15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A word of warning to those new to Ian Irvine
Where to begin...
Ian Irvine is a truly 'great' writer of Science Fiction. In my opinion there can be no doubt. He writes in a manner that adds realism to the unreal and all of his books are epic in the extreme. His first series was an inspiration to me, forcing me to rethink the genre itself from 'trashy Sci-Fi' (please note, I use this phrase with affection, I love...
Published on 28 Mar 2003
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Deprived of tangible characters and plot
i've read the previous reviews with immense surprise. I actually bought this book after reading some reviews on here and have to say the book does not deserve the accolades some reviewers have bestowed upon it. The characters including the main protaganist is colorless and lacks empathy. The story is slow and boring and nothing much happens.I'm not sure what book the...
Published on 13 Dec 2010 by CiscoBear
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A word of warning to those new to Ian Irvine,
By A Customer
Where to begin...
Ian Irvine is a truly 'great' writer of Science Fiction. In my opinion there can be no doubt. He writes in a manner that adds realism to the unreal and all of his books are epic in the extreme. His first series was an inspiration to me, forcing me to rethink the genre itself from 'trashy Sci-Fi' (please note, I use this phrase with affection, I love all Sci-Fi) to GOOD fiction and more importantly: GOOD literature.
With this new novel "Geomancer", he returns to the world of his original series. He takes an already ambitious plot and backdrop and increases those features tenfold. There is a price to this however. In his entirely admirable pursuit of realistic characters and general population he has strayed a little into adding what I would describe as 'mumbo jumbo' or technical jargon. For those comming to Geomancer after having read the first series you will have no problem at all adapting and accepting this characteristic of the book and I am certain you will LOVE the novel in all its glory (in which case, read my rating as 5 stars, I insist). However, newcomers I feel will be more than a little overwhelmed, this is very sad indeed because it may very well cause them to put down what is a VERY good book and the beginning of yet another series of genius. For this reason alone I used 4 rather than 5 stars.
I hope my words do not cause a single person to have second thoughts. I consider myself an intelligent reader (I guess I would though wouldnt I?) and I drew alot of pleasure from the first series, likewise I believe most other readers will feel the same way. This novel is in my opinion not as openly clever as the first novel of the first series, however its sheer scope and imaginative grounding is breathtaking. If the author can continue the series without stumbling, it should make a more than worthy -though slightly different- successor to "The View from the Mirror".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A review on the Tetralogy,
Instead of writing a review for each book of the tetralogy, I'd like to write just one.
First of all, it's not what I expected given the names of the books. I was expecting a book in a highgly magical world, but this isn't, is set in a low magic world (so don't expect wizards blasting the skies, nor doing anything too flashy). There is magic, or I should better say various types of magic, but it tires its users a lot and can create just minor to moderate effect.
Secondly, these books form a continous story, and should be considered as one big story. In other words, the books are not independent from each other.
The story is about many characters, each of which interesting, with his human frailties and even making mistakes, some even inexperinced and selfish, but that slowly grow as human beings. In their own way they truly make the story more interesting and I actually cared to see what happened to almost each of them throughout the 4 books.
To the story then (in short). It's about a great war on an Island/Continent between Humanity and a race coming from the Void (called the Lyrinx) and now fully established on the continent. Each of them has powerful claws, wings and eat humans, althogh not all of them fly (those who do need magic to aid thier flight, and not all of them are capable of it).
Obviously the story involves characters learning about the world, about magic, about the enemy, the truth behind the war and how to find practical solutions to end it and have all sorts of mis-adventures, being hunted both by humanity's leaders and the enemy and it's quite well presented, with a non-obtrusive writing style with a very good flow, no excessivly long descriptions and loads of action.
My only critique is that he had separated too much his characters for the first two books and a half. The story would split into three threads, and sometimes as many as 100 pages went through before the story would go on with a character and a particular thread, just to be cut again and leaving you hanging, and making me lose interest. This, unforunately has been overdone in the second book, and it's bad because it ruins your immersion in things.
Luckily, the Author learned from his mistakes and he stopped doing this by the middle or so of the third book, making the third book very good, and the forth just excellent, bringing forth just one thread that makes you unable to keep the book down.
In conclusion, even if all books have an underlying great story/writing style:
Geomancer: Great start, but a little fractioned: 4 stars
Tetrarch: Good story, but ruined by excessive number of story-threads: 3 stars
Alchymist: Starts slow, but when all characters are all back together becomes really focused and incredibly good. At the end of the book there is one of the best scenes I have read about (that actually carries on on the forth book) 4 stars.
Chimaera: Ian Irvine's masterpiece. It had me go "wow" several times, and shows how the author has grown up as a writer. 5 stars
Now, I am really looking forward for his new tetralogy (but not the previous one).
I hope this review was useful.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars even better than the last series,
I was half expecting to be dissapointed with this book since the previous series finished so strongly. My worries were however completely unfounded, since within a few dozen pages I was captivated by new characters and social structure.
Having read this and some of the later books in the series I was really struck by how much Irvines story telling has improved. The Well of Echoes is, as a series, in general much better paced and constructed story than View from the Mirror (the early books in VFTM were quite hard work in places). Infact its paced to perfection - better than ANY fantasy book I've ever read (and Ive read quite a lot). This is the first time that I have read a book with parallel plot lines where I was not in the least bit frustrated when it swapped over since the interest and excitement of the story was so well balanced between them. Never once did I think "I've got read this chapter quick to get back to the other plot line". Its almost as it Irvine has learned some lessons from Lian the master story teller hero of the first series :-).
In short this second series from Irvine is the best fantasy series since Fiests Rift War.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great start to the series, I cant wait to get the other one and read it,
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I stumbled across another book by this author and loved it. So wanted to give this a try. It didnt disappoint. If you like action packed fantasy then this is a good read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Stuff!,
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This review is from: Geomancer: The Well of Echoes: Volume One (Kindle Edition)
Well. What can I say that has not already been said about this authors books. Ian Irvine is just simply one of the best fantasy authors I have ever read. I thoroughly enjoyed his first quartet 'The View From The Mirror', but for some unknown reason it has taken me many years to read his second series. I have only read the first 2 books of this series so far, but both have been breathtaking in their scope. The second book, 'Tetrarch' especially has a cataclysmic cliffhanger ending. Can't wait to read the rest of the series.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant,
The Well of Echoes is my favourite Ian Irvine series. Geomancer starts very oddly in a manufactory set in a world where life is hard and full of strange and wonderful machinery. The novel is beautifully written and full of surprises. Characterisation is brilliant with a slow but good development of each person. Nish's father is superb and you eventually start to feel sorry for Nish as eventually he starts to show a glimmer of heroics.
5.0 out of 5 stars It started with a View from the Mirror,
Irvine does it again! An unbelieveable start to yet another fantastic series. We are taken to Santhenar to follow the journey of Tiaan and other great characters. I loved the book and am happily looking forward to the rest of the series (already on Tetrarch - which if i say so is brilliant as well). If you love epic adventure stories then Irvine is for you and he takes you a beautifully told adventure with characters of all types. READ IT! :-)
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow to start. But once it gets going...,
I'll be honest, I didn't buy this book looking for very much more than distraction on a long train journey, it was going off cheap and was a decent size so I gave it a shot. This is great; highly enjoyable and well thought out plot, interesting characters an a fully-rounded world, I can't wait to read the next one.
At first this is a very slow read, not boring exactly but nothing particularly interesting happens for a fair amount of the first section of the book. On reflection I can see why this style of opening was necessary to the book as it provides the rules of the world in which the book takes place, gives you a look at the politics of the situation and the characters involved as well as introducing us to the war which the whole thing's about (sort of). It's also very useful to someone like me who hasn't read any of the previous books set in this world as it lets you know what's happened before hand.
Once we get through the opening however, this book quickly transforms into a fast-paced and complex chase laced with moral-ambiguity as we don't clearly come down on either side as good or evil. The book follows three main characters in parallel but closely linked plot-lines which flow together really well and don't suffer from "Gotta read this bit quickly so I can get to the other storyline" syndrome, all holding our attention equally.
The characters are believable within the rules of the world and are given nicely layered personalities with even the cold-hearted Irisis beginning to show unexpected depth by the end of the book. They don't really stick to the standard fantasy archetypes (though I've not actually read very much fantasy I have to admit), feeling much more human and much less heroic than you'd expect.
I can't think of much else to say. It's a solid and very satisfying fantasy thriller with well-rounded characters, a well thought out setting, decently paced story and an ending that'll leave you wanting more. An all round great read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing,
(Quick note, the opinions below, while aimed at this book, take the entire Well of Echoes series into account).
I had never heard of Ian Irvine and, to be honest, when I started this hadn't read any fantasy stuff in quite a while (apart from a re-read of LoTR when the movies came out.
To be honest, I am not a huge fantasy novel fan - this, I think it mainly because of bad experiences with sub-standard, tolkeinesque immitations.
Irvine, however, has restored my faith in fantasy literature. Without reading any of his previous works and hearing absolutely nothing about it (apart from a friend saying "borrow this, it's pretty good") I went from apathetic to fan. In fact, I read the first three and got a tad upset when I found the Chimera hadn't even been released by the time I'd finished the third book...
To allay some fear regarding technobabble and terminology, to be honest, I didn't find any of it difficult at all. Well, if I did I can't remember - I may have just ignored it and got swept away in the story.
Technically, this could be classed as 'steampunk'. A fantasy world, yet dark and gritty with technology slightly more advanced than your average fantasy faire.
Another thing I like is that, unlike Tolkien, there is no good and bad. There is no obvious "this is a bad person" or "they are a good guy". There is just people doing what people do to survive. Relatively early in the book you realise even the Lyrinx are not 'evil' - again, they are just surviving.
Anyway. Forget genres. If you like a damn good read that's not just a cookie cut "get party together, have adventures from A to B, kill bad buy", if you like well writted, superbly paced stories with believable characters with their own beliefs, understandings and human failings and sweeping, epic plots that don't feel too contrived then this book should be read.
And my final, honest opinion? I preffered it to LoTR...
4.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive,
This is an extraordinary book.
It is fantastically written and I couldn't put it down, reading for hours at a time. His characters are rich and well thought through, complex and very lifelike in their personalities.
The only reason I didn't give it five stars is that the history or this little world he has created can be quite difficult to follow and the technical jargon takes some getting used to.
Buy the book.
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