Recent Arrival: The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Fantasy Audiobook - The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon SandersonThe Gathering Storm – Book Twelve of The Wheel of Time
By Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Read by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer
26 CDs – 34.5 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781593977672

Here’s the first of the final three novels of the massive Wheel of Time series. Kate Reading and Michael Kramer continue narrating, which is great news.

Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle, looms. And mankind is not ready.

The final volume of the Wheel of Time, A Memory of Light, was partially written by Robert Jordan before his untimely passing in 2007. Brandon Sanderson, New York Times bestselling author of the Mistborn books, was chosen by Jordan’s editor—his wife, Harriet McDougal—to complete the final book. The scope and size of the volume was such that it could not be contained in a single book, and so Tor proudly presents The Gathering Storm as the first of three novels that will make up A Memory of Light. This short sequence will complete the struggle against the Shadow, bringing to a close a journey begun almost twenty years ago and marking the conclusion of the Wheel of Time, the preeminent fantasy epic of our era.

In this epic novel, Robert Jordan’s international bestselling series begins its dramatic conclusion. Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, struggles to unite a fractured network of kingdoms and alliances in preparation for the Last Battle. As he attempts to halt the Seanchan encroachment northward—wishing he could form at least a temporary truce with the invaders—his allies watch in terror the shadow that seems to be growing within the heart of the Dragon Reborn himself.

Egwene al’Vere, the Amyrlin Seat of the rebel Aes Sedai, is a captive of the White Tower and subject to the whims of their tyrannical leader. As days tick toward the Seanchan attack she knows is imminent, Egwene works to hold together the disparate factions of Aes Sedai while providing leadership in the face of increasing uncertainty and despair. Her fight will prove the mettle of the Aes Sedai, and her conflict will decide the future of the White Tower—and possibly the world itself.

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Chapter Two of The Gathering Storm Available at Tor

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon SandersonTor appears to be going all-out in its promotion of the 12th installment of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, The Gathering Storm, co-written by Brandon Sanderson. In partnership with Macmillan Audio, has made the novel’s second chapter, “The Nature of Pain” narrated by Kate Reading, available for online listening.

The Gathering Storm, Chapter Two, “The Nature of Pain”

Registration on is required, but it’s fast and free to sign up. The novel’s Prologue, “What the Storm Means”, is also available at Audible for a low price, and the first chapter, “Tears from Steel”, is readable–sadly no audio–at The Gathering Storm will be released on 27 October.

Posted by Seth Wilson

Review of The Final Empire: Mistborn Book 1 by Brandon Sanderson

SFFaudio Review

Greetings fellow sci-fi and fantasy audiobook junkies. My name is Mark Flavin (from California not Ireland) and I am one of many reviewers to answer the call made by Jesse. I enjoy sci-fi and fantasy in all forms but have a special love for cyberpunk, space opera, science fantasy and epic fantasy. I am thrilled to be able to share my reviews with you and I hope that I can add something of value to this awesome blog.

Mistborn Album ArtThe Final Empire: Mistborn Book 1
By Brandon Sanderson; Read by Michael Kramer
Audible Download – 24 Hours 40 Mins [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible / Macmillan Audio
Published: July 2007
Themes: / Fantasy / Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Military / Political / Magic

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

When I first stumbled across this book on audible I was sceptical. I have to admit this was almost a book I judged by its cover and even after reading the book I am unsure what is going on in this cover. Fortunately I had just finished listening to Elantris and really wanted to see what Brandon Sanderson had in store for me in his next book. I am really glad I looked past the cover because Mistborn is an incredible story of epic fantasy set in a world which is alien and yet the implication (unstated) is it could be our future or past.

The characters in the story have real depth and by the end of the first book I felt like I was a member of the gang, a silent partner in their quest to overthrow the tyrannical rule of the lord ruler and restore freedom to the people. However, where the real depth of the story comes is the system of “magic” (referred to in the story as allomancy) that Brandon Sanderson created. Rather than chanting spells, or tapping into divine powers the characters in the story have the ability to burn metals and each metal has a direct counterbalance. This creates situations where powers are negated and I found that I became actively engaged in the story as I tried to figure out how one character would use their metal to negate the other character’s effects.

In addition to the fantastic plot-line and deep characterizations of the main players Brandon Sanderson does an excellent job of creating a framework for the world of the final empire. From describing the falling ash storms to the rising mists each evening the world is so vividly described that I at times forgot what I was doing. Beyond the descriptive environment there are creatures which are described terrible in form. An example of vivid imagery is in his description of the Steel Inquisitor I won’t ruin it for you but the first time this “thing” was introduced I felt chills. Not so much out of fear (though it was terrible to imagine) but out of excitement that this was something truly unique and new.

Complimenting the excellent storyline is the reading by Michael Kramer who does a fantastic job of giving voice to the characters and describing the land in beautiful detail. The vocal range and emotional range of his reading was excellent. Michael Kramer does an excellent job of switching between characters and into a neutral narrator tone when appropriate. By far my favorite voice in the book is that of Breeze and in the following novels he becomes one of my characters simply because Michael Kramer’s vocalization is so spot on that the character literally seems to come alive.

If I do have one complaint about this book (other than the cover) it is that more attention could have been paid to the audio production. While I don’t expect Dolby 5.1 digital surround sound from an audible download it would be nice to have the audio levels consistent instead of having the audio suddenly get louder and just as suddenly go low.  Also there were a couple of times when words were repeated like the narrator was saying them expecting it to be edited out. All-in-all these were minor issues and did not take away from the overall enjoyment of the book.

Plot twists, action and a fascinating system of “magic” make this a great read and Michael Kramer’s excellent narration makes this a fantastic listen. This is definitely a vacation/beach book because if your like me once you get started you will not want to put it down.

Posted by Mark Flavin

New Releases – Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

New Releases

Elantris by Brandon SandersonElantris, Part 1
By Brandon Sanderson; Performed by a full cast
6 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 6 hours – [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Graphic Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781599505558

This is wonderful news. Graphic Audio has been publishing a bunch of material as full cast dramatic reading – the ones that interested me most were the superhero stuff, but now they are publishing Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris, an epic fantasy novel. This is the first of three parts.

The city of the gods. Elantris once stood as the symbol of all that is beautiful. A sprawling metropolis of unrivaled grandeur, it was a symbol of power and strength, built to be as imposing as it was magnificent.

The only thing more glorious than the city itself was its inhabitants, Godlike beings, with silvery skin and hair of the purest, flowing white. Able to create powerful magics with a mere wave of their hands, the Elantrians were able to heal mortal wounds and create any object they desired. To be an Elantrian was to be without sickness, without pain and without want.

And anyone could become a god. Through a process known as the “Shaod”, a normal person could go to bed one night, and awake the next morning to throw away the shackles of mortality and become a being of incomparable power and grace. With Elantris as their beacon, the light inside all humanity was allowed to shine, elevating it to new heights.
CLICK HERE for all of Graphic Audio’s new releases.
Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #026


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #026 – Jesse and Scott argue about how long books should be, talk about audiobooks, audio panels, Audible’s new audio format (higher quality). We also ask the questions:

“If Stephen King was your dad and reading you a bedtime story, would you ever get to sleep?” and “Why does Epic Fantasy have to be so long?”

Talked about on today’s show:
Science Fiction Symposium @ BYU, Writing Excuses podcast, Brandon Sanderson, I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, The Immortals by Tracy Hickman, The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame Vol. 1, Elantris |READ OUR REVIEW|, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., David Farland, Eric James Stone, James Dashner, Orson Scott Card, Audible’s new Enhanced Audio Format, Blackstone Audio‘s forthcomings: new Harlan Ellison (and old), Stir Of Echoes by Richard Matheson, Passage by Connie Willis, Bellwether by Connie Willis, CBC Radio Between The Covers, Wake by Robert J. Sawyer, Battlestar Galactica, the Story Speiler podcast, And All The Earth A Grave by C.C. MacApp, The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill |2 FREE STORIES|, Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill, On Writing by Stephen King, Telling Lies For Fun And Profit by Lawrence Block, Inferno by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle |READ OUR REVIEW|, Escape From Hell, Wikipedia is full of spoilers, Exit Door Leads In by Philip K. Dick [is full of swearing], The Most Brilliant Sci-Fi Mind on Any Planet: Philip K. Dick |PDF|, Starship Rebel by Mike Resnick |READ OUR REVIEW|, and a 5 sound review of Babylon 5, A Song Of Ice And Fire by George R.R. Martin, Wild Cards would make good audio, HBO’s True Blood, is it all ‘too much conversation, not enough sword?’

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #017


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #017 – Brian Murphy of The Silver Key blog joins the podcast and talks to us about his terrific blog, writing habits, and how vikings and rappers are alike.

Talked about on today’s show:
Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf, Michael D.C. Drout‘s Beowulf, Neil Gaiman‘s Beowulf, religion in fiction, god in fiction, Stephen King, Carrie, The Stand, Desperation, The Regulators, Kate Nelligan, Delores Claiborne, Cujo, The Tommyknockers, On Writing, Duma Key, The Dark Tower, George R.R. Martin, A Song Of Ice And Fire, Roy Dotrice, Pandora Star, Peter F. Hamilton, Audiofile magazine, how being a truck driver is worse than being in prison (without audiobooks), Mini-Masterpieces of Science Fiction edited by Allan Kaster, Fantasy, Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, The Wheel Of Time, Robert E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien, my fantasy fiction rant, “fantasy fiction works best when magic is talked about but rarely seen”, The Cimmerian blog, Mark Finn’s Blood And Thunder, Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Gentlemen Of The Road, Henry Treece, The Viking Trilogy: Viking’s Dawn, The Road To Mikligaard, Viking’s Sunset, Bernard Cornwell, Saxon Stories: The Last Kingdom, Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels, William Gibson, Neuromancer, The Dark Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft, Wayne June, horror movie: Session 9.

Posted by Jesse Willis