If you're a lover of the hard boiled private detective tales widely credited to pulp Dashiell Hammett stories, or if you're a lover of Sci-fi, I highly recommend you listen to this audiobook.
If you're a lover of both, I'm ticked off you didn't recommend this to me sooner.
Husband. Dad. 3D Nerd. Tech Junkie. Saints fan. Part of the Squid clan.
Whoa! Author Richard Morgan has ginned up a massively complex, nuanced future world as well as highly imperfect but incredibly charismatic characters that keep you riveted through this epic story. I have to admit that while I love hard-boiled detective stories as much as anyone, I doubt Altered Carbon could get much more gritty. There is plenty of raw language and imagery (both sex and violence), but I feel it ultimately adds to the story, paints a more vivid picture of characters and isn't provided simply for shock value alone. The only minor complaint I have is that the narrator's voice is SO deep, that it was sometimes hard to understand what he was saying. Not so much as to lose key plot points, but irritating when I was driving and listening. Otherwise, it's s fantastic book and I am looking forward to listening to more from Morgan.
As one who normally only reads reviews, I would feel remise at not rating this one. Having started the book in it's written incarnation, I expected a pretty good listen. What I found instead was a fantastic listen! The story itself of course holds your attention throughout, but listening to the cool,cynical voice of the reader, I could picture myself there in 25th century Bay City. The presentation reminded me of those hard boiled detective novels read over the radio in the 40's. You gotta get this one! Here's hoping that Audible publishes Takeshi Kovacs's newest adventure (Broken Angel)in the very near future.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
This book is a blend of science fiction and a traditional detective story and is very well done. The narrator is fantastic.
The science fiction part of the story is very original, interesting and just plain cool. (Lots of high-tech - and nearly believeable - concepts of a future where we can store our consciousness in a portable database.)
The detective part of the story is engaging, surprising and hard to put down.
It has some swear words that are R rated, is very graphic/gory (detailed blood and guts imagery) and has very (VERY) graphic sex scenes (they are definitely adult only - moderate porn level scenes).
Don't get me wrong, I don't mind sex scenes and swear words but the sex (a.k.a. porn) is not interesting and doesn't advance the plot and - the worst part - some of the scenes last nearly 15 minutes... I don't want to listen to ANY scene for 15 minutes, but I certainly don't need 15 minutes to get the drift of a sex act.
If not for the long and uninteresting sex scenes that I ended up fast forwarding through, I would have given this 5 stars and I have already bought the next audiobook in the series.
I'm actually a day old tart, filled with maple custard. Perhaps, this reads as a rational introduction to others, and you are deliberately misreading it, because, come on, maple custard.
Very gritty hard-boiled film noir sci-fi.
Todd McLaren's voice has a good vocal range for this book. Strong storyline, and creative ideas about the stacks.
A very convincing futuristic world, and the psychology behind each character is believable, and interesting.
Genre: Sci-Fi far future, cyber-punk (anarcho-capitalist themes, mind altering drugs, and artificial consciousness), Murder mystery
Rated: R Violence, torture, heavy language, graphic sex
1st or 3rd Person: 1st person Takeshi Kavacs and 4+ characters
Static or Dynamic: omg dynamic. This story is all over the place and moving there fast
Art or Entertainment: Both. The story can be read strictly on either it's artistic merritts or it's entertainment value alone respectively. The concepts of digital consciousness and existentialism are INTENSE!!! conversely, our main pro is an ex-envoy. a handful of those guys can bring down a whole government with properly executed Con's and violence.
Linear or Non-Linear: Linear. It's a murder mystery really.
Narrator: Todd McLaren is a total bamf. I remember him very well and could listen to the book just because he's reading it.
Plot Outline: Takeshi Kovacs (ko-vaa-tch) is an ex-super black ops envoy who has been contracted by an obscenely wealthy Meth to figure out who killed him in a previous incarnation. In this world, people exist digitally in a stack at the base of their skull which records their experiences and supplies the decision making of the mind within. You can be saved, uploaded, and downloaded light years away and if you have enough money, you can make an insurance policy to ensure that you always have a backup. The story is fast paced and emotionally hyped. Tak is a seriously awesome protagonist. This book is offensive in many ways so if you are particularly sensitive, you shouldn't buy it. if you don't mind getting your mind dirty though, it's a story you won't forget.
Richard K Morgan has achieved a near-perfect blend of plausible science, characters devoid of cliches, and a narrative that is tightly woven and intricate--like a hand-made Japanese wall hanging in silk--Altered Carbon is masterful.
Todd McClaren, the sole narrator, surpasses the challenge of this book, one filled with countless major characters who are all quite varied and distinct human beings. He excels with his multiple voice characterizations, and his performance, too, deserves 4 stars or more, if possible.
Richard K Morgan describes his people in details both subtle and broad, and motivates them with a story line generously crafted. The author assembles his players complete with all their necessary history, desires, passions, loves, violence, rage, despair, and human compassion.
Altered Carbon is intricately plotted, which compelled me to follow the narrative very closely; consequently, it necessitated many rewinds.
In addition to hard Sci-Fi, this story is also a first-rate murder mystery and thriller, with clues foreshadowed most believably and, although set in future Earth, with unusual devices, and digital-human relationships that will blow your mind, the narrative is painstakingly tight, and designed to also sate many devotees of the best mysteries and thrillers.
The human civilization which Mr. Morgan paints in his trilogy is an intriguing place. While the concept of moving personalities body to body is not new, the way he approaches the subject matter is interesting, as are the underlying moral issues that are touched around the edges. I found myself thinking of the film noir genre, complete with the world weary detective who has nothing left but the job. The two jarring notes are the narrator, who makes a valiant effort to characterize, but falls short. The second are the graphic, nearly pornographic sex scenes. While the sex is not gratuitous, the graphic detail using the vulgar speech is jarring in the flow of the novel.
There was much about this fast paced, clever book I really enjoyed but I wish someone had warned me about the explicit torture scenes. I can deal with the pretty explicit sex and action movie-type "normal" fights and violence, but I never would have bought this if I had known how graphic the discriptions of torture were going to be, or at least I would have pulled the plugs out of my ears for a few minutes.
My only complaint is with the poor editing stitching together the narration: volume jumps, irregular pauses, occasional entrance mid-word. Otherwise this is a thrilling cyberpunk story in the same flavor as Snow Crash or Neuromancer, expertly narrated and thoroughly enjoyable!