I tried I REALLY tried. But to say this story takes a while to get going (like half the time) isn't really fair. I don't mind stories that take a while to get moving. I like back-story and learning about characters and the environment in which they live. So much so, that I rarely look at books under 12 hours and almost NEVER buy them under 10. It's not that it takes a while to get to the point, I just didn't care by the time I got there. I don't think that Jonathan Davis' lack lust performance helped it in any way either. The mono-tone drone didn't help me engage with the characters or story. I liked his work with Neil Stevenson and he does, what I believe, is a good job with Asian accents and inflections but it just wasn't enough for this book.I hate to but, I have to give it a pass.
Smoke me a kipper; I'll be back for breakfast.
(actual rating 3.5)
This is one of those novels that after you come to the end you appreciate it and see the point of the story. The world is interesting and the prose is nice. Some people hate how a story like this drops you into the middle of the world without much explaination. I did find it confusing at first. The title character doesn't seem relevant for quite awhile but about 2/3rds through the action will pick up and you will see why she's necessary. She is used mostly as a plot device to explore this world. I can't say that you'll probably care about the characters much. It's a more clinical telling of the story.
I enjoyed it mostly as an intellectual piece but am not sure I'd recommend it unless you have patience to wade through a lot of build-up before things happen. Don't expect any big twists either. Another good pick of this type is Atwood's "Year of the Flood" and "Oryx and Crake." I enjoyed those more than this one.
I would recommend people read the book instead of listen. The narration is so slow and the book is pretty slow which makes for a very slow experience.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
I wanted to like this book. It seemed like it would be exotic, and I was hoping that, like other good sci fi, it would throw light on human nature by examining it from an other-worldly perspective. ( I don???t read that much sci fi, but The Sparrow comes to mind.) Instead, it was boring and needlessly complicated with absolutely no psychological insight.
For the work of keeping track of all those characters and pseudo scientific info, I expected to be rewarded with an interesting plot, complex characters, or some depth of emotion. Instead, the characters were all flat and unlikeable, and there were too many of them vying to be the main character. Many of their interactions didn???t make sense. Why did Anderson serve up the wind up girl to those horrible men after he seemingly cared for her? And was the main character, Emiko the wind up girl, supposed to have a soul or not? The jury is out on that one, and so it was hard for me to care about her because of that. Also, the narrator's phony Japanese accent for Emiko sounded terrible. I'd rather hear NO accent than such a silly sounding one; that added to my inability to care about Emiko. And the way the story ended for Anderson, who was at least ONE of the main characters, was meaningless as well.
Then the plot??? there was way too much war-like posing and bombing and running around. At the end, when Emiko is finally on her own, the author makes that scene into only a brief epilogue! That???s when he really could have fleshed her out, so to speak, but it???s more like a plot outline here. And he throws in the Gibson scientist character, and it gets really (but briefly) outlandish then with no follow up or reasoning for it at all.
I thought the whole thing was unsatisfying, and it amounted to next to nothing.
This book was seriously pretentious. I think the author's description at the beginning where he mentions all the research he did gives a hint of what's to come. In trying to prove his understanding of the East, he mostly leaves the reader confused. It takes place after an environmental collapse, resulting in wars and other calamities. There are various groups of people ranging from the white shirts to the green bands and yellow cards. I couldn't quite figure out exactly how far in the future it's taking place (I think 300 years was mentioned), but it seems that more or less nothing has really advanced. Stranger still, electronic communication is strangely absent. The wind-up girl is really a mystery. They are able to genetically engineer her to organism during a rape and instill obedience, but they couldn't get her to walk correctly? I made it through the first 6 hours, but I gave up in boredom and frustration. Wishing you better luck...
The Windup Girl is a revolutionary work of science fiction. It is one of the few books that transcends the genre, offering not just a compelling vision of a (dark, declining) future world, but a cast of deep, complex, ambiguous characters, and a very true-to-life outsider's take on the Thai culture. In other words, it rocks. If you don't listen to it, read it. Just be prepared for a very brutal, downbeat, heartbreaking story.
Jonathan Davis, however, was a mediocre narrator. He kept switching the voices that go with each character, so that I kept getting confused as to who was speaking. His accents were also not amazing (granted, Thai and Japanese accents are difficult, but that just means one should err on the side of a lighter accent).
All in all, despite the brutality of the story and the inconsistent narration, this was the second-best audiobook I have ever experienced (the best being Neal Stephenson's "Anathem"). I definitely recommend it.
Well, now I know why people do abridgements!! This book is so full of unimportant non-essential parts, that is a bore for many hours.
Not too bad for the ideas though....
The premise and setting of the story are so novel and wonderful, but unfortunately I feel like the author missed a great opportunity. It was great to imagine this possibility in the future, and to even think that it may be true. As a molecular biologist, some of the things seemed a little far fetched but for the most part...who knows, this could maybe even happen if we aren't careful. Yikes, that would be awful.
I suppose the wind-up girl. Although I would have liked to see me scenes with Dr. Gibson (sp?), and hear more about the gene ripping and the imaginitive things he could make. I wish, in fact, that it had been centered around a gene-ripper instead of the factory etc.
Does not match
Nah, sadly no. I think the book was full of great beginnings but didn't quite move anywhere. I understand the idea of leaving a book with no endings, but this had an ending and yet no ending at the same time. I just wasn't that impressed.
Maybe if a different actor had been implemented I may have enjoyed it better, but I just couldn't get all that into it. I kept listening thinking something exciting might happen etc etc but I found myself getting bored pretty easily. Again, this author I think missed the mark.
I had certain expectations knowing that this book won several awards.
The world building was accurate, vivid, I could see, hear and smell the places. The consequences of the world running out of oil, new diseases and advanced genetic engineering were well thought through. The Thai setting was interesting.
However, the story was so slow, I got bored. I almost gave up listening at one third of the book. Then something interesting happened, and I kept listening, but I could hardly wait for the next good action.
There is a lot of repetition, for example the start-stop motion of the windup girl. Every time she appears, I was reminded how strange it was. Many times in the scenes she was in.
I could not root for the characters, actually I don't know who was the real protagonist.
The reading was good, except it was also slow, I listened to it at 1,25 times speed.
I hesitated between 2 or 3 stars, finally I gave 3 because of the accurate world building and the cool ideas the story had.
The story is interesting, and honestly a rather scary vision of the future in our genetically tampered world. But I should have read it instead. Jonathan Davis narrates this novel entirely too slowly. Via my audible iPhone app, I listened to the story at a 1.25x speed and it made the pace much more normalized...though it occasionally made him sound like a squirrel for a few seconds. I'm not sure why he felt it necessary to speak so slowly, but it really affected the action scenes and almost made listening to this book a boring task. So, my recommendation is to either read it or listen to it at an accelerated rate to preserve the story's dramatic pacing.