I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
The opening of the book had me worried... it was sloppily written, in fashion to get the plot moving as quickly as possible. The protagonist isn't well thought out... he's smart enough to be an elite hacker, but his intelligence is otherwise absent from anything he does thereafter... for the entire duration of the story.
The character discovers that he has the powers of a god, but this is quickly forgotten by both him and apparently the author. Like in the movie "Bruce Almighty", we're supposed to believe that our character is so unimaginative and selfish that the only thing he can think to do with his powers is to improve his own little life in small and insignificant ways.
But before you can get to frustrated with the story, Meyer throws you backwards in time, and the story takes a turn for the weird(er). Here in the past, Meyer has thought things out a little bit more. If he researched the time period, it doesn't really show... but he has built an amusing cast of characters.
Here the book starts to take on the flavor of Cline's "Ready Player One", one of my favorite light reads. Meyer's characters are funny, and the humor is geared at an audience who is familiar the life of 1980s computer geeks.
Everything stays fun and light. I wasn't bored for an instant. Oh, and the narration was hilarious.
The ending was satisfying within the scope of the story... but then, the scope of the story was very small.
As a listener, what I really longed for was for our hacker protagonist to play around more with the code he's discovered... outside of this one little pocket of use that he's fixated on in the past. Play with more variables... discover things... surprise me.
Anyway, Meyers has a lot of promise. I hope that he continues writing... and that next time he takes his writing to the next level.
Good listen for the price. I recommend it if you liked "Ready Player One".
I've been listening to a lot of Scalzi's stuff: Fuzzy Nation, Redshirts, etc... and I was always left feeling that the writing and dialog never quite met the expectation set by the premises of the stories.
With Year Zero, I found the opposite. This book is frequently funny, and John Hodgman is the perfect narrator for the wit and satire. On the other hand, the premise of the book is so lightweight that it doesn't warrant a novel-length exploration.
I'd recommend this book to fans of Scalzi, and I'll definitely be keeping an eye open for more literature from Rob Reid.