If you like Sci-fi and/or cyberpunk then you _must_ read this book. Sephenson paints the picture of a future world that with very beautiful parts, and very ugly parts. The story is compelling, ensuring that you keep reading long into the night waiting to see what will happen.
The world Neal imagines makes so many things possible, there ehere a number of moments when you realize just what is possible and natural in such a world. Plus a number of moments where you're left awed and shocked at the same time at developments in the story made possible by the world Stephenson has created.
Like the other books of his that I've read, the ending is a little disapointing. But the voice of Wiltsie helps to keep the exceitment going right through the entire story. Wiltsie does a wonderful job with charicter's acents and voices, making them all sound unique and using emortional ephasis appropritely.
I began listening to this one while commuting, and it might be one of the only audiobooks I felt was compelling me to finish it. Stephenson did a wonderful job creating a future world, drawing together interesting characters and ideas which made me want to continue listening. Unpredictable, with just the right edge of "yes, that might be the direction our world goes in the future," this story held me captive. Some elements were not quite to my taste (occasional level of violence, sexuality), but these things served to drive the story, and so were not a major hinderance.
I was also impressed with the narrator's presentation of the story. Good pacing, pleasant diction, and a decent range of tone made her very easy to listen to. With the quality of writing, and the strong narration, it is easy to see why this audiobook is a popular choice.
This book won the Hugo Award, and was well deserving. It has excellent and fully developed characters that live in an interesting and complete world, but the ending causes the book to fall short of a true science fiction great. I use the word "ending" meaning the book stops but the book doesn't really end. There is no strong climax and no conclusion. Loose ends abound. It has the feel of too many science fiction novels that are teeing up for a sequel, although Stephenson has yet to provide one. Read it for the rich characters and story lines, but don't expect a satisfying finish.
Jennifer Wiltsie does a good job narrating the story, and I like the way the music is used during the transitions. Unfortunately the sound quality could be better, as Wiltsie sometimes sounds as though she is too far from the microphone which creates an almost mono effect. All and all she treats the female and male characters equally well, and it is generally easy to forget that she herself is there.
This is some old-school Stephenson, with a giant helping of wacky ideas and good humor. If you like his humor you'll be chuckling for a good part of the book as the various characters go about their crazy business. The overall story could have used a bit more trimming - the number of characters and plot threads that simply 'disappear' is quite surprising, and the ending is too short. The ending is... okay, but don't hope for a nice wrap-up of everything that happened.
I already own the physical book and I wanted to pick this up so I could "re-read" it in the car. What a treat. I don't think I've ever heard a reading done this well. The voices she successfully pulls off in this book range from 4 year old Nell to a Brooklyn accented Confucian judge to an elderly Scottish warrior and everything in between.
TDA is one of my favorite Stephenson novels, and hearing it done just great justice by Jennifer Wiltsie was a pleasure.
I only wish she would read more books that I would be interested in listening to.
This is probably my favorite Neal Stephenson book, I haven't finished the Baroque Cycle however (almost there). This book does suffer from Stephenson's one fatal flaw, he develops this great world with these great characters at a leisurely pace then within one blink of the eye the book is coming to a conclusion and rolling down hill almost faster then you can see. This one is worth more then one read, there are so many small things in the peripheral of the book and things that exist in the world that he doesn't go into great deal about.
This is an absolutely wonderful audiobook. Stephenson's novel is set in an imaginative but highly convincing future world in which humanity has begun to abandon the nation state in favour of 'claves' based around shared cultures, and in which nanotechnology has opened incredible new opportunities for technological development. Stephenson revels in exploring the differences between these 'claves' and the interactions between them, and most of the tale takes place in a stunningly vivid and fragmented Shanghai, in which an influx of new people and ideas has shattered China into a civil war.
The narrator, Jennifer Wiltsie, does a superb job. Her girlish voice fits the central story arc, which is about the education of a young girl from the ghetto who acquires by chance a sophisticated device designed to educate young girls of the Victorian clave. But where Wiltsie really excels is in bringing the vast array of characters to life; she is incredibly talented at switching between multiple accents, so that each character is easily distinguishable, and she pulls off all the obscure accents than Stephenson demands, such as 'Cantonese but raised in New York' and 'Indian with a trace of Jamaica'. Curiously enough, one of the central characters in the novel is in fact a highly skilled voice artist, so things get weirdly meta.
I found this audiobook extremely engrossing and it kept me entertained a long time. Like all Stephenson novels, it's complex and requires your full attention (don't listen to it while driving around central London). And although it's long and often digressive, it lacks the self-indulgent rambling of his later work.
I had to listen to the beginning of this book several times, but the way he ties everything together in the end is amazing. The story is beautiful and haunting.
The first 3/4 of The Diamond Age is brilliant, but Stephenson couldn't sustain the story, and the story crashes to a dissatisfying end. Jennifer Wiltsie's narration is excellent, especially given the number of voices she has to sustain.
I had read this title, loved it, and looked forward to the listen. The narration is fantastic, the musical chapter breaks add a nice flavor and the story (and the ideas it contains) were as wonderful as I remembered.
The only marring of the experience was several dropouts in the audio, one near the end of part one and a cluster of 7 or 8 after the middle of part 2. The audio would suddenly turn staticy and unintelligible for several seconds.
This was really very annoying in what was otherwise a stellar read.