really good book. the overall story is good. Alot of the villains are poorly set up and are thus not very meaningful. it's more about the journey and it's a good one. in audio format there are these time jumps that don't play well, and at first it can be confusing.
Except for a few chapters, the story is just page after page of the author's written indulgence. Too many words with too little impact. Like the author, the narrator worked very hard, but his voices were usually over the top and often irritating. Ok, they earned my $14.95 . . . But I would like my 42hrs back!
While I enjoyed many aspects of this book, including the characters and different time periods used, it was overall a letdown as the story just peters out and doesn't really leave me satisfied.
I read the book on the recommendation of an IT friend thinking that it would be more about cyber. They did talk quite a bit about cyber and although I found those portions to be interesting, they were a little disjointed and really seemed more to be an excuse to talk about sex and masturbation. A popular topic, to be sure, but not really important to the story. After I'd finished, my first thought was about the 40+ hours I'd spent listening to it and how many other books I could've listened to during that time.
While the book is quite good, Audible has still not fixed the out of order chapters people have noted before. Selling defective books is really not acceptable.
I think he was doing a fine job until he got to the Japanese. Here he totally butchered all of the names. It is one thing if they were filtered through the American characters ability, or lack thereof, to pronounce Japanese, but when during Goto Dengo’s storyline Ninomiya became Ninomaya I turned off the book. I’m not looking for perfection, but that was just horrible. I eventually went back to listening because I really wanted to know the rest of the story, becuase I really, really loved this book, and didn’t have the printed book at hand.
Shaftoe's debrief by a certain Army Lieutenant.
This is the first Neal Stephenson book I've read or listened to and I found it absolutely enthralling. The author's sense of humor is such that I often found the minutia (this is a long book and there is a lot of minutia) of the story captivating and hilarious. His character development is among the best I've read/listened to.
As a life-long member of the geeky introvert club I found his characterization of that archetype to be particularly enlightening, funny and just spot on.
I've since picked up Snow Crash and couldn't finish it. I guess the post cyber punk thing isn't for me, but I will certainly be picking up all his other historical fiction works.
The story unfolds in parallel threads, existing in the past and the recent-present, that reveal the plot in a fun way. Stephenson takes you all over the world and across time while letting you get to know some fun personalities. All of this happens at a brisk pace that will keep the listener engaged.
If you enjoy the idea of cyphers, the pre-history of computers and learning about some contemporary technology this book will entertain you. But don't assume that it's all about the tech. It's full of activity, from diving, combat, digging, hacking and excellent conversation.
William Dufris is a gifted narrator (I rarely encounter anything less with Audible these days) who expertly reads while inhabiting a large variety of characters of different sex and nationality. He's a one-man acting troupe, but you won't be cognizant of his efforts. You'll just enjoy the narrative.
The bottom line is that I looked for opportunities to listen to this whenever I could and I was sad when it was all over.