• The Briar King

  • The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, Book 1
  • By: Greg Keyes
  • Narrated by: Patrick Michael
  • Length: 19 hrs and 54 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (326 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Two thousand years ago, the Born Queen defeated the Skasloi lords, freeing humans from the bitter yoke of slavery. But now monstrous creatures roam the land, and destinies become inextricably entangled in a drama of power and seduction. The king's woodsman, a rebellious girl, a young priest, a roguish adventurer, and a young man made suddenly into a knight all face malevolent forces that shake the foundations of the kingdom, even as the Briar King, legendary harbinger of death, awakens from his slumber.

At the heart of this many-layered tale is Anne Dare, youngest daughter of the royal family - upon whom the fate of her world may depend.

©2004 Gregory Keyes (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Although The Briar King will suffer the inevitable comparison with George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, it should be said that Keyes's work is no mere rip-off. This is excellent world building, applied with a dark, powerful touch that should convince Martin fans to become Keyes fans, too." (Amazon.com review)

What listeners say about The Briar King

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    110
  • 4 Stars
    117
  • 3 Stars
    61
  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    14
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    92
  • 4 Stars
    67
  • 3 Stars
    27
  • 2 Stars
    7
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    5
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    85
  • 4 Stars
    74
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    7

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good stuff

You might want to skip to first 40 minutes as too battle-gory and 2-dimensional, which is unfortunately part of the sample provided. Especially as you don't need it for the other 19 hours of story. After that, it gets good and follows several 3-dimensional characters, in an interesting plot with mystery, action, and humor. No graphic sex, graphic violence imagary is rare and you can actually follow the story after that first 40 min, good characterization and plot. I've listened to it twice and probably will again. They ought to drop the critic comment about ASOIF series because nothing compares to that and this is not at all trying to be a knock-off.

The narrator seemed well above average and not overly dramatic to me. He also manages to do female characters convincingly without sounding like a drag-queen and making my skin crawl, a mistake many male (and vice versa) narrators make. Most characters are given recognizable and voices matching their personality.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Couldn't listen to more than 30 minutes.

This might be perectly fine to read in paper, but I found the narration of the audio version overly dramatic, sounding like very bad acting. It gave the feeling of listening to enthusiastic adolescents playing dungeons and dragons - it was impossible to suspend disbelief or to submerge into the story.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

hi, I swallowed a thesaurus

Its bad, couldnt get through it. The performance is way overdone and the writing is bad. I bought 3 of these and couldnt make it through 1. A more subtle reading might have got me further in, might have made it bareable, but the affected language together with the melodramatic performance was more than I could manage.

Hot tip of the day authors - good fantasy feels real when your in it. If you aint never heard someone say something like that - don't put those words in a character's mouth

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Good Book One, But TERRIBLE SERIES!

I almost gave this book 4 stars. It's not a bad book in itself, but when you take into account that it's a series of four total books; it's not a series worth starting. Trust me when I say that's it's not worth the trouble. I got sucked into a decent plot with intriguing characters, only to see the author throw them into a blender by book 3. I'm never much for giving detailed reviews, I just tell a little about what I thought about the book and the author. So I apologize if I'm not more detailed.

In short, I wouldn't recommend this book. Not because it's not a good single book. Because you'll want more and you'll get more with book two (the best out of the series) but then it's over with. It's like the author decided at the last minute to make a two book series into a four book series. And it shows. By the end of the series, your favorite characters change totally and become weird characters that you can no longer understand or relate to.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Couldn't finish...

After about 3 hours, I just couldn't take it any more. The narrator sounds like he's reading a children's book to a classroom of 3rd graders. Unfortunately, the story wasn't good enough to make up for it. The first 30 minutes or so were promising enough, despite the narrator, but it was just a prologue that didn't seem to have anything to do with the rest of the story. After that, it was boooorrring! In over 50 audiobooks, this is only the second one I couldn't finish.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

No substitute for Martin

I finished the book and found it compelling for fleeting moments, but overall it was a watered down imitation of George RR Martin. I hate to jump on the bandwagon with this complaint, but most of the characters have 1:1 ratio likenesses within Martin's vastly superior story. The problem is that Keyes does not have the guts to kill them off so that the tension is all but gone.

The author seems more interested in characters hooking up that with blood and guts. If I want to read about couples getting together I will browse the romance section. He uses the line, "Next time I won't kiss you, you have to kiss me" not once, but twice and with two different characters.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Beyond Horrible!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

There is no way that this could have made a two star book. Horrible for every angle.

What could Greg Keyes have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Stopped writing after the first paragraph!

What does Patrick Michael bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I could find no fault with the reader, honestly it wasn't his fault what he was having to read.

What character would you cut from The Briar King?

Why choose just one! Get rid of all of them.

Any additional comments?

I ended up with this book by mistake but listened to it because it seemed foolish not to give it a try. After the first chapter I was really over giving it a change to get any better. Too much attention was paid to creating new titles for everything from political offices, religious stations, and even weights and measures. Imagery was poor which did nothing to rescue the overly complicated lists of fabricated titles for objects. The expletives were really the icing on the cake. Granted I will give some credit that there was a believable plot line deep, so very deep, beneath the poorly constructed fantasy world. I feel slightly bitter for having listened to this book.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

another slow and derivative fantasy disappointment

For a book that seemed full of potential, this listen proved surprizingly disappointing. The promise of an alternate American history wasn't even enough to hold my attention through the first download segment. Save your credit--I wish I had.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good Book, A Lot Going On

This is a good story but slow to start. There are a lot of characters and lines of focus in the story. That is easy for me to follow when reading, took a little more in audiobook format. By the end of the book I was tied in and tracking.

The story does come together well, with several characters that I have become interested in. The knight guarding the queen, the priest, the scurvy swordsman. All were well done and made me interested in following them.

The narrator, Patrick Michael, does a wonderful job. He keeps the different characters believable and does a good job going between male and female voices. He also does a good job with the pace and inflection of the general narration of the story.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • TK
  • 05-26-16

Great Find

I had never heard of Greg Keyes before. Now I will never forget him. Great story and an outstanding performance by Patrick Michael. I sat in a parking lot, listening for the last hour because I could not pull myself away to complete my errands. The characters were very real and believable. Though I liked them all, I want very much to hang out with Cazio :)

2 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Reid
  • 05-31-18

Enjoyable

A good listen, if a little verbose at times. The fantasy world constructed is seeped with political discourse and mistrust, and the storyline spans the worlds history. I recommend for any fantasy readers.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anna
  • 07-08-13

A promising start

If you could sum up The Briar King in three words, what would they be?

To be honest I expected more than the book managed to deliver. The title alone was enough to seduce me into purchasing The Briar King. But even with such a promising start it fell short. It took a good chunk of the first part to get the plot going and to be honest the first hundred pages felt like a really, really long prologue. After a while the plot and action picked up but it is difficult to care about an obnoxious character when you haven't been carried on by the momentum of the series of actions the said character makes, but rather feel like you are forced to read through a tedious introduction. The second part of the book redeems the snoozefest the first part is.
Overall, The Briar King has potential as a first book of series. Not quite original but not exactly a carbon copy of some previously published works of other authors
I would rate it 3,5 out of 5, mostly for the exquisitely worded paragraphs.

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