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The Summoner  By  cover art

The Summoner

By: Gail Z. Martin
Narrated by: Peter Ganim,Gail Z. Martin
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Publisher's Summary

The comfortable world of Martris Drayke, second son of King Bricen of Margolan, is shattered when his older half-brother, Jared, and Jareds dark mage, Foor Arontala, kill the king and seize the throne. Tris is the only surviving member of the royal family aside from Jared the traitor, and he flees with three friends: Soterius, captain of the guard; Carroway, the courts master bard; and Harrtuck, a member of the royal guard.

Tris harbors a deep secret. In a land where spirits walk openly and influence the affairs of the living, he suspects he may be the mage heir to the power of his grandmother, Bava Kaa, once the greatest sorceress of her age. Such magic would make Tris a Summoner, the rarest of magic gifts, capable of arbitrating between the living and the dead.

BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction written and read by author Gail Z. Martin.

©2007 Gail Z. Martin (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Summoner

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    302
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

How do I put this...

Well, to be brief: DO NOT BUY THIS. I think most of the critiques of the narration are accurate. This guy's reading doesn't flow very well. The pauses are in all the wrong spots, and he emphasizes words in such a way that the meaning of the sentence is altered. If it weren't for his (American) accent, I'd assume he wasn't a native speaker. Not to mention he doesn't use the voice that the author describes. He'll use a strange high pitch voice when the author mentions the character is whispering. Odd. The whole thing is choppy at best.

That being said, I'm doubtful that even a superior narrator could do much for this story. It's INCREDIBLY one-dimensional; there's no depth here at all. I felt like I was watching some second rate TV show where the characters have to complete a series of inane quests in order to save the world (think 24, or better yet, the TV version of the Sword of Truth - and yes, the plot in that show IS bad).

Additionally, there's a lack of any glimpses into the character's psychology. Essentially we get a laundry list of the facts that compose the story; there's no internal struggle or personal burden that the characters have to get past. This contributes to a lack of connection with the characters, and ultimately results in the reader not caring who lives or dies in this world because he doesn't know anyone who "lives" there. Dunno if that resonates with anyone else.

I could go on, with other things I don't like, but I'll close with one last point: To be honest, I wouldn't really mind these mediocrities, if there was at least one redeeming factor out there somewhere. I mean, couldn't you have a cool system of magic, or a vivid world, or, or...SOMETHING??? Not here.

Go check out the Mistborn trilogy if you haven't. It's about 27.54 times better than this. Give or take.

47 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

good story, decent narrator

Okay, I admit that this narration is not as wonderful as seen with huge series books like LoTR or Harry Potter, but I keep seeing very bad reviews of narration (as for this book) which, when I get into the book, are perfectly acceptable. I have to give the narration reviews a far worse review than the narrators themselves. My recommendation is: listen to the sample, if it doesn't really turn you off, ignore the narration comments. If I hadn't done that, I'd have missed some very good books.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A huge let down

If this audiobook has any redeeming qualities at all it is that it has matched the narration, which is on par with Microsoft Readers Text-to-Speech function, with a book of suitable depth and quality. It is truly a match made in heaven.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Great story, terrable narration!

I really liked the story & want to follow the adventure, but I really don't know if I can stand to listen to Peter Ganim tell it any longer. All his pauses are in the wrong place & his voice depictions are terrible. Loose the haughtiness & just tell the story.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

ugh

I think the story is mediocre to weak and the narration is flat. Don't waste your hard-earned cash. Try "A Game of Thrones" by George Martin instead

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good Author Bad Narrator

The story is definitely fun. The first reviewer is right about the narrator...listen to the sample before buying and decide for yourself.

6 people found this helpful

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

It's okay

This series reminds me of The Sword of Truth series, only more formulaic and without the unrequited love. It's not a bad series, but its not great either. If you're looking for sword and sorcery and all that goes with it, then this will do. The narrator is marginal,but if you listen at 1.25 then he's not that bad.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Not bad

Narrated not the best. give 4 out of 5 for that reason. however series is amazing.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great book, but author lacks detail / clarity

I gave this 5 stars because the book itself is not at fault for the authors mistakes.

The author tends to use the same expressions repeatedly and seems not to notice ending chapters in the same vain over and over. The author also does a pretty poor job of describing some of the villians and even heros in the title.

The "Summoner" is not given any detail and/or reason behind his power, some vague instances of insight are caught, but not enough to yield any rhyme or reason to the "power". You might say, "This is a fantasy novel, not a scifi, deal with it" if it werent for the blatantly made-up situations that seem to come across. Basically, not justifying ones actiosn early in the book yields less than surprising results later on and i know from experience that the sequels are less than grand.

On another note, I'd like to speak to the ediotr to ask what he was thinking letting the author repeatedly use the same dry expressions (after book 2 they get old...).


5/5 for an amazing start to the series. Great book, good hook, perhaps a little wordy, good storyline.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Mage coming into his power

If you like Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series...you will like this book.
Narrator does a good job (not annoying)....and the story is interesting and has good development.
I kept imagining the Necromancer Avatar in Diablo II (computer game by Blizzard) while reading. It made Tris Seem more badass to me. It's like when I see a lame movie, that is from a good book. If I see the movie first i can't get the actors face out of my head and annoys me. So having some reference pictures in mind make the listening experience that much better.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tailtrix
  • 01-11-16

Loved it

Engaging emotional at times. Love all the characters. Cant wait to read next one. Narrator gives each character more personality. I did really like this.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • neil
  • 03-24-14

The most annoying naration ever

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

A different narator would have saved the book - he was awful wish I'd read it on my kindle

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Summoner?

Good plot

Would you be willing to try another one of Gail Z. Martin and Peter Ganim ’s performances?

No

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

disappointment

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew hall
  • 10-02-20

Undead and underwhelming

Books like this: A Warrior’s Path, Belgariad, Sword of Truth

TLDR: A fantasy adventure following a necromancer/prince on the run from his evil brother. This book is for people who don’t look too hard into the practicality of situations and just want an easy listen/read. If you are just along for the ride then you will have a good time. Just don’t try to dissect the events too hard or the whole thing quickly loses its shine.

I have some issues with this book. Don’t get me wrong, it has its strengths, but as I listed out the negatives, they far, far outnumber the positives.
So this book follows the harrowing flight of Prince Martris Drayke after his evil half-brother murders their father and Martris’s sister and mother. Martris and his companions must first flee from the reach of his brother and the dark sorcerer that is pulling his brother’s strings and then start to formulate a plan to retake the kingdom. All of this is aided by the fact that Martris is a Summoner, able to commune and interact with the dead. Now that’s a solid premise going in, but it’s in the execution that I have issues.
First and foremost, this book is completely lacking in nuance. The bad guys are bad because they constantly do bad things just because they are bad, bad people… who like being bad… because they are baddies, and often that is about as deep as it gets. I mean, Jared (the murderous half-brother) is evil to the point of idiocy. I know he’s been a coddled prince his whole life and is a full blown psychopath, but from a practical perspective, the atrocities that he immediately starts to carry out after usurping the crown would have both his peasantry and nobility up in arms in all of a few weeks, closely followed by a unified alliance of every surrounding nation as they got word of this absolute nut job and the recklessness with which he is both murdering his own populous and clearly scheming to invade any other nation he can. It’s just stupid. He’s supposed to be mentored by an evil mage who has lived and plotted for hundreds of years, but even the skivvy that cleans the chamber pots would be able to tell that his course of action is not only unsustainable, its patently idiotic from a practical stand point. I know, I know, not every reader/listener is going to dissect the long-term impacts of such a terrible king to the same degree that I am, but to me, realism/practicality is key to immersion for a book, and the short-sightedness and illogic of our antagonists’ actions kept dragging me out of the outwardly well-crafted world that Gail Martin has created.
This lack of nuance then spreads to the bane of good writing: the magical MacGuffin, buckets and buckets of magical MacGuffins. A very specific bad guy to destroy? Oh, we just so happen to have a very specific magic sword for that which, as luck would have it, can only be gained by someone with your very specific set of skills. Going to need a way to become immune to a certain type of evil creature? Have no fear, we have a one-of-a-kind magical amulet designed to do exactly that which you will just randomly find and, as it just so happens, has a whole backstory linking it to one of your companions. The companion wasn’t carrying said trinket though. It just turns up. Isn’t that lucky? The list goes on and on and on, and half of them aren’t even used in this book but are clearly set up to be used in later books. Here is something that needs to be said: just because you’ve foreshadowed a McGuffin, doesn’t make it any less of a MacGuffin. And this fault extends to the character as well.
Our group of heroes stumble across exactly the right people at exactly the right times to save themselves over and over again, each time tearing me from what is otherwise a very engrossing story to make me give the obligatory eye roll. Now Martin does create a very credible explanation for all this. Basically, the Lady (the many faced goddess of this universe) is manipulating the world to ensure that our heroes survive, placing exactly who and what they need exactly where it will be needed. However, providing a lore-friendly explanation for this platter of extreme serendipity doesn’t detract from the fact that using so many so frequently is just, in my opinion, lazy writing. There are no clever and gripping solutions to a problem. No real threats that put our heroes in any real danger. No matter how bad the situation, I know beforehand that someone or something will just so happen by that will save the good guys and waylay the bad guys. And don’t even get me started on the magic system, or rather lack thereof. There’s no explanation as to how it works. It just happens. At the end of the book I was left with exactly zero understanding of how magic in this universe works other than some people can do magic, and even then, it isn’t consistent. The more I write about the negatives, the more frustrates I become because this could have actually been a really good book for multiple reasons.
Firstly, the characters are good. Yes, you’ve got a few tropes in there like the lady’s man swordsman and the flippant and quick-witted bard, but at their cores these are all well written characters with decent levels of development with genuinely intriguing personalities. One in particular I really liked (Jonmark Vahanian), and frankly there were times when he and he alone was all that was keeping me listening to the book in the face of so many issues. More importantly, even in the face of all the problems I had with this book, it is still entertaining. The interactions between the characters are wonderful, even when what they are going to do becomes almost comically predictable.
This wasn’t an awful book. It really wasn’t. I’m half tempted to download the next book just to see where the tale goes, though for the characters’ sakes and not so much the storyline as a whole due to the high level of predictability. I think this book was written for an audience that doesn’t look too deeply into the minutia of every little thing and who are just supposed to enjoy the ride. I am not one of those people. To me, a writer must establish the extraordinary aspects of their universe and then build their story around events that are credible within their extraordinary setting. Feasible events from the writer breeds feasible emotions in the reader, and for me at least, there was just so much of the unfeasible in this book that it entirely overshadowed its shining qualities.
As for the narration, Peter Ganim’s range of voices was good all round, though there were quite a few times when the emotion or tone of the voice didn’t match that which was being described. It’s a little annoyance that only occurred sparingly, but it was enough to add a slight tarnish to what was otherwise a greater performance.

Personal Score: 2.5 stars
Professional Score: 2.75 stars



  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Adam Hall
  • Adam Hall
  • 09-03-19

Great book - Don’t be put off!

I loved it.
What I don’t get is why people complain about narrators! You listen to the sample, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it! I have listened to various narrators and we all have are favourites. Read these books before and loved them.
Hope you enjoy all

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jan
  • 03-22-14

Good Listen

What did you like most about The Summoner?

The storyline is superb you get so involved with the characters and they are portrayed brilliantly. I would recommend any of Gail Z Martins books total fan

What other book might you compare The Summoner to, and why?

This book stands on its own brilliant well written

Would you listen to another book narrated by Gail Z. Martin and Peter Ganim ?

Hmm think so as love her books

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

No

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Miss
  • 12-07-13

Just what I was looking for

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

Adult Garth Nix

Who was your favorite character and why?

Verhainian, he's all manly and stubborn yet still likeable

Which character – as performed by Gail Z. Martin and Peter Ganim – was your favourite?

Michale, very mysterious and intriguing

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

Many parts of the book made me laugh out loud, even though the plot is a serious one, the characters are so well developed you can't help but feel what they feel

Any additional comments?

I had been looking for a saga or trilogy to match trudi canavan and robin hobb and stumbled upon this, I have since listened to the rest of the saga and would recommend all to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy.