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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 9 May 2017
Ian Irvine seems to be another member of the unresolved and unhappy endings brigade. Worse than that at the end of Chimaera you are led into "The song of the tears" trilogy which looks like it drops half the characters from Chimaera and looks from the Wiki likely to be just as disappointing as "The well of echoes".
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on 24 May 2007
This is my personal take on the whole series in general, not just this book. I will start with what i enjoyed about the series and will end with a good moan as i have read all of the books and loved the series but there were a few instances that really annoyed me throughout the books.

The Praise

The books are very well written and help you to develop a real relationship with the characters, you love or hate them as you would if you knew them. Also the progression of the characters is excellant, particularly Irisis and Nish. In the first book you learn to hate these deceitful, cruel, selfish people but as you learn there side of the story and they develop as people they become the heroes in further books and you forgive them for what they had done.

My favourite aspect of the books is that the heroes all either have major flaws, or do something that endangers the entire planet, only for them to prove or redeem themselves, i know this is usually standard for fantasy novels but the choices these people usually make put the world at risk or make the situation worse and shows that they cannot cope with the burden of the adventure. This made the characters feel very human to me and let the reader know that they wont always make the right choices.

Overall the series is very well written with very good descriptive language and a depth rarely seen in fantasy books i enjoyed reading this series and am now waiting for the songs of the tears trilogy to finish.

The Moan

In my opinion the whole story ark should have been condensed down to 3 books instead of 4, Im not saying that Chimaera is bad, its just that there were many situations throughout the books that really didnt need to be there and felt like they were added just to create another book. For example there are too many situations that seem impossible to get out of only for them to escape, only to fall into another impossible situation. this occurs many many times throughout the series and seems to remind you of a benny Hill chase scene. when the Council are chasing Tiaan for example in book 2 they have at least 15 chances to take her into custody and each time she is saved by some various miracle.

Also the way some these miracle escapes often happened required something you were completely unaware of, for examples crystals imbedded behind peoples skin, for me i really disaproved with this as the reader is left to think that they are in trouble this time only for something quite simple to save them. This lead me to believe as i got further through the books that there was no situation they could not escape because there was always something behind the scenes and this left me feeling cheated.

Lastly towards the end of the 4th book story arks from previous books reappeared and were made a complete hash off. Ian just seemed to rush through them and makes them completely unbelievable, relatives looking for each other for years happen to realise they've known each other for years and hadnt bother to ask there surnames, people looking for revenge suddenly forgive and sacrifice themselves and in general nobodies parting story was sufficient. many people either just disappeared or strolled off into the sunset which for me betrays the relationship you aquire with the characters throughout the 4 books.

Even though ive had quite a lengthy moan here dont let that put you off the series, the plot is fantastic if not strung out to long and if you ignore the 100 miracles a book then you will love it. A word of warning though, in my opinion no series should end like this one!
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on 10 March 2005
In a sense this is a review of the series as a whole. I'm not going to talk about what happens, but more about the writing style in general.
Recently I read the whole series, and I really enjoyed it. However, there were a few things that I felt were rather disappointing.
The pace is excellent, you never have time to get bored (from what I remember of the previous series, the View from the Mirror quartet, it was a little slow moving in places). That said, I think that the story would benefit from slowing down a little in places. Some of the twists in the plot come from out of nowhere, and given the originality of the world that the action takes place in, some more description would be appreciated. Several times the characters seem to get over serious problems or inter-personal enmity rather unconvincingly quickly.
As some of the other reviewers have noted, Mr Irvine keeps producing books quite quickly, which is a relief to anyone who has followed Robert Jordan or the Dark Tower series! That said, from reading this series, it didn't feel finished. I know that there is the intention to write two more series based in the same world, but unlike the View From the Mirror quartet there is practically no sense of closure to this story. It seems the next series will begin relatively soon after the events of this one. Some of the central mysteries of the story were never revealed, which I didn't like. There were also one or two textual errors which the proofreaders apparently missed, which is a shame; it suggests that the publishers didn't take a great deal of care over producing the book.
One of the best things about Mr Irvine's writing is the sympathy he shows to his characters, and particularly his portrayal of both sides' point of view in a conflict. In general, this was excellent as usual. One or two of the characters sadly failed to receive this treatment here though, and as a result come across as somewhat two-dimensional without any convincing motivation for their actions.
Negative comments aside, overall I enjoyed the series, and will probably read the next one. I just feel that the ending didn't match up to the promise of the start, or the quality of the previous series.
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on 14 December 2004
This book is concludes the well of echos quartet with the high standard so typical of the author, I just love this series which is much darker than the previous Tale of the Mirror series set in the same world. The storyline is full of action and the characters well developed. But be warned this is not an author that believes the 'heros' should triumph all the time and that they should all survive, and that every book should have a happy ending.
A great conclusion to this series that raises the standards for fantsy authors everywhere.
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on 6 February 2005
OMG! THE ENDING! You read all those books,and THE ENDING...! It's fantastic! This book is like a drug, you read it and you keep reading it and then when it ends... well, just hope the next series comes out quickly. This is the best book i have read this year ( i finished it on new year's day). Irvine's style makes you want to keep reading it, and holds your attention excellently. Its well worth buying it and well worth the time and effort- just keep your tissues out.
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on 21 July 2011
What others have written about this book is all fair enough, however, I wanted to point out the worst thing about this book (for me).

After 4 thick volumes, you finally get to the end of the narrative, only to find that the story is continued in another, as yet unwritten, series of books.

Come on Irvine! This should have ended cleanly, not been dragged out into another 3000 pages.

Rant over.
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on 15 December 2004
What an impressive ending to a truly original epic fantasy series! Non-stop action, real people instead of the 2 dimensional cardboard characters of lesser authors with plenty of character development, detailed & plausible world building with an unusual spin on "magic". Above all, this author can really tell a tale! A true storyteller whose work is to be savoured like fine aged wine.
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on 19 December 2004
Wow Ian Irvine certainly knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat all the way through. Completely action packed with dozens of plot twists which make this book virtually impossible to put down. The only problem i had with it was that some plotlines seemed contrived just to clear up loose ends, however the ending certainly shocks. All in all one of the best books i've ever read.
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on 10 January 2012
Without this book I would not have been able to sleep. Book 3 in the series finished in such a manner that I just had to begin book 4. Great series and I notice that there is yet more to read about some of the same characters in this series. Already have book 1 in the 'Song of Tears' trilogy. Great Fantasy S/F from an Australian author, but I don't understand why he is so difficult to find in our book stores here in Oz.

Chimaera (Well of Echoes)
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on 23 January 2005
One phrase sums up this amazing finale to a brilliant quartet: OH MY GOD!
at the end of Alchimyst Mr Irvine left us with very little hope for Sathenar and on the edge of our seats.
Chimeara opens with a spectacular 100+ page heart-attack and he keeps the intigue up the whole time.
You truly feel for the characters involved and are constantly amazed at the examples and degrees of suffering they can endure.
This is not a book for the faint of heart, but it is VERY highly recommended by me.
A few boggles tho... i guessed what was going to happen at the end before i started reading Chimaera (though nit in the beath-taking manner it was pulled off)
and 2: I think i know what is going to happen in the next book!
I need the next sequence!!!! NOW!!!! hurry Ian
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