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The Cycle of Arawn  By  cover art

The Cycle of Arawn

By: Edward W. Robertson
Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
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Publisher's Summary

The White Tree (book one): In Mallon, the dark magic of the nether has been banned for centuries. Its users have been driven out or killed. Its secrets lost.

But the holy book of the nethermancers has just been found by a boy named Dante.

As he works to unlock the book's power, he's attacked in the street. The nethermancers aren't gone—and they want their book back. Caught between death cultists and the law, Dante fights for his life, aided by his growing skills and a brash bodyguard named Blays. Together they're drawn into a centuries-old conflict that brings Mallon to the brink of civil war.

Surviving won't be easy. But if they make it out alive, they'll step down the path to becoming two of the greatest warriors the world has ever known.

The Great Rift (book two): Dante and Blays have averted war against their new home of Narashtovik. But they didn't do so alone. It's time to repay their debts.

The norren who helped them remain enslaved by the Gaskan Empire. While arming the norren clans for rebellion, Dante hears one of them is in possession of the legendary Quivering Bow. If he can track down the weapon, it could secure norren independence.

But the wheels of war have already begun to turn. As Gask moves to crush the rebellion, Dante and Blays find themselves at the head of a campaign for survival—for norren and Narashtovik alike.

The Black Star (book three): Narashtovik has been saved—but Dante and Blays' friendship has been destroyed.

Blaming the Gaskan king for the loss of his love, Lira, Blays infiltrates the enemy nobility. There he schemes to bankrupt Gask and drive its ruler from the throne. But Dante's been waiting for Blays' return. If he finds and exposes him, Blays will be executed as a spy.

As they squabble, strange lights shine in the east. Harbingers of a long-forgotten threat. If the signs go ignored, Narashtovik will be annihilated by an enemy it never knew it had.

©2012 Edward W. Robertson (P)2015 Podium Publishing

What listeners say about The Cycle of Arawn

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In Response to the Criticism from Other Reviewers

I greatly enjoyed the Cycle of Arawn and have continued to follow the sequel series the Cycle of Galand. The most important thing to know about the series is that the plot is secondary to the characters, specifically the two protagonists. The book is built on their relationship and upon their banter and while there is always some exciting crisis requiring their intervention (or caused by it) their interactions and dialog are the main focus. Tim Gerard Reynolds does a fantastic job of capturing their relationship and their banter, and his performance makes this audiobook worthwhile. That isn't to say that the plot is not interesting or engrossing, just that it is not what makes these books great.

The main criticisms I have seen while reading through the reviews fall into two categories. The first is that the readers did not like the main characters and felt that they were not good enough in the moral sense. While the book is entertaining and much of it has an almost lighthearted feel to it, readers should be warned that the protagonists are not heroes. They lie, cheat, steal and kill throughout the series and while there is development and growth, they not become knights in shining armor. The series follows recent trends towards making more interesting, flawed characters (which in my view is a positive.) But if you are looking for champions of good who fight back the dark forces of evil, look somewhere else. Blayse and Dante invariably try to do what they think is best for them and their allies, but a lot of people still end up dead.

The second category of criticism is that the two protagonists constantly find themselves needing to rush off and complete some quest, save some people, yada, yada, yada. This is true and inherent in the genre and eventually lampshaded in later books. But to reiterate, the plots, while fun, are a setting for the main characters to interact, quip and generally be entertaining as they try to "save the day" or at least muddle through without getting themselves or too many others killed. You could toss the two in any setting and still get a book worth listening too, and to some degree this is what the author does.

The book does start off a bit slowly, but if you stick with it, it quickly and obviously becomes well worth the wait.

286 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A weird mix of great and awful....

I picked this book up because it's the complete trilogy- basically 3 books in one; a total of 65 hours of listening. That's a pretty good deal for one credit. But this isn't exactly "solid fantasy gold" you're getting here either.

Let's start off with the good, because it does have it's moments. Robertson has a fair bit of depth to his characters as both individuals and the way they interact. In fact, that is probably the book's real strength- the character's relationships and their dynamics. Everything else is really just background to tell the story of the people involved in them- if you keep the objectives blurry and look at the plot from the corner of your eye, and focus on the people, then the story is intriguing.

The bad is the plot itself. At times it makes no sense whatsoever- like, Michael Bay "Transformers level" logic. An example:

One artifact is central to the 1st book as the reason behind everything, yet is dropped and never mentioned by the 2nd book- nor is it ever explained exactly why it was so important. The protagonists, who are trying to get it back from the "heroes", just decide to give up looking for it in the middle of the 1st book, until at the end of the 1st book, at the climax, when the lead hero says "oh, here it is, I've had it all along..." to the people he is trying to kill. Then they have a plot twit, and the "heroes" decide: "Let's just kill everybody", and you are just sitting there going "what was even the point of this story again?????".

Confused? Yeah, reading it doesn't really make things any clearer. It's horribly frustrating. I almost gave up at the beginning of book 2 because I really stopped caring about what the heroes were up to because, basically, they are stupid and their actions don't really make sense. Maybe it gets as good as the "Star Wars" prequels logic by the end- but it never really exceeds that level.

The main characters also have some real flaws with drawing the line between good and bad that I don't think the author really does a good job of sorting out. The The book starts off with the main character murdering someone in "self defense", but it was also because he (the hero) stole something. So, if someone is going to kill you because you stole something, then it's better to kill them 1st than return what you stole... I don't know how righteous that makes you as a person. And I'm fine with a story arc where the character evolves and learns to change from broken to whole, but that journey has to make some sense. He can't just be killing people in one scene, and then be ready lay his life down to save others in another scene, but then killing in another- it doesn't make sense where he is drawing his lines or why they are moving, except maybe on an elementary school level of reasoning.

The 2 main characters relationship, which is the real story here (and it's as "brothers" in every sense, in case that statement has weird connotations) also start out oddly. In the beginning they pretty much hate each other; yet it changes quickly and drastically to a very strong bond between the two. But it happens too quickly and without enough reasoning to really make sense.

So, if you are looking for a book that is about the people involved in the story and can ignore the story itself, then this will probably be interesting to you. But if watching movies like "Transformers" and the 3 "Star Wars" prequels drives you nuts because what is happening makes little sense, then this book will probably just be frustrating.

I struggled with the point system for rating this book. In a perfect world, we'd have 1/2 stars instead of full ones, in which case I'd give the overall 2 1/2 stars and the story 1 1/2. It really doesn't rate a 3 star for the overall, but it's not as bad as a 2 star either. Same for the story rating (except 1 point lower).

260 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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65 hours of awsome for 1 credit

Would you consider the audio edition of The Cycle of Arawn to be better than the print version?

yes, Tim Gerard Reynolds voice will forever be Dante and Blaze

Have you listened to any of Tim Gerard Reynolds’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

he did as good on this as he did on The Riyria Chronicles, one of the best fantasy stories I've ever listened too on audible.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

dark fantasy with a side of snarky humor

Any additional comments?

if you've read The Riyria Chronicles, and loved it, you'll like this slightly darker world with two similar pals. Dante and Blaze are a lot of fun to listen too as they go back and fourth with each other and the others around them. your crazy not to spend one credit on 65 hours of fun entertainment.

173 people found this helpful

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Entertaining and Fun

Would you listen to The Cycle of Arawn again? Why?

I might go back and listen to the first book again, this trilogy is so long I've forgotten some of the first book already!

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the fact that it never dragged over 65 hours!

Have you listened to any of Tim Gerard Reynolds’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Reynolds may have even improved since he narrated the Riyria Chronicles!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Ha ha. 65 hours is too long for any one sitting!

Any additional comments?

I don't agree with people complaining about so many of the characters being smart-alecks. I enjoyed every bit of the wise-cracking repartee and just accepted it as a cultural thing common to this fantasy world. This "Cycle" reminded me a lot of the Riyria Chronicles. I'd say it doesn't quite measure up to Riyria, but it was still quite enjoyable and I hope there's even more to come in this series.

136 people found this helpful

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An amazing audio experience

This is a hidden gem. I'd never heard of this author before I saw this pop up in the new releases. I however love the narrator and the premise sounded great. It blew me away! Snappy witty dialogue, deep character development, interesting world and magic system. Very satisfying conclusion and with a new Trilogy in the works. Enjoy the ride and don't rush this experience.

134 people found this helpful

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Worst Epic Fantasy of 2015

I pre-ordered this book at once after reading the Publisher's Summary, AND because the books were very long. I like long epic books. Anyway, understanding that this is a dark series, from the Publisher's Summary, I felt prepared for this series, and the First Book met my expectations for the first quarter, or half of the book, at which point I found out that I really didn't like protagonist. He's not the "bad guy you have to love" kind of guy, he's just a jerk, plane and simple.Then he meets his Body Guard and it becames a battle about who could be the biggest jerk. Towards the end of the Book One you find out that there is a Prophecy to fulfill, and it's one that sounded like it would be an interesting path for the story to go. Book Two is just one long sarcastic conversation amongst all of the characters. Not much more to add there and not much about the Prophecy either. In Book Three the protagonist is somewhat repentant, but he's still isn't likeable, and the other characters are still having their long sarcastic conversation. When I finished Book Three I kept thinking what happened to the Prophecy ?!?!? There was supposed to be a Prophecy to fulfill, but there wasn't. What's the author thinking? The magic system was kind of interesting, as far as blood magic. However, by the end of these books the guy has cut himself so much that his arms are one big scar, and that's just gross. These books are just bad. Don't bother with this series, it isn't worth a credit, AND you're certainly not going to miss out on anything.

119 people found this helpful

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Prepare for an overwhelming sense of indifference

I never give reviews, so the simple fact that I'm writing this speaks volumes about how much I didn't like this book.

I thought that getting 3 epic fantasy books for 1 credit would be a steal. Sadly, it didn't take long to to understand why this is offered at only 1 credit, and even at that, it's not worth it. I'll admit that I didn't make it through this entire trilogy. I made it about 2 hours into the second book and decided I just couldn't take it any more. Therefore, most of my opinion is based on the first book.

Plot - The plot was incredibly shallow and lacked any real depth. I found myself not caring whether the main characters, Dante and Blays, succeeded or failed on their quest. There was never any real explanation or sense of urgency as to why their success was so important. Sure, it was explained that it was to "stop a war", but there was never a strong case developed as to whether or not their plan would do that, or what the consequences of their failure would be.

Characters - The characters were not particularly likable and they were never developed enough to know what made them do what they did. I couldn't relate to any of them and really had no emotional attachment to them whatsoever. As others have stated, the two protagonists especially were constantly whining and bickering with each other and everyone else they met along the way. I actually hated Dante, the main character, from the opening scene in the book where he needlessly killed another man in cold blood. In fact, his solution to almost every problem they faced seemed to be to kill someone. I honestly wasn't sure that the antagonist of the book was actually the evil villain or if the ones who sent our "heroes" on their journey would turn out to be the "bad guys". There just wasn't enough background or depth provided on any of them for me to commit either way, or therefore, care either way. During an "epic" battle near the climax of the book, I actually found that it really didn't matter to me what happened to Dante and Blays and I certainly wasn't on the edge of my seat to see if they made it through unscathed.

Magic system - I was actually a bit turned off by the dark nature of the magic system. Blood, shadows and reanimation of dead corpses are normally things reserved for evil wizards. Others may enjoy that sort of thing, but I would rather leave the dark magic to the evil forces and not root for it. Aside from the type of magic, it just wasn't defined very well. How it actually worked and any limitations it had were never satisfactorily explained.

Overall I just didn't enjoy listening to this as much as I wanted to. The narrator did a fine job, there just wasn't a good enough story behind it to make it worth the listen. You'll do better to skip this one and spend the credit on something else.

93 people found this helpful

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Top rate fantasy series, nearly flawless in its development

After a sluggish start, couldn't put it down. Picked this up as a commute time filler and was not disappointed. Excellently crafted storyline surrounded by well developed characters compelling the reader for more!

54 people found this helpful

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Flawless

Our protagonists start out as amoral dirtbags, but become better people as the story progresses. The banter amongst characters is hilarious, sometimes on the Monty Python level. The characters themselves are pretty sharply defined and have their own unique personalities. And it's nice to have a fantasy book where the bad guys aren't trying to destroy the entire fabric of reality.

The narrator is outstanding.

54 people found this helpful

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Not worth even the discount price

Would you try another book from Edward W. Robertson and/or Tim Gerard Reynolds?

No. Imagine how horrible the result would be if you yourself had tried your to write your own version of Robert Jordan-esqe fantasy when you were 14 years old. That's what this feels like. The narrator was OK, but the character portraits in this book was so shallow and cliché that I almost thought it a parody. After a few chapters when I realised that simply throwing the main character into the adventure without any clue as to his motivations, his personality or indeed any of his inner workings except immediate fear of getting killed and an inexplicable drive to learn magic - I turned it of in bewildered disgust.

Has The Cycle of Arawn turned you off from other books in this genre?

I have listened to a hundred books via audible and this is the first time I have written a full review. I just felt that I had to try and warn people.

There is good fantasy, and nowadays with people like GRRM and Sanderson there is no excuse for lack of character

Did Tim Gerard Reynolds do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

The narrator was fine, its just that the characters were so two dimensional that he didn't have much to work with

46 people found this helpful

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  • Robyn
  • 02-21-16

Good potential, poorly executed.

I did plough through the whole trilogy (probably only because it all came at the cost of a single credit for 66 hours of story), but have to admit to being rather disappointed. There was so much potential with the world created, but the plot seemed to lurch from event to event, with huge gaping holes glibly glossed over. Similarly, the characters were under-developed, and all seemed to have the same flippant attitude to events of consequence.............all rather disappointing.

I also found some of the story telling quite jarring at times. For example, this is an "old-world"; with sword fighting and horses as the means of travel.....Yet a throw-away quip by one of the lead characters references "zombies"??!!! I had to rewind just to check I hadn't misheard. Felt horribly out of place.

By the third book in the trilogy, I think the author had settled down a little, and the characters were a little more defined (Blays becomes a little more interesting) but the plot was still so frustratingly shallow and with so many gaping holes its a wonder an editor ever let it get to production.

The narration was ok, although very few characters had real differentiation which could be challenging at times.

If you want mindless entertainment and you are aren't too picky about plots and character development, then this is probably sufficiently entertaining to distract...............however, if you choose to pass this one by, you won't be missing anything.

35 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Bob
  • 12-23-15

Gave up half way.

Any additional comments?

I've got no idea how this novel has attained such a high average score. I listened to over 20 hours before I decided I couldn't take anymore and gave up. The only reason I haven't given it one star is because I have not completed it therefore I cannot completely condemn it as something wonderful may happen after the first 30 hours of listening. The two leading characters are criminally underdeveloped. Why does Dante so desperately want to have magical powers - because he saw somebody else do it once, is that it? Why does his eventual side kick Blase seem willing to follow him unquestionably? Again the answer appears wafer thin. The nonchalant attitude the teenage protagonist show to murder and death really shows the lack of true characterisation. I have read some reviewers talk of how they love the way the two characters talk to each other in crudities and they site this as some sort of evidence of good characterisation however when I listen to it all I hear is pithy nonsense, two teenage best friends who never have a real or meaningful conversation, I've never know such a thing, what is the point of a best friend when your at the most vulnerable time of your life if not to share some of that teenage angst? Plot, in the first 20 hours I have not found one, the main characters bumping into people and believing whatever they are told, going wherever they are directed to go, doing whatever they are told to do, does not constitute a plot in my book. We've got protagonist that don't think, how are you supposed to drive a narrative if you don't think for yourself - the answer is they do not. I am a great fan of the fantasy genre, I love gritty realism and I enjoy getting value for money with a long listen but this is really poor.

32 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • kaskaraN64
  • 06-23-15

Amazing laughs and thought provoking

This good is amazing.
The world that it's set in sounds like it could become a very familiar place indeed.
One of the main reasons I loved this is that the people in it talk to each other just like me and my friends would in the real world couldn't get euff of it was sad to get to the end of the books toughly in joyed every moment if I can find more like it then I will

Thank you for the laughs and the tears

25 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. Mc Booth
  • 12-16-15

Good story spoiled

This could have been great, it had all the ingredients to make an amazing adventure yarn, but is spoiled by too much sarcasm, no one gives a straightforward answer without there being an attempt at humoured smart aleck replies, don't get me wrong, in the right place sarcasm can be funny, but for Dante's sake, give it a rest!!
Having said that I did enjoy the trilogy, but at the same time am glad its finished and I can move on to something with a more balanced and intelligent narrative and storyline.

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • MR
  • 07-26-15

Great value but!!!

Any additional comments?

A bit slow and not a patch on Joe Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy but you do get a lot of listening for 1 credit so for those who like long books like me it's great value and well worth it.

10 people found this helpful

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  • William
  • 08-16-15

An immersing in depth fantasy book.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

to a friend ? to most people . it is a classic book coming of age with with two boys as the main characters one a nethermancer one a swords man. both with good humorous dialogue.

What did you like best about this story?

I really like the interaction an banter found in the book made it very relate able. they dont take them selves to seriously.

Have you listened to any of Tim Gerard Reynolds’s other performances? How does this one compare?

yes the ryira chronicles which also had two main characters.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

as ive said in many many reviews this is a stupid question.

Any additional comments?

this ladies and gents is a good book with a wide world and a great depth of characters , i was so glad all the books where in one as they flow very well and it was enjoyable to see the growth of the lads. it doesn't always go their way as well. would recommend

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Bobbytrixie
  • 07-23-15

Very well narrated!

I'm not sure I would have liked this book half as much if it hadn't been for the narrator. The story was ok, but Tim Gerard Reynolds really brought the characters and story to life. Overall, it was well worth the money.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs M. Page
  • 07-20-15

Very slow book Boreing

What would have made The Cycle of Arawn better?

A story line

What could Edward W. Robertson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Give the boys a life, a story line within the first chapter, add something interesting to keep us wanting to listern, I found it far to slow and no story line until you get into the middle of the book and by that time I was tired of trying to get through it.

Would you be willing to try another one of Tim Gerard Reynolds’s performances?

No

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No I found this book very hard to get into because it was so boreing and no story for such a long time

Any additional comments?

Tim Gerard Reynolds read this book very well, I tried to listern to this book every day for 1 or two hours to get me though it, but I gave up after two weeks at 2 hours a day, I'm sending this book back. I simply find it to boring.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Edward
  • 07-22-15

Exceptional work

What did you like most about The Cycle of Arawn?

Strangely realistic for a fantasy book with likeable an interesting charectors.

What other book might you compare The Cycle of Arawn to, and why?

Works by Peter Brett or Brandon Sanderson.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Would give away plot.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The world can be as ugly as it's heroes

Any additional comments?

Fantastic value for money

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tony
  • 07-10-15

Fantastic

Awesome ripping epic can't fault the office account for when the writer keep seeing tree can't wait for more characters are very descriptive been interested

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 11-15-16

Dissapointed

A long tale but I never felt any connection to the lead character I found it a struggle to get through

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert P. Rumball
  • 04-11-16

Action A'plenty With Weapons, Hands and Magic

If you could sum up The Cycle of Arawn in three words, what would they be?

The first word would be ACTION, the second DESCRIPTIONS and the third has gotta be MAGIC, 'specially the Arawn precursor to Telecom. The LOOM

What other book might you compare The Cycle of Arawn to, and why?

The Shadow of What Was Lost compares favourably, similar protagonists and action, but totally different atmospheres

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Some of the Pub scenes with Dante and Blaes playing up

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Did both at various times

Any additional comments?

Have read it twice already, will read again...

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-22-15

Immature self-centred callous character

Would you try another book written by Edward W. Robertson or narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds?

I would only read another book by Robertson if he developed more mature characters. The story is rather weak, with Dante rapidly developing startling skills, mostly via osmosis.

Any additional comments?

Amazingly, I made it to the end of book 1 before dropping this series in disgust. However, if you would like a change from the average likeable hero, and would like to see an anti-hero who is immature, selfish, callous, and generally behaves in a way we normally see reserved for the evil villain in the book - then this story might be for you.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • R. Goodburn
  • 07-31-17

Frustrating

Constant he said Blaze said Kally said every second sentence doing my head in. If the story flowed and had better narrative I would persevere but not anymore.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Shirley
  • 04-14-17

For the boys or fantasy beginners

Writing style and story lacking complexity and grip. A straight forward read of boys off an adventure.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Nick
  • 04-07-16

Enjoyable story if you can get past the characters

I really tried to enjoy this, but the character dialogue is just so ridiculous. Despite the engaging premise/story, the book gets harder and harder to listen to as almost every single conversation is a relentlessly sarcastic back and forth that gets increasingly grating with each successive conversation. Also, whoever edited this book needs to be slapped for every time the eggcorn "stepped foot" appears as well.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-26-19

funny and moving

found myself laughing out loud to this book. take a risk and enjoy Dante and Blaize's adventures

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Blake
  • 02-24-17

fenominal book!

fenominal book and cant wait for the next few to come! fantastically well read .

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tyrone
  • 12-14-16

people said it was boring....lies

amazing story with soooo many laughs once you get to know the characters. I'll be on the the next book now.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Benjamin
  • 12-07-16

Awesome Narration - Good, Solid, Story

What did you like most about The Cycle of Arawn?

High fantasy setting with huge adventures and completely ridiculous levels of individual ability. Just what you expect from this genre. 60+ hours of escapism.

If you’ve listened to books by Edward W. Robertson before, how does this one compare?

I haven't read any of his books before.

What does Tim Gerard Reynolds bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Tim's voice acting is great. I've listened to a few books narrated by him now. His accent is great for the men of fantasy and his ability to seamlessly shift between the voices is great. How he remembers what voice he used for re-appearing characters is beyond me.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

A bit of both. Due to the genre you always expect key characters may die; though secretly know they'll probably make it back. There were heaps of funny moments where I laughed out loud.

Any additional comments?

The two main characters are often a little too juvenile and annoying. While I appreciate it's also part of the reason I liked the story, I think they could have been a little more serious at times; to better reflect the seriousness of their situations.

1 person found this helpful