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review 2017-11-28 17:17
Great start to a trilogy.
A Plague of Giants - Deutschland Random House Audio,Kevin Hearne,Xe Sands,Luke Daniels

A Plague of Giants is the first book I have read by Kevin Hearne and I fell in love with the story and the author.  It is high fantasy, and the first book of a proposed trilogy. The author used a unique way to tell the story, one you will either hate or love, and it worked so well.

The story is about two invading forces of Giants, one in the north and one in the south. They invade the land of Teldwen, made up of six nations.  This invasion has become known as the Giants’ War. The story is told by Fintan, a Raelech bard, who has been gifted with magical powers (called a keening) that allows him to project his voice across vast distances and gives him an eidetic memory to be able to recall all the details of an event so that he can accurately relate the event.

In addition to his keening, Fintan uses a seeming stone that allows him to take on the persona of anyone he wishes. He uses this technique to hold his audience spell bound as the story of the Giants’ War unfolds from the view point of the various individuals he has meet during his travels.

Each new persona has a different story to tell that makes up the whole of the Giants’ War. Fintan tells the story over numerous days to the people who have lived through the war and are now assembled on Survivor’s Field.  Some of the personas the bard assumes are not always cast in the best possible light. This has created problems for himself and the scribe, Master Dervan, which accompanies him in order to record and preserve the story.

There is a lot going on in this book since it has many points of view (11 in all… I think) and you must read carefully to fully understand what is going on. At first, it was a lot to absorb, but as I got deeper into the story all the pieces started to fit together and I could not read fast enough. I loved the complexity of the story though I acknowledge that it will not appeal to everyone. The world building is outstanding and this is a must for me. The prose was also really good and despite the length (over 600 pages) it read like a much shorter book because I become so immersed in the world that it felt like the pages turned effortlessly.

In short, this is my kind of book. I am already looking forward to the next book in the series. I hope it is not a long wait. I recommend this to all loves of epic fantasy. The story is sure to entertain you.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Source: www.thespineview.com/genre/sci-fi-fantasy/a-plague-of-giants-by-kevin-hearne
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review 2017-11-08 13:38
My Review of A Plague of Giants
A Plague of Giants - Deutschland Random House Audio,Kevin Hearne,Xe Sands,Luke Daniels

A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne is the first installment in the Seven Kennings. Fintan is a bard that tells the story of the war of giants.

 

I was excited to read Hearne's book as I had heard great things about his books, but this was such a disappointment. There were a lot of characters to keep up with, which wasn't a problem. The world building is incredible. My problem was the dialogue between characters. While I love a good dialogue, it can make or break a story. In this case it broke the story. I felt as though I was in a lecture hall listening to a very boring professor. I give this book two stars for the complexity of the world building and character development.

 

I received this book from Random House Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-10-26 12:48
#Audiobook Review: A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
A Plague of Giants - Deutschland Random House Audio,Kevin Hearne,Xe Sands,Luke Daniels

A Plague of Giants is the first book in a new fantasy series from one of my favorite authors, Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid Chronicles). Set in a world where certain members of the population are blessed with Kennings - the ability to manipulate one of the four elements, plants, or animals - although no one has discovered the sixth Kenning (animal control) yet. The six nations of the known world coexist in a tenuous peace; however, that all changes the day that the mysterious Bone Giants attack several cities along the coast. Coming from an unknown land, these warriors dressed in bones, speaking an unknown language, cut down all that stand in their path.

 

A Plague of Giants is the first part of an epic tale. Similar to the first book in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the book shares the journeys and battles of the land and its people, ending not at the conclusion, yet not on a cliffhanger, but rather, at a point of rest in between the parts of the whole. This story is shared in two ways within each chapter, both in present day and in flashbacks that cover the past year or so. 

 

First, the story is narrated in present day by Dervan, a scholar and historian, friend of the ruling king, and survivor of the Bone Giant attack. Willing to help his country as asked, he gets wrapped up in potential espionage and political maneuvering. From his point of view, readers are able to experience how the war has impacted the various classes of people. Additionally, he gives the story a personal connection - a way to internalize the massive events unfolding before our eyes. 

 

Dervan’s primary job by order of Pelenaut Röllend (king) is to accompany Fintan, the Raelech bard, each day and record the knowledge and the tales Fintan shares with the masses on Survivor Field. A Raelech bard has perfect memory recall and the ability to transform shape into the character who’s story he shares. The pelenaut believes Fintan to be a spy of the Triune Council, and wants the details of his day observed. 

 

This leads to the second method of storytelling, which is the bard’s recounting of the events of the Giants’ War. By taking on the personas of key figures of the war and sharing their stories, readers slowly learn about how the lands arrived in their current state. But Fintan is not only sharing this story with the reader, but with the masses of refugees, who have little knowledge of the bigger picture and totality of the war. There are a number of characters, and at first it is difficult to see any connections. However, the larger picture becomes clearer as the tales go on, eventually leading to a full view of the multi-front war with two sets of giants.

 

It was difficult to follow along at first. Mr. Hearne just tosses the reader into his tale without any guides. Once I got used to the method of storytelling - the back and forth between the past and present - I was able to just listen and absorb. The story on whole is engrossing, made more so by the amazing narration. And although the ending is a bit abrupt (see reference to LotR above), it didn’t detract from my enjoyment. This book is meant to be experienced, and I think I would have struggled reading it rather than listening to it. I had to get out of my usual mindset of taking detailed notes and trying to figure it all out, and rather just absorb and experience the massive tale.

 

The performances of Luke Daniels and Xe Sands are phenomenal! Most of the narrative is read by Mr. Daniels. He is the primary voices of Dervan and Fintan and all male flashback/memories. Ms. Sands jumps in to share the bard’s female-centric stories, and carries forward her performance to include the bard and Dervan once the flashback concludes. Both provide a massive array of accents and tones, ranging heavy and deep (Gorin Mogen, Hearthfire of Harthrad), to airy and light (Nel Kit Ben Sah, Fornish greensleeve). Both provide such a variety of inflections, emotions; their ranges wow’d me. It was so easy to get lost in their storytelling, enabling me to sit back and enjoy this story.

 

In the end, I enjoyed my time spend with Dervan, Fintan, and this fascinating new world of the Seven Kennings. While I may have struggled at times to keep up with the massiveness of the tale, once I was able to just let go and listen, I found myself deeply engrossed in the stories and characters. I look forward to finding out what happens next for the citizens of these lands.

 

My Rating: B+

Narration (both): A

 

Review copies provided by NetGalley/Publisher (print) and Random House Audio (audio)

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review 2017-10-18 17:07
The Seventh Plague by James Rollins
The Seventh Plague - James Rollins

If the biblical plagues of Egypt truly happened--could they happen again--on a global scale?

Two years after vanishing into the Sudanese desert, the leader of a British archeological expedition, Professor Harold McCabe, comes stumbling out of the sands, frantic and delirious, but he dies before he can tell his story. The mystery deepens when an autopsy uncovers a bizarre corruption: someone had begun to mummify the professor's body--while he was still alive.

His strange remains are returned to London for further study, when alarming news arrives from Egypt. The medical team who had performed the man's autopsy has fallen ill with an unknown disease, one that is quickly spreading throughout Cairo. Fearing the worst, a colleague of the professor reaches out to a longtime friend: Painter Crowe, the director of Sigma Force. The call is urgent, for Professor McCabe had vanished into the desert while searching for proof of the ten plagues of Moses. As the pandemic grows, a disturbing question arises.

Are those plagues starting again?

 
**********
 

The Seventh Plague is the 12th book in the Sigma Force series and Painter Crowe, Grey Pierce, Seichan, and Kowalski, etc. are back trying to save the world from a deadly threat. This time it seems that they deadly plagues from the Bible could happen again.

This book did not have intense and wonderful thrilling feeling that the last book had. However, it was interesting to read, the idea that the plagues could have happened for real and the theory for it and I loved the historical part of the book that Rollins' included Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla in the story, although they did not have a large part in the whole story (unfortunately).


But, as much as I liked the idea, and enjoyed reading the book, is this not the strongest or the most interesting book I have read in this series and there are no weeping moments (like the ending of the last book in the series). The story was best towards the end when they were searching for a cure. But, Painter Crowe's mission on the Ellesmere Island that intertwined Pierce teams search for the cure was just not so interesting to read and the madman behind the whole thing was not a memorable villain.

The Seventh Plague, worked thanks to my love for biblical and historical mysteries. The story did not move me or enthralled me in the way I had hoped it would do. I did like the ending very much when Pierce team found something extraordinary in the jungle in Africa. That's the part I liked the most. I liked the book, but I did not love it. It's still well written and I'm really intrigued by the scientific part of the story, the theory about what could have set off the plagues all those years ago. 
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review 2017-10-16 21:45
Great idea, less than great execution
A Plague of Giants - Deutschland Random House Audio,Kevin Hearne,Xe Sands,Luke Daniels
Let me start by saying the Kevin Hearne is a talented writer with some absolutely brilliant stories. I loved his Iron Druid Chronicles and was so excited to see this start to a new series.
A Plague of Giants comes in at 600+ pages and is quite the undertaking, especially with so many characters and situations. The premise is an exciting one and quite often, there are some amazing scenes to hold a reader's interest. The problem lies in the execution of the story. It is told by Dervan, a historian and that, in itself, wouldn't be bothersome except that Dervan is retelling the stories that the bard,  Fintan, is telling to the people gathered to listen. So, basically, this is a story of a story, or more accurately, several stories of stories. The way the bard goes about it is imaginative with the optical illusions and colorful language, but each chapter is a different story. By the time I was able to get into each individual tale, it was coming to a close and time for the next, creating a rather disjointed story. 
As this is a series, the story will continue in the next book, but by the time I got to end of this one, I found that I'm not sufficiently invested in any of the characters to see where it goes from here. 
Hearne is a favorite for this reader and I'll be looking forward to seeing what comes after this series. Unfortunately, this one missed the mark and was just okay for me. 
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