Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Midwinter by Matthew Sturges (review)

Title: Midwinter
Author: Matthew Sturges
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 345
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: F Stu
ISBN: 978-1591027348
Cost: $14.95

This is a rare book. That's right, despite being popular enough to rank up there with Peter V. Brett and Ken Scholes in a conversation, this book was hard for me to "get." No, that isn't what makes it rare, what makes it rare is I think this book should be read, not listened to.

Most stories I've listened to (usually via the wonderful service called Audible) are greatly entertaining. Sure, some just didn't cut it, but rarely will I come across a book that is under-served by an audio format. Most benefit from it and some excel with it. Take Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. That's one of the best series to listen to on audio because you can ignore it for a minute or two and not miss any of the action. Harry Potter is another great series because of the quality voice of the reader.

But Midwinter fell flat in some areas. And I'm sure if I were reading it instead of listening to it, I'd "get" the story. Instead, I felt lost during some of the story, like the plot was there but I missed something. Especially at the end. I know the end was special with the big reveal, but I just didn't connect all the pieces together.

With that said, the action in the story did telegraph through the audio version nicely. And I loved the quest-style adventure. Actually it reminded me of The Dirty Dozen and various other plots modeled on it, all of which I've enjoyed. And I loved the cross-world aspect with the human characters, which gave it a Connecticut Yankee flavor (another great genre).

In the end, I would say this was an average book. Nothing terribly great, but certainly nothing terrible. And for the first time that I can remember, I'm going to "un-recommend" the audio version. Instead stick with the book, I think you'll enjoy it better.

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