Can't agree with the rhapsodic reviews of this book. A slackly written "thriller" with no narrative pulse, its characters disappear for hundreds of pages or drop out of the book altogether without explanation. The set up to the main plot is so leisurely and discursive that it buries all tension and anticipation. When the climatic events are finally presented they are given in such a cursory fashion that I wondered why I had spent the previous 15 hours listening to their preliminaries.
There are also some real whoppers that make it difficult to suspend belief but those are minor compared to the larger, fatal failure to create a world believable on its own terms. Never for a minute did I believe that this world could exist. The characters were two dimensional puppets moved around for the convenience of the plot or else were so "colorful" that they never became real. Lack of character depth or of a convincing, organic world true to itself can be forgiven in a thriller if the plot is propulsive but all are missing here.
Some humor, a few interesting ideas, the workmanlike competence of the writing and a talented reader save the book from one star.
I don't think so.
I don't think so.
Oliver Wyman's narration is superb. I'll search for other books narrated by him.
Boredom - it's just too long. I couldn't finish it.
You don't need high-tech to create a puppet president.
The story was great, kept my attention and was an interesting topic. One thing drove me crazy. I grew up in central Illinois and Tuscola is pronounced Tus-co’-la, with a short u and a long o. I know this is a small thing, but so are fingernails on blackboards. If you are going to read a book with so many references to a town, please call the city hall and find out how people pronounce the city's name! It really hurt my enjoyment in the book. If you never heard of the town, I am sure you couldn't care less and the book was great.
I really, really wanted to like this book, but it was so disappointing. So many things were telegraphed or just plain wrong and made the book hard to listen to. Motives of the secondary characters were just not realistic (they all appear to be stupid.) The last few hours of the book just made me roll my eyes and I had to really push my self to finish.
Initially this book appeared to go into an inordinate level of detail over what appeared, at first blush, to be the merely trivial and unimportant. Thus the movement of the storyline appeared almost frustratingly slow. Then, as I adjusted to its pace I began to realise that the author was providing this detail for very clever reasons as he slowly unfurled what was to become and immensely complex, rich and rewarding tale. In the end, it was an exquisitely well-crafted and absorbing book and I could not speak highly enough of the narrator. He narrated the background story line beautifully and, almost as importantly, delivered magnificent characterisations, moving effortlessly between the voices of the very different characters as be bought them all to life. A very enjoyable work from masters of their crafts.
Cussler, Connelly, Clancy I like all with a C ...
I love Neal Stephenson and this may be his best book I have listened to.
It is not be so convoluted like Cryptonomicon and Baroque trilogy (loved all of these tremendously) and may have some parallels with the Diamond age.
For me this is the essence of all I love about N.Stephenson's books
Great timing, ballanced ... Great!
The authors nailed the last campaign and presented an interesting alternative way it could have gone. A little scary even. I enjoyed the story but it seemed like it was written in the 90's, given the technology level presented, but then dusted off and updated for the current political climate. Regardless, it worked pretty well.
Can't say enough for the narrator. There are a lot of diverse characters in this story, gender, race, class, nationalities, etc.. He manages to bring them all to life and keep the story moving.
This book will entertain just about everyone. It's intriguing, presents some not often thought of ideas, has a great deal of humor and while touching on political aspirations, the subject is not heavy or cumbersome.
A politician high on the political list for a presidential run suffers a debilitating stroke. At the same time, medical research contemplates the ability to take over under active or inactive parts of the brain and provide the missing instructions. Tests are being done somewhat successfully on baboons.
The overall story follows several story lines that eventually come together. The medical research, the political dreams of several characters, a homeless woman looking for work and the ability to provide for her children when her husband takes the "easy" way out, an aspiring neurologist and a family with a loyal family lawyer who sometimes runs afoul of others expectations.
All together the listener is left with some interesting ideas of just how far some will go to control the will of any nation through political means.
I thoroughly enjoyed the unabridged version and was entertained for many hours.
Not the most gripping book ever, but the story was interesting enough and the ending was unexpected. Not you typical 'good guy always wins' story.
Compelling, fascinating, and timely. Makes me think about politics differently without feeling like a conspiracy nut.
The light dawning on Vishniac
I wanted to. But, it was too long and I have other things to do.