I loved Snow Crash and was looking forward to another book from Neal Stephenson. Unfortunately many of his books are nothing like Snow Crash. There is little to nothing in his plot that makes me care about the characters, at all. I muscled my way through SevenEves and tried this book as well. I don't think there are any more books from this author that are worth my time.
The narrator in Cryptonomicon falls short of bringing this book alive to the listener. To be fare, I'm not sure whether it was due to a poor performance or the complete lack of interesting content.
I wish I could give this book no stars!
After delving into Stephenson's work, moving backwards entirely by accident (Seveneves, Anathem, now Cryptonomicon), I can confidently say he is one of my favorite authors.
Cryptonomicon is an utterly engaging, thoughtfully arranged, and brilliantly characterized work of historical/speculative fiction. The level of knowledge and passion with which he writes about subjects which would otherwise seem mundane is consistently impressive. He is able to make number theory and its impact on the development of cryptographic systems read like prose. A listener or reader with even the most remote interest in mathematics, technology, or just history will feel more than satisfied with how it is served. I learned a lot of things about a lot of different subjects from this book; geography, foreign culture and politics, geology, mathematics, number theory, computer encryption, etc. Stephenson is a vastly knowledegable writer and it shows readily, without ever feeling remotely dry, patronizing, or as if you are being lectured.
The story itself is told masterfully, jumping between characters and time periods with perfect pacing, so that no single scenario ever feels drawn out. Each time a chapter turned, I was simultaneously eager to return to the previous character to know what happens next, but overjoyed at the return to the character in the new chapter. All of the characters are connected in subtly realistic but vastly important ways, and all of their interactions feel perfectly human, and they come alive in the reader's mind. After reading the synopses for The Baroque Cycle and learning that Cryptonomicon characters' ancestors are involved, I'm excited to start listening to the series. I cannot say enough good things about this novel.
On top of all of this is William Dufris's narration. I became a huge fan of his narration with Anathem, and was further impressed in Cryptonomicon. His speech is perfectly paced, and he lends each character a distinct and consistent voice which feels perfectly suited to their demeanor and personality. Should Stephenson release another novel soon, I nominate Dufris to read it for Audible.
Narrator was too annoying, with characters voices. Seemed like it was forced especially with the Marine. If he did not try to act out every character it may have been better. Could not finish.
I don't usually give up on books I paid for, but this one was terrible. I'm pretty sure the main character suffers from Asperger's Syndrome and that might have had something to do with the narrative. I was optimistic that it might change with a new time period and new narrator. Once the author started in on the most bizarre collection of metaphors describing the scenery in a style of prose that would make even Tolkien say "Dear God, man, that's enough already!" I lost patience with it and gave up. Maybe it gets better. I'll leave that for other people to decide because I am over it.
This book is really fantastic, there are a lot of details that are included that weren't widely know by in the late 90s or even early 2000s. Even with the age of the book the concepts and ideas still hold up and help support a great story spanning 3 generations.
As this story slowly, eloquently unwound, I became more and more reminded of Thomas Pynchon's masterpiece, Gravity's Rainbow. By the time Stephenson brought it to a golden end, he'd surpassed Pynchon. Dufris' magnificent narration of this story, saturated with characters of many nationalities, kept pace with the challenge.
Not my first Neal Stephenson book, but certainly my last.
Much, much better.
The narrator was great and did a fine job voicing the many characters.
Regret that I wasted a credit.
This book would have been fine if the author hadn't tried to turn a normal length novel into an epic tale. The amount of filler was truly astounding! A decent editor could have cut this book in half without hurting the plot. I was constantly waiting for points to be made while the author droned on and on. Then the book ended, not with a bang but with a fizzle.
This book left me exhausted, which is not how a book normally leaves me. It should be a variety of emotions and thinking about what I just read. When this book ended my only thoughts were "Thats it?!" and "At least it's over."
This book was a true waste of time and an utter disappointment.