The diversity of reviews for this entry is stunning. Are we listening to different books? Yes, the narrative is very rich, and no, I didn't have trouble with the foreign words and names. Reading (or listening to) SF does require a certain degree of mental agility as you are inherently dealing with the unfamiliar. Fair enough.
No, the problem I have with this work is that, to paraphrase one reviewer, Bacigalupi doesn't seem to have looked at a science book dated after 1970. He blithely ignores existing non-oil-based energy sources in his determination to create his energy-starved dystopia. Ok, other authors have made larger leaps, but Bacigalupi even ignores basic physics laws in describing the stuttering motion programmed into his bio-engineered title character. Any Bio-engineer would immediately spot that such stutter-stop movements would automatically waste far more energy.
Sorry, but this book takes the audience on a long, slow ride into a nonsensical world that literally does not compute. (With all that broiling sunshine, why isn't Thailand lousy with electricity?)
I vote to mulch Bacigalupi.
To be fair, the story starts out extremely imaginative and interesting. However, I quit listening during the second rape scene. I was extremely disappointed by the writing, not that it took this turn, but that the author had to be so explicit in describing the rape scenes. I would think an author if this caliber and imagination can convey what he wants to without being so explicit. Not a story many women or men, for that matter, would enjoy unless they have sadist tendencies. Sorry but this books is better clssified as Sci-Fi SDM Porn. A waste of good talent.
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 world and characters were so well detailed that it was easy to visualize them and imagine this horrible world that they were working in. The accents done by narrator Johnathan Davis were very good.
when Emiko quits being submissive to those who abuse her and she fights back and kills about 8 important people at once.
I have only listened to Davis once before on a compilation, so I can't really compare.
Davis' narration starts slow. The first third of the book has Davis pausing an addtional beat or two for I suppose dramatic event, but it more dragged the listen for me. Maybe this was his decision on how the book was written, I'm not sure. As the book continued, his pace picked up as did the action and made this an overall good, satisfying listen.