adults (basically the J.K. rowling of my childhood) which is good because I was able to listen to a book I loved as a child with my daughter who is about the same age. After listening to the series with me she made me buy them in print and she read them repeatedly until the books fell apart. That is a pretty major endorsement.
This one is definitely worth a credit.
"Could have been"
Probably not. The story line is pretty good, but it was hard listening because of the reader. I think it could have been good, with a good reader.
The narrators timing, emphasis and inflection were all wrong. I found it so irritating to listen to that I had to stop listening several times. I wouldn't normally bother finishing a book with a reader like this, but the story had potential and then, I had already listened to all of my downloaded books and had to wait for my new credits. I won't be listening to the rest of the series!
"mispronounciations make the book unlistenable"
I've enjoyed Eddings' Belgariad and Malorean, so I thought I'd like this trilogy. So far, it's typical Eddings, with a bit more convoluted politics, and a fairly slow leadup to the main quest part of the story. The narrator, however, ruins whatever enjoyment I'd have, however. He's limited, and recognizes his limitations, doesn't try to voices, for example. But his mispronunciations are making the book unlistenable. One word, in particular, is "hierarchy" - it's used a lot in the book, and the narrator consistently massacres it, which jerks me out of the story every time he hits the word. I'm not sure I'm going to continue on with the trilogy because of this.
"amazing book, terrible narrator ..."
enjoyable, fun, memorable
sparhawk ... i've always felt an affinity for him growing up as a kid ... i wanted to be a hero just like sparhawk and i think some of that fascination with him has held up over the years ...
the narrator made the main character, sparhawk--whom i've always assumed was gruff and swarthy--sound like a bad impression of keanu reeves from "point break" ... i kept waiting for sparhawk to whip out a surfboard halfway through the story ...
sometimes i groaned loudly in dismay when the narrator made one of my favorite characters growing up sound like a braindead & weak surfer dude ...
perhaps the narrators should read the book first themselves to get an idea of what type of person certain characters are (at the VERY least the main character) ... the narrator made sparhawk sound weak and unintelligent ... *gameshow buzzer*
"Love the book, not the narrator"
I love these books. They are great, classic fantasy. I red them years ago and was thrilled to see the audio release. But the narrator leaves a lot to be desired. He mispronounces many words, like impudent and hexagonal, and unfortunately those words and others he butchers, are in the story a lot. He seems only to have a few voices, and his street slang american accent just did not work for me. The stories are worth it, but I hope the next series has a different narrator.
"reader is adequate, book is good"
Yes, I like the story and the characters.
mispronounces many words
Mr. Abby's voices for the characters are good, but he has a faulty grasp of the pronunciation of a number of words over two syllables. One is "impudent," of which he accents the "pu", and another is "ramshorn," which should be pronounced "rams-horn" and not "ram-shorn." This word occurs in the 2nd and 3rd books of the series, repeatedly.
"Loved the story, narrator ruined it for me"
I've read all the Eddings books and was delighted to find the audiobook. The narrator ruined it for me with the overacting. It was like that voice you hear in the previews before a movie, "In a world with two-legged pigeons, he only had one leg...", you know the one I mean. Yes, now imagine that the entire book is read like that. Exaggeration, yes; if even half the book was read that way it is enough to set one's teeth on edge. I just could not finish it. I'll purchase this again if it is by another narrator.
"Love the story but the narrator needed work!"
I have have enjoyed this series for years but this is my first listen on audiobook. I have to say I am so disappointed that the narrator didn't bother to learn the correct pronunciation of words and names. It seems so elementary an idea to get the basics right. Each time he mangles a name or word it jars you from the story. Additionally, his voice portrayal of several of the characters are so incongruous to the story. There was so much potential to bring this story to life but it fell short. The narrator is not without talent but was apparently lacking in direction. Still love the books but I'm unsure if I can continue to listen to the audio version.
"Just say no !"
David Eddings books are really little more than generic fantasy, however this series is probably his best and I was hoping for some light bedtime listening.
However this reading is awful - not just delivered in a monotone with minimal character variation but a monopace whatever the situation - I gave up after the first hour. Basically it is the most unlistenable title I have ever downloaded in three years of Audible membership.
Greg Abby has the ability to impersonate all the voices of Clint Eastwood, Clint Eastwood and Clint Eastwood in bringing alive the characters. Brings the excitement of a movie trailer voice-over to the rich world of the Elenium.
I don't usually write reviews but if I can prevent somebody making the mistake I did it would be worth it.
From the reviews I've read of the book I'm sure I'd enjoy the story, sadly the narration is so awful and monotonous that I just can't bring myself to listen to it.
I've now started listening for the 3rd time and think it's probably time I gave up on it altogether.
There are plenty of books on audible narrated really well, get them instead, or buy the book.
"Good story, shame about the reading"
Basic skills for a reader should include the ability to follow punctuation rather than insert random pauses and a basic grasp of english pronunciation; unfortunately this reader fails to meet these minimum requirements.
As soon as i found that Audible had more David Eddings books they were on my wish list and I downloaded the first two parts. This is typical Eddings and deserves the criticism of being formula fantasy but it is enjoyable nontheless.
My dissapointment came when I heard the narrator Greg Abby. He keeps the pace going but that is obviously the extent of his tallents as a narrator. He has a similar voice to Frank Muller without the range. He makes no attempt to individualise each or indeed any of the characters. I am only grateful that he at least makes the women and children's voices a little higher even if they do sound like they have a bad cold. If you can live with all the characters sounding the same then this could be the one for you. I found it very irritating and wonder, if they auditioned for a narrator who they didn't pick.
This trilogy is one of my comfort reads, I just love them. Love the characters, the story and the narrator.
Glued to every moment and enjoyed the portrayal of each character. On to the next..
"Like stepping back in time :-)"
Having read this series many years ago I was delighted to find again the Hero Sparhawk. Good narration - I do wonder if some of the negative commenters were listening to the same story as I?. Enthralled to be taken away again on a journey. More please.
"Wonderful book + amazing narrator = hours of fun"
I'm a person who enjoys reading fantasy novels and I was sure that this book would be enjoyable. Indeed, I liked the story more than I expected and will definitely buy the next book in the series.
I would like to emphasise on the amazing skills of the narrator, though. He did such an excellent work, I was quite impressed while listening to various characters of the book. He really gives those characters a unique soul by his voice. I would love to praise his work more but I'm afraid my English is not good enough to express my feelings completely.
"One of the Worst Audio Books I've Ever listened to"
Another Narrator. If I could give the Performance negative stars, I would have.
When I read the books, ( in printed form) many years ago, I liked most of the main characters, and all for different reasons. It would simply take too long to describe all the myriad qualities that made them so enjoyable. Unfortunately Mr Abby's performance rendered all the characters as flat and uninspired nonentities.
NEVER! NEVER! NEVER! I didn't believed that anyone could be worse than Cameron Beierle and Maggie Mash, I was wrong. Mr Abby should be banned from coming near any book, lest he destroy another well loved tale.
Not in the Audio version. I absolutely loved the printed version, and read the whole series many times, until I had to replace my copies, since they started to fall apart from frequent use.
Keep Greg Abby away from books, any books. I think a cordon of about twenty miles should work to keep him from ruining any others. I was appalled by his total lack of skill. His mispronunciations were bad enough but when he seemed to have trouble reading ordinary words, I just couldn't stand any more. I am absolutely devastated that The Belgariad, The Mallorean, and now The Elenium, have been so totally destroyed by dreadful narrators. These were among my favorite books and they have been utterly ruined. As an act of kindness to other listeners, I suggest that the books mentioned here be removed from circulation, and that they be reworked by other more skillful narrators. Might I suggest either Derek Perkins, Andrew Wincott or Kevin Stillwell.
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