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2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 6 June 2014
A fantasy novel should have engaging characters, a vivid plot and intelligent world building. Sadly this fails on almost all levels. Interestingly it is not awful, but just fails to engage the reader through it’s somewhat clinical style and an utter lack of passion.

This is a world that appears to be divided into two halves with a cultural and religious divide. There are also unexplored area of the world, presumed empty. A tragic event sets the two nations into conflict and at the same time a great ship is built for exploration. Whether the author is trying too hard or trying to pack too many ideas in, the potential is never delivered.

This is one where it was an effort to get through and I will not be following up on the next instalment.
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on 22 December 2009
Having got the book when it was brand newI wasn't sure what to expect. I found the book confusing in the beginning as there were so many characters to keep track of; never mind the ever changing locations.

I don't like having to persevere with a story but I did try to "stick with it" and found that finally the characters resolved themselves. The author had created individuals so distinct that they were no longer clashing into eachother.

This first part of the trilogy is weighty but when I'd finished it I wished I had the next part to dive into. He covers many themes here but having looked the author up I can say the difference in writing this fantasy (unlike his sci-fi novels) was that there is not a defined Good side versus Evil (which the plots of his sci-fi novels seem to be geared towards)

There is not one bad guy trying to destroy the world, instead it's a whole lot of people, some loveable some detestable each refusing to be tolerant of another nation. The first book starts with two nations warring but towards the end they have discovered the existence of other nations in their world and the race is on to build alliances.

If you don't like heavy books and can find heavily descriptive narrative a bore my tip would be to try this out as an audiobook. After I read this my friend downloaded it on audio and I've recently listened to it and recommend that over the book. It will also be handy for me to listen to the audio before the second book comes out...rather than try and read bits of this one as a refresher. I think the audio is approximately 21hours unabridged.
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on 30 June 2009
I had great expectations of this book, all the blurb lead me to believe it would be a really good adventure, but in the end I was disappointed and unfullfilled. It had all the components of what a great book should be; lots of potentially interesting characters, lots of things happened, potentially a great fantasy epic set at sea and written by KJA who by all accounts is a good author -especially as I've never read anything of his until this book. I was set, ready to be entertained.

However I was really disappointed. The main problem for me was that I just didn't feel involved; the book seems to be an account of events rather than an engaging narrative that you feel part of. I kept thinking of the events being described by a newscaster, "In other news a giant sea serpent attacked a ship. It was killed." The author's style meant, for me, there was no drama - while a lot happens in the story, it just didn't draw me in so I wanted to stay up late to read more. Indeed I just wanted to finish it in the end. Also, it was all rather predictable which normally isn't an issue if you can engage with what's happening. Another also, it is described as fantasy but there is no magic apart from a magic compass which is never used. So it was just a story set at sea with a magic compass not a fantasy novel. Shouldn't `fantasy' have magic in it? Otherwise is in the A-Z section of Waterstones, surely.

If this is KJA's normal style then his current fans will love this book. If however you like your stories to be gripping, you characters to be interesting and your suspense to be dramatised then read one of the many other authors who have done much better.
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on 29 March 2015
Just finished the trilogy, I bought books 2 &3 when I was only a third of the way through book 1. If you are a lover of Game of Thrones & the books of Robin Hobb then you will certainly want to read these books.
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on 27 July 2009
It took a while to get to grips with all the characters, their geographical placement and their backgrounds, so the first half of the book was just getting to know them. Short chapters on each character gave a disjointed feel to the story. Characters lacked appeal and I found the whole thing a tad tedious and speedread, skipping the padding, to what I felt was not so much and end as merely an opening for a sequel. If there is one, I am not likely to buy it.
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on 11 August 2009
This book is simply awful. I am staggered that Mr Anderson is an "International Bestseller" as the quality of writing is not very good at all. I spent several tedious hours trawling through this pointless and entirely uninspiring book in the futile hope that it would get better in a few chapters. It didn't.
The story is a mixture of the overtly ridiculous and the tediously inconsequential. I implore you not to buy this book.

It is a shame that you cannot give a rating of zero stars. If ever a book deserved such a rating it would be this.

If you are after excellent Fantasy then may i humbly suggest you spend your hard earned cash on authors with a talent in this genre. I would heartily recommend Steven Erikson (Malazan Book(s) of the fallen), George RR Martin (Song of Ice and Fire) and the tremendous Joe Abercrombie (The First Law), all of which are profoundly satisfying, exciting and entertaining.
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on 9 July 2009
Kevin J. Anderson has written over 100 novels covering everything from the Dune universe, X-files and Star Wars tie-ins to his epic SF series The Saga Of The Seven Suns. Now Anderson has turned his talents to epic fantasy with the Terra Incognita series starting here with The Edge Of the World.

The book starts with the simple premise of two separate continents connected by topography but separated by culture, religion and politics. This is the tale of the political and military battle as the two cultures seek, first peace, then later, following a simple accident, war. The book is also about a wider exploration of the lands beyond the known and mapped world. From beyond the sea and over the great desert come rumours of new lands but only the most heroic adventurers dare to undertake these journeys into the unknown.

Kevin J. Anderson has managed to create a really interesting narrative structure which switches to a different character and location with each chapter. The two continents Uraba and Tierra, have more than a passing similarity to Western society (Tierra) and the Arab nations (Uraba), the respective religions are also distinctly Christian (Aidenist) and Muslim (Urec) but this actually makes the clash of cultures easier to understand for the reader without the need for long and drawn out backstory.

The politics and court upheavals are reminiscent, at times, of George R.R. Martin's work but the characters do not quite reach GRRM's level. Although interesting and well drawn there is a lack of either true heroes or nasty villains and several characters seem to exist in the story and then fade away (no doubt to be revitalised in the sequels).

If I have one gripe with this book it is that the adventure element seemed somewhat underplayed. Sure there is action but it's not really jaw dropping or awe inspiring, in fact it's all a bit detached, perhaps this is scene setting for further books in the series, too much revelation at this stage would leave nowhere to go in the future but it is a bit of an anti-climax. Anderson's mammoth SF series The Saga Of The Seven Suns also began as a bit of a slow burner.

Overall though I enjoyed this book. The mixture of politics and adventure sustained interest right to the end. I am also sure that the world created here will serve as excellent background for future books in the series. Kevin J. Anderson has shown that his talents are extremely diverse and can now add successful Epic Fantasy to his burgeoning CV, what's next? Horror, I hope so.
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on 2 July 2009
a good start to what should be an entertaing series.i found the book came up to kevin anderson's usual standard. everything is here for the fantasy fan, i look foreward to the next volume which i hope wiil follow shortly.
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