Book Review – The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson #fantasy #bookreview

Guest Review ~ by Lee 

My wife simply cannot believe that in recent weeks I have progressed from an occasional reader. One who mainly reads a Dan Brown or two each year when on holiday to suddenly devouring books. I’ve also gone from having never read a fantasy book to… let’s try The Way of Kings, a Brandon Sanderson behemoth! Actually, I’d never heard of Brandon Sanderson. I found this book quite by accident after watching a YouTube video. So what did I think?

Well, I cannot believe it’s taken me a week of reading every day to complete it! But I couldn’t stop reading it. Yes, the pace is not that fast throughout. But it’s never dull in any way. The character development is excellent, with each of the primary and secondary characters being introduced steadily and built in layers. Brandon doesn’t try to tell you everything about any character too early. The world and its people are also well built. You feel like you understand the cultures and the landscape and even some (that’s been revealed) of the history.

I’ll avoid spoilers, but will add, there are moments where you’re so disappointed with a path the story takes that you look away from the book and say “Seriously!” and there are moments where you’ll punch the air and want to yell “Go on!” like a sports fan cheering their team.

Whether you’ve read fantasy or not, give this book a go, but if you like a glass of wine whilst you read, consider ordering a case.

My rating: Five Stars!

More by Lee ~ Too many authors spoil the story – The problem with audio books

Too many authors spoil the story – The problem with audio books

Hello! I’m Lee, The Chimp’s other half, and I’ve been thinking about writing a guest post for some time. To give you some background, I’m not an author. I can think of nothing worse. I’m not even an avid reader. I just don’t find the time. When I do read, it’s predominantly non-fiction. I reckon for every fiction book I’ve ever read, I’ve read 50 non-fiction, probably more. So you’re likely thinking “OK, shut up buddy and put The Chimp back on”.

If you’re still reading, then I want to talk about audio books. You see, I went through a fairly lengthy period of listening to many audio books. Typically on my drive to and from work each day (90 minutes total). Occasionally when I was in bed too. Audible is a great service and I listened to around 20 or so audio books. I stopped after I read a book on holiday earlier this year. A book. OK, an e-book, but it involved reading, not listening. It was George Orwell’s 1984, and it was quite splendid. I could barely put it down.

Relevance check! – Listening to audio books made me aware that every book (read fiction from here) has 2 authors. The obvious one who builds a story, creates characters, the environment, etc. This is probably 85% (ouch!) of the writing. The second author is the reader who gives the story its visuals, finishes the personality of each character and gives characters a unique identity. If the primary author does a great job, the supporting author (you) reciprocates unconsciously and gives that instance of the completed book its delicious uniqueness.

When you listen to a book, something gets lost. I tried abridged and unabridged, but in my view audio books introduce a third author. The narrator has a style of reading that dilutes the “readers” creativity in writing the book. When I listen to books, I’m not as immersed in the story or the environment as I am when I read. It’s also much, much slower. When someone narrates a book my view is the story is consumed around 2-3 times slower than you can read. The narrators voice can also be a determining factor into how well the story works and the inflections in their words provide emphasis of their choosing, not yours. It certainly helps if the narrators are professional actors. Books narrated by the author (worst) or by a low budget professional narrator (better) provide the poorest experiences. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a great example. I have heard two versions of this, but providing a very different experience of the story. One spoken entirely by Stephen Fry, who was very good as you can imagine. The other spoken by a cast of actors in a dramatised version which was better still, but these latter types of audio books are rare in my experience.

Non-fiction books work quite well in audio book format, but not technical books. Management, business, self-development, etc all work quite well.

Anyway, let me know your experiences of audio books or feel free to share recommendations for audio books that have worked for you.

Bye!

Note – These views are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chimp (PS. She made me say that)