I tried. I tried my hardest to listen to this book. The made up words destroyed it completely. it's almost like a merflunkle was used in the backmackling. Dr. Suess can get away with this but not many others.
If my friend was a real scifi fantasy nut with the ability to absorb extensive "world building", yes.
The variety of voices made this slightly less confusing.
The first 1/3 of this book was a struggle for me and I had to keep coming back to it. This involved total world building, and lots of technobabble, and I had a tough time getting into it. After that 1/3 was slogged through, though, I started to buy in to the characters and enjoyed the novel overall.
I really hung in there, through the first 10 hours or so, wondering why we were listening to the daily routine of what sounded like a scription of monks in an alternate universe set in an alternate dialect. It did finally begin to ramp up, only to peter out feebly at the end. Very interesting theoretical content, but the delivery was long and stale...
Neal Stephenson is frustratingly good at bringing a world to life, albeit at times with a bit too much explanation. Even though he often does not lead his audience like ignorant sheep, throwing the reader into the thick with barely a narrative compass, he sometimes spends way too much time explaining the inner workings of a quark. Still, this book is fully realized and rich with interesting characters and philosophical arguments. I'm only starting to get bored with his formulaic narrative of a somewhat average protagonist that becomes a hero through a series of events little under his control.
I have been burning through Neal Stephenson's books since really enjoying seveneves. Despite the vocabulary work at the beginning it turned out great. To be honest the roots, and uses made a lot of sense for the imaginary language used.
I almost bailed out after the first 8 or so hours because it was quite slow to unfold and not instantly engrossing but I am glad I hung in because it turned out to be quite enjoyable. It ended up reminding me of an old time radio serial as the plot moved from set piece to set piece in an episodic manner. As per his usual (until Seveneves) Stephenson did almost nothing to write fully formed women characters, but there is no malevolence towards women present - they're just simple props to advance the plot. Use of math, science, religion and philosophy are very very well done. He's an excellent story crafter.
If the thought of learning chunks of an invented language in order to understand a book don't bother you then this book may well be for you! The voice acting was excellent and the snatches of avout chanting in between acts was moving. Other reviews have given enough detail on the story. I just want to say that, if you can deal with new words being tossed around to be explained later, then this is well worth your time. I recognized many bits of the praxis of our own casual domain running through the book, and only small license was taken with it. (that sentence will make sense later)