This book is awesome in it's detail and it really builds some powerful characters. If you have any kind of love for math, you will REALLY love it. It took me a minute to get synced up with the flash back and forward style, but I came to enjoy it. Considering the length, this is a great value. You won't be disappointed. I know it had to end, but I did feel like the ending was rather abrupt considering the lengthy set up, but I don't know if that is me or the book. I think I just wanted it to last longer. I wish I could have a beer with Doug Shafto!
I have not read the print version, and I expect the more technical, mathematical points in the novel might have been easier to follow in print, but then one would miss Dufris's excellent and often very funny reading of the Charles Dickens of sci-fi.
First, it should be said that this book should not be classified as sci-fi or fantasy. It is primarily a book about code-breaking during WWII. There are large parts of the book that take place during the present day, focusing on the descendants of the WWII protagonists. The discussions of code-breaking are fairly superficial, so if you are a expecting some nice mathematical discussions, you won't find them. Instead, the book is a collection of many plodding short scenes that eventually tie together, but it is not worth the effort getting to the end. I made it only because I was convinced that the book would get more exciting eventually. I was wrong. This book could have easily been 1/3 the length. I felt like the editor did not do a very good job.
The performance had flaws as well. Military personnel were narrated in an over-the-top "dumb grunt" type of voice. The only female voice started out being normal, then for some unexplicable reason took on a southern hillbilly twang for a while, then changed back. Huh? Some of the best narration was the Japanese (or Nipponese, as the author insists on calling them) characters.
If Stephenson was trying to write an epic tale, I don't think he succeeded. The only thing epic was the length. The plot would have been good had it been presented in a shorter book, but being so spread out simply made it boring.
A better reader.
He just wrecked what I thought was a pretty good book with his reading intonation.
Neil Stephenson's book Seveneves was possibly the best book I've read in several years, so I read this looking for something similar. I was disappointed. There was only one character I cared about (Goto Dengo), and a dozen other characters who really didn't seem to matter. Maybe it was just hard to follow in audio format than it would have been in written form because of the number of story lines and details, but ultimately I just didn't care, and thought a lot of pieces were left hanging or unnecessary to the primary story lines.
Smart, funny, exciting. No other writer on earth can make math so interesting, and so thrilling. Love this book, and all the rest.
William Dufris ruined it for me, but Neal Stephenson didn't do him any favors. The story was choppy and cumbersome. Didn't make it through the whole thing. The story seemed predictable and corny.
By having John Lee or nearly anyone else do it. Oh yea, and not having a terrible story would help too.