The city of Peradain is the heart of an empire built with steel, spears, and a monopoly on magic...until in a single day it falls, overthrown by a swarm of supernatural creatures of incredible power and ferocity. Neither soldier nor spell caster can stand against them.
The empire's armies are crushed, its people scattered, its king and queen killed. Freed for the first time in generations, city-states scramble to seize neighboring territories and capture imperial spell casters. But as the creatures spread across the land, these formerly conquered peoples discover they are not prepared to face the enemy that destroyed an empire.
Can the last Peradaini prince, pursued by the beasts that killed his parents, cross battle-torn lands to retrieve a spell that might - just might - turn the battle against this new enemy?
©2014 Harry Connolly (P)2016 Podium Publishing
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"Made me want to buy more credits"
For the first time in two years, I am tempted to buy more credits just So I can get the next two books. I do not have the capacity to put into words how great the characters are, how intriguing the story is, nor how breathless I was left with the pace. When the book was done, I was left yelling, "ALREADY?!!!"
As for performance, Michael Kramer was the reason I purchased the book in the first place. The man could read a chemistry book and keep me entranced.
"Great story, believable characters, and man-bears!"
No. I don't listen to audiobooks twice. Nothing against the book, but my memory is sufficient for me.
When the scholar near the end of the book goes hollow and knocks the protagonist off the flying cart onto the riverbank.
When the grunt (hereafter referred to as man-bears) jumps off the tower at the fleeing protagonists. One character pushes to sacrifice himself to save the others and they pool together to save him.
Here are the good aspects of this book:
The characters are believable. This is a big deal for me. I am so tired of reading or listening to books where the characters do something that does not make any sense and is only done to further the plot along as the author wants.
The interactions between local lords and larger empires seem very plausible, especially considering the use of marriage, hostages, metal, and mages as resources to maintain order.
Issues of religion, nationalism, racism, and slavery are all handled in reasonable ways.
The magic system is interesting, powerful with major drawbacks. If scholars (mages) use too many spells they become violent sociopaths.
There are a lot of interesting monsters that are brought up in the book. One of the main ones are man-bears, which is both awesome and hilarious (if you are a South Park fan).
The narrator is great.
Here are some of bad aspects of this book:
You never really get to know as much about magic as you'd like, especially when you learn that all the magic was gained from a set of mysterious people who come to the kingdom every 20 years or so. Who are these guys? What is up with the portal they come out of?
Only two perspectives: an older war veteran and a young 15 year old girl. I feel that some more variety could have been added to include another, maybe as an interlude or something halfway through.
The ending of the book is a cliffhanger. I think that books should end at some form of resolution, even if it is a local one and the bigger global issues remain ahead.
"starts off strong but quickly looses focus"
the story started off strong, but after the first 4 hours of the book quickly kept going downhill, and never recaptured my interest.
Michael Kramer was stellar as always
No. The story is beyond nonsense featuring characters immediately dying that the story expects us the reader to feel sympathy or loss about despite having never met them. It revolves around 3 main characters one of whom without getting into spoilers does not feature in the last 2 thirds of the book, one literally becomes emotionless and spends most of their time relaying how little they care about whats going on as the third character suffers a rollercoaster of seemingly random bad events that culminates with him being punished for a character in the setting breaking an established in-fiction law of how their magic governs. Its treated like a 'plot twist' but it feels a lot more like 'the writer didn't know what to do'.
The story also ends with all three of the main characters incapacitated with the worlds largest 'to be continued' sign at the end of the novel. Maybe I'm just old fashioned but its pretty damn rude to end an entire book with a cliff hanger to bait you into buying the next book just to see what happens. Its a cheap trick. If a book is good i'll buy the next in its series without there needing to be a 'cliff hanger' to 'hook' me.
It has not, yet. But it's come close.
I've listened to many other Micheal Kramer's work and him narrating this was half the reason i decided to buy and listen to it, he performed very well as always.
I feel like i had parts of my life stolen that i will never get back.
This book was absolute nonsense. Fantasy can be a whimsical genre so its a rough stance to take to call something in the fantasy genre silly but here i am. The world has some interesting ideas but literally destroyed the world its 'building' for the reader before the reader has a chance to understand whats being destroyed. How am i mean't to feel for the loss of a civilization when its lost literally in the first chapter? Absurd.
The book is constantly in a rush to get characters to new locations where they will find themselves impatiently trying to go somewhere else. A lot of the characters take life-altering actions for seemingly random reasons and often the rules of magic or of the world first told by the author are broken almost immediately so it feels as if hes literally just making things up as he goes along.
A really, really dumb read. Please avoid this.
"The fascinating collapse of a kingdom"
I've been a fan of Harry Connolly's writing since his "Twenty Palaces" trilogy, and in this first book of his "The Great Way" trilogy, Connolly offers up more of his fantastic imagination and detailed world-building, while never getting bogged down in bizarre place names and customs... there is just enough of the recognizable world here, flavored with Connolly's unique fantasy view, to make the reading (or in my case, listening) experience all the more pleasurable.
Little details, like describing spellcasters gone bad -- who are constantly marked by streaming tears on their faces -- as "hollowed out", or this world's version of a knight's "Sir" as "Tyr"... these are the sort of small details that ultimately flesh out the world better than an overload of trying-too-hard-to-be-odd names and the like.
What's more, Connolly avoids the easy conflicts and plot contrivances, throwing in together a group of characters that should, by all rights, be enemies, but make for fascinating (if unplanned) bedfellows.
So, what did I love best about the novel?
Being in Connolly's confident storyteller hands.
Tyr Treygar, followed closely by Cazia Freewell. The interplay between these two characters, so far removed in age and background, is wonderful reading.
Doctor Warpoole. Kramer's dramatic reading was best embodied in the Warpoole character, and came across to me as the "truest" performance.
Without giving away too many spoilers (I hope), there is a moment early on in the story in which a primary character is going to sacrifice himself, allow himself to be dragged down and away, to save the rest of the group, a group that perhaps had no real inclination to save him... and yet, they cling to him and arrest his fall.
And in that moment, the group of disparate characters becomes a unit of sorts, and I love that kind of beat in a story, when done well, as it was, here. Because the characters had already made decisions I was not expecting, I fully expected to lose this one character, early on. I was pleasantly surprised.
I will read anything Harry Connolly writes. That's praise I usually reserve for Dennis Lehane and Walter Mosley and Neil Gaiman and Stephen King.
I find that a great narrator makes all the difference. Having a well written book with good world building and a good magic structure is also needed. I find that the author did a great job at both. Also good characters.
Not sure what I would compare this book to. It holds many parts I would relate to The Wheel of Time. Also I sense some of the Stormlight Archives.
I would say his portrail of Tyr Tejohn Treygar is my most favorite on the male side. Michael's female character, and he does a very good job with female voices, would have to be Cazia. A very strong character in the book.
I almost listened to the whole thing in one sitting but one does need sleep. Also sometimes it's good to stretch it out. Hard to do because the book has very few parts where a person could end. Always wanting to know what happens next that is hard to do.
It's a great book, up there among my favorites, with excellent narration with Michael Kramer, who I think is the perfect person for this type of story, the story is fast paced and has surprises at most any turn. I would recommend this book to any who enjoy a well written and believable world and magic system.
"Excellent! !!!!!! Read this book straight through."
wonderful book, will raff again and again. had me from the first chapter. Michael Kramer is top notch.
"Really liked it"
looking forward to the next volume.
I liked the multiple story lines and the narrator is one of my favorites
"good listen but not a top tier book. worth it"
liked the book and it's really fast pace which helps the story hide any holes
"A great story and a great storyteller"
I'm always pleased when I come upon a new author I haven't experienced and find that I'm mesmerized by the story and the craftsmanship of the writer. Book 1 starts out immediately with a devastating attack on an imperial capital that is so complete that only a few survive. The quest then becomes one of two separate, yet connected, plot arcs. One with the surviving prince (now king) and his sworn bodyguard and reluctant mentor fleeing in search for a means to defeat these creatures of destruction and the other of two adolescent girls, one who has nascent arcane abilities and a close friend of the prince and the other his betrothed princess, together, seeking safety through an arduous trek to another city.
Both these quests are filled with dangerous encounters that produce unpredictable and strange outcomes. Of course, Michael Kramer is one of the very few narrators who can recite and epic saga such as this and keep the listener hooked. This, combined with a unique and well-written story, makes for its own kind of magic.
Note: one nit of concern was that near the end of the book, both primary protagonists in each story arc tend to lament that every battle encounter is the final straw and that their remaining thoughts wonder on regrets. Even so, this was not enough to even consider lowering the rating even one start.
"extremely good book must read"
this good is a must read very well written could not put it down It is in the same league as Brandon Sanderson
"I have enjoyed this book"
good fiction in my opinion not just fantasy stereotypes, solid performance by Michael Kramer! worth a listen.
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