Customer Reviews


21 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:
 (9)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic! but i am biased
i loved the raven series and was mortified when i finished the last of them, so i was really pleased when i heard about newborn. this was tempered slightly when i saw the size of it, its a monster! and for the first half of it i was

lost in a sea of funny names (for people and places) and alot of administrative detail that i found hard to digest. however i...
Published on 8 Jun. 2006 by Walnut47

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too long
The main gripe I have with this book is that it is 800 pages long, the author could have comfortably covered the material needed within 400 pages. It was a struggle to get through, but ultimately it is a diverting story that is told. It slowly builds up and just takes too long to get going.

The 4 ascendants are the main point of the story, and we have to go...
Published on 19 Nov. 2007 by R. S. Brar


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic! but i am biased, 8 Jun. 2006
i loved the raven series and was mortified when i finished the last of them, so i was really pleased when i heard about newborn. this was tempered slightly when i saw the size of it, its a monster! and for the first half of it i was

lost in a sea of funny names (for people and places) and alot of administrative detail that i found hard to digest. however i believe its all necessary and totally worth it. when it all 'kicks off' the story flys and the characters are so solid they might as well have been real people. the children are a little plodding as characters but they seem to be picking up with age. all in all i loved it, the battles are exquisite (as Barclay always are) im so looking forward to the sequel, cant believe its not out till september!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good things come if you wait...!, 12 Jan. 2006
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
After his highly entertaining Raven series, many of us were waiting this new series with eager anticipation.
This is set in a world where a Roman type empire is expanding and funding itself through taxation and the drafting of local armies. Very much the key elements are expansion, tax and religion. Into this world comes the birth of four children with exceptional powers that are at odds with the agreed religion of the empire.
This comes at a time where the empire over-expands and becomes involved in a war that they are on the verge of losing, the future of the empire is at stake! And what of the powers being wielded by the four children…?
This is a brave attempt by the author to move away from his Raven chronicles and to venture into new territories. I loved his Raven stuff and was really looking forward to this….
Initially I was quite depressed and frustrated, the story gets off to a very slow start and some of the hierarchy was confusing and over detailed. For 100 pages or so I thought the author had delivered a stinker but then suddenly it all kicked off and the story sucked me in. The story became exciting, the characters started to flesh out and the action became intense.
In the end I really enjoyed it and all credit to the author, it is another winner.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic and spectacular, 5 Mar. 2007
By 
I bought this as soon as it came out. I read the Raven novels with great enjoyment, so I had very high hopes for this.

I wasn't disappointed. It is a little slower in pace than Dawntheif at the beginning, but once it builds up the momentum, you cannot put it down. Again James Barclay has created a wonderfully visual and brilliantly imagined magic system, a set of characters beautifully realised, some you will love, others you will hate. Paul Jehred in particular is a blazing character :) utterly brilliant stuff.

I'm currently reading Shout for the Dead, which is continuing the series in excellent fashion.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too long, 19 Nov. 2007
By 
R. S. Brar (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The main gripe I have with this book is that it is 800 pages long, the author could have comfortably covered the material needed within 400 pages. It was a struggle to get through, but ultimately it is a diverting story that is told. It slowly builds up and just takes too long to get going.

The 4 ascendants are the main point of the story, and we have to go through how they deal with their powers. This develops from standard fantasy story device to something much more interesting as they are fleshed out into different characters. Also Barclay manages convey a real sense of how their magic works and the toll it takes on the children and the reaction of the rest of the continent.

The war is superbly described, from the small raids on towns to the larger pitched battles between armies. Not only the battles but the consequences the war has on the different countries involved.

The stand out character is Exchequer, the tax-man steals the show with his hard nosed approach to collections and loyalty the Conquard.

If you have the patience, this is an enjoyable book, but be warned there is a second part to trudge through, which will probably be just as long.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars worth sticking with, 23 Jun. 2009
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
i have to agree in part with the poorer reviews, this is not as fast or as witty as the raven books all of which i thought were great. It does take a lot of time for the characters to take shape and few of them grabbed my interest immediately. The roman type empire was a little hard to get a handle on initially, unless of course you already have good roman knowledge. It is worth sticking with it though because it does pick up considerably and by the time you reach the end you really do want to find out what is comming in the second book, which is far more interesting and moves at a much faster pace.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Slow but Invigorating, 27 Jun. 2013
This is book has a slow first two hundred or so pages. The author though uses these pages to create vivid characters that don't fit in any one mold. Well except Gorian but every good book needs a megalomaniac or two. The middle of the book begins to pick up pace but suffers from focusing on the supporting military characters too much to the point that non-military characters fail to develop properly with motives becoming that of typical fantasy or non-existent. The last third of the book the pace is there moving the reader page to page but the issues from the middle of the book become prominent in the end with supporting military characters falling into general genre roles. With each military character becoming nearly invincible or suffering some minor non-life threatening injury. The book would have benefited greatly from the deaths of a few more supporting characters and for the characters who at the begining of the book were so broad and life-like to not become stereotypical roles. Chief among them being Jherd who was unique and colorful before falling into a guardian like role by the end of the novel. Also this book (at least the edition i read) had no map which left me at times confused where in Barclays world characters were.

Yes the book has faults and characters becoming genre classics (defender, honest general, star struck lover) but it manages to create a unique and inviting world.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious, 29 Oct. 2010
Spoilers

I was a fan of chronicles of the raven but certainly it was nothing out of the ordinary in the sword and sorcery section of the fantasy genre.

This is far more ambitious, which is the great strength of the book. The author has worked hard to create historically realistic combat of a certain historical epoch. In this case the Roman empire at its height and the invasion and disater in Tsard is very reminiscent of the Roman Empires defeat in its invasion of Persia. The world is fully realised and fairly unique (unlike the generic one in the raven) and the system of magic is interesting and well thought through. The book is also very gripping in its mid to final stages.

Now the negative there are far too many POV characters, most of whom are barely realised beyond their rank and function. ThIS seems to be because he wants to depict ALL of the battles in the latter stages of the war. Characterisation deeply suffers as a result I can think of only a few characters that are fully fleshed out as people.

A further criticism is the long drawn out start to the book. Flashbacks are an overused plot device in both books and TV shows etc, but this book was crying out to start somewhere interesting and flashback to something vital in the past. The long drawn out prologue to the disater in Tsard was predictable and rather dull, as was Gorian's descent into the 'dark side'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars roll on the next one, 17 Jan. 2006
By 
After the simple blood and gore plotlines of the raven books that i enjoyed so much i struggled with the first few pages of this book. I am glad that i kept with it. This is an excellent book and Barclay has weaved a much more complex and mature story that is the best that i have read in this genre for some time. Roll on the next installment!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 27 Nov. 2006
By 
I'm afraid I have to agree with the negative review below. I am another huge fan of the Chronicles of the Raven series, and eagerly awaited his new book.

Such a disappointment! The Raven series worked so well because the fantastic characters drew you in and made you care about them and what was happening. Even more impressively, he finished the series on a real climax rather than just limping to the end as long running series tend to do. So I had really high hopes for his next book.

Such a disappointment! It almost seems like Mr Barclay has had the popular acclaim from the Raven, and now felt he had to do something "serious" for the critics. I'm afraid it just reads like a travel guide to Ancient Rome. No characters I care about (or even really know), no discernible plot, no emotion, nothing but page after page of setup. Maybe the payoff from all that setup comes in the final third of the book, but I wouldn't know because I just couldn't get through it.

Essentially, if you liked the long-winded, "world defining" bits in Lord of the Rings - I'm talking to you Tom Bombadil - then you will love this. If you preferred the plot-driven sections then try the Raven series instead.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big book Big story, 24 Oct. 2005
By 
This review is from: Cry of the Newborn: The Ascendants of Estorea Book 1 (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Hardcover)
If you have read Barclay's fantastic Raven books be pleased to know this is not a Raven rewrite, its better. This is an epic story set in a Romanesque Empire which is about to fall apart. It takes a bit of getting into as there is a lot of information to take in about the structure of the Conquord and its people, but you are soon drawn in to the world created and the characters become very real. Add to this the birth of magic in a secluded town by a secret sect resulting in four petulant teenagers with burgeoning power in a world not ready for them. The battles are well described on the grand scale but also on a personal level, with the harsh realities of war on the populace and the armies being brought to the fore.The insular decadent life of those in power is contrasted well with those on the front line. On a female note it was refreshing to see women in high ranks and fighting as equals in the army. I liked the way the magic evolved and the teenagers are believable. This book absorbed me completely. Barclay brings it all to life with wit and passion. It may be just over 800 pages long but once you get into it you will be happy to carry it everywhere to read at every opportunity
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Cry of the Newborn: The Ascendants of Estorea Book 1 (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Used & New from: £0.47
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews