Yeeep, the whole thing. An entire trilogy (I promise I won’t spoil any of it.) That’s how this audiobook comes. Firstly, I wasn’t expecting to actually sit here and listen to the entire thing at once (I didn’t. I have far too much ADD for that nonsense) – But, I still managed to listen to this whole thing (and it’s nearly 70 hours long in total) within about a month. That’s my new record!
Dante Galand is young. Penniless. Alone. But devoted to learning the dark magic of his world.
His quest will take him from the city gutters to a foreign land of sorcerers. To a war for independence. And finally, to another war–this time, for his people’s very survival.
THE CYCLE OF ARAWN is a complete trilogy of 1600 pages–over half a million words of strife, civil war, friendships made and broken, and one man’s obsession to become the greatest sorcerer since the days of the gods.
“We should probably put that on our tombstones.”
“That or ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time.’”
I hadn’t heard anything about this series before I picked it up on audible. I’m pretty sure I got it on sale, but either way, one credit for nearly 70 hours worth of epic fantasy is a pretty good deal any way you put it. But, the best part? This series is narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds. That’s worth a credit right there on its own.
The way that audible split it up was weird though. I assume that they’re actually expecting people to sit and listen to this badboy the entire way through in one go, because it’s split up into 6 parts. ‘Okay… 2 parts for each book.’ I said. Wrong. Book 2 starts about 3/4 of the way through part 2. Book 3 starts something like halfway through Part 4. Obviously this was audible’s dumb decision, but still. I don’t like having to delete audiobooks off my phone that I would consider ‘not finished,’ but I don’t have room to store them while I listen to other things in between. Bad, bad audible! 1 part per book, silly.
Now, into the story. Let me tell you, there are slower parts of these books. Quite a few slow parts. Sometimes not a lot is happening in the grand scheme of things, but I will also tell you that while it irked me sometimes, it never bothered me enough that I didn’t sit there and just keep on listening anyway. I happily listened to 70 hours of awesome narration and it made an otherwise boring few weeks of work slightly less boring.
Dante Galand and Blays Buckler are two young men who happen to meet while Dante is on his way from his homeland to the great city of Narashtovik. The land in which they live has outlawed the worship of the god Arawn (who is something like the god of death), but his main place of worship is Narashtovik. But, as Dante reads the Cycle of Arawn that he found on his travels towards the city, he learns more and more about the use of nether magic, and then he learns to use it himself. He becomes quite good at it, too. And thus, adventures are started.
Much like Royce and Hadrian (who are the reason I love Tim Gerard Reynolds so much in the first place), Dante and Blays are a fun and often funny bromance, and I really loved the banter between them. There were all kinds of funny one liners or sarcasm that made me laugh, no matter what else was happening. Blays is legitimately humorous, and together they are a fun comedic team. We do get to see these two guys grow up quite a lot throughout the series, and they become more mature and take on more responsibility. Dante especially becomes more than the sum of his parts throughout. Blays comes into his own in the last book too, though. They meet a lot of different people on their adventures, and I liked some more than others. A lot of the characters seemed very similar in personality to others. There’s not a huge amount of unique characters here, for a series that is so unnecessarily long.
In terms of writing, I thought it was rather well written. It gave me a good visualization of what was happening, at the very least. It uses modern phrases throughout, which I found fit Dante and Blays as characters, but perhaps not as much the setting in which they live. My main criticism with this series is that it really is far, far too long. The Great Rift (Book 2) especially is about 13 hours longer than it really needed to be to portray the story that it portrayed. There is world building in between bigger events, to a point, but there is a lot of filler in places where the story could just be moved along. I personally didn’t have too much of a problem with it, because TGR could probably narrate my least favorite book of all time and I’d enjoy it on some level…
All told, I’ll give the whole thing a 3 star average. Narration gets a full 5, obv. It wasn’t the greatest series I’ve ever listened to, but it wasn’t bad enough at any point that I gave it up. I’ve even got book 1 & 2 of the following series all lined up. It kept me on task at work, and for that, more than anything, my boss is very thankful. 😀
If you’re going to pick this one up, do yourself a favor and get the audiobook: Audible