I stayed with this book long after I thought I should have abandoned it. As it turns out, my first instinct was correct. I should have abandoned it.
The ONLY thing going for this book is the insight that it provides into some of the daily life in the 17th century, as well as the state of scientific knowledge in those times. If you have a scientific or engineering background you will probably enjoy learning the history of some of Newton’s laws, for example. If you aren’t that interested in the development of science, this book will be even more boring for you than it was for me.
I stuck with it because the series got pretty good reviews, even though the reviews for this particular book are mediocre. I did not take into account that reviews for a series should ALWAYS be better than the reviews for the first book, because people who don’t like the first book won’t listen to the rest of the series.
The narration by Simon Prebble is good, but isn’t five-star. I occasionally couldn’t distinguish one character’s voice from another. His voice does have a quality about it that seems to suit the material; that is, it goes with the book.
I should have paid more attention to the critical reviewers. You should too.
Step into Baroque
Fighting off Pirates outside of Boston Harbor
Never dominated the story, underscores dialogue with varied natural sounding voices
I had to concentrate to listen - I could not do other brain work while listening.
This is the start of a wonderful series of books.
Is this story about the strides of science in the 15th and 16th century, or is it about the lives of some of the great minds (and many lesser minds) of this era? On either count it failed for me.
I didn't know what to expect with Quicksilver given some of the poor reviews. What I found was great writing paired with excellent narration. Though heavy on the historical detail and less on the fictional drama, it still was a great listen. Reminds me of a Follet book, i.e. Pillars of the Earth. Even better is that it is a series. Can't wait to listen to the rest. The only caution I would comment on is the moving back and forth in time made it a little tough to follow, especially with all of the characters.
This was not entertaining. As I have knowledge of history, and a basic understanding of math, computer, physics and biology I found their intellectual musing interesting. And it was neat to see fictional characters interacting with historic characters and talking them in to or out of actions, cajoling them to act as they actually did in history.
It written in a dense and convoluted way. I almost abandoned this book because the Stephenson wrote the book as though he was getting paid by the word: the simplest actions are written in the longest and most boring way possible. I've bought the sequel, but probably will not read it. (They were on sale.)
I suspect Neal Stephenson to deliberately start his books slow. Very slow, agonizingly slow. I suspect he wants only the brave to finish his books. The deserving ones. Any one of his books will get mixed reviews by people who gave up. People who did not want to push through. But if you do...the reward is so wonderful, so enriching. Mixing fact with fiction, actual history with fictional adventures can be so rewarding. Neal Stephenson is the kind of history teacher you wish your children to have. One that creates a story that sucks you up and leaves you wanting more. Mostly he finds a link with binary history and weaves it ever so gently into his stories. For those who stay and listens this story brings a wealth of information and enjoyment. But only start this if you are willing to follow the epic journey to it's end.
Dialogue on the history of science. Were these guys really this jacked up?
Review of British history. This book is for those interested in the past.
Perhaps to check on its historical accuracy
Sometimes the tone was a bit too irreverent. Not to knock Stephenson's style, but his toe slips over the line at times.
Staggering voice performances. Parallel plots with time jumps enlivened by incredible circumstances and fascinating scientific/political and historic insights. Best audiobook I ever 'read'.
Halfcock Jack, because he is so entertainingly perverse
don't think so
Jack again, because I'm perverse.
As the author mentions in the foreword of the book, he gathered lots and lots of information about the time of enlightenment to provide a good scientific and historical background to his story. Unfortunately what follows is a lame story so covered in tedious historical facts and teeming with historical figures, that it is actually pretty hard to find.
In addition to that, the performance of the reader makes it as enjoyable as listening to an encyclopedia. I've expected something better from Mr. Stephenson.
I wanted to like it. I think I liked it. I feel confused....
It was different to listen to a book based in the 1600's. I usually avoid those as they are mostly romance. The language and culture used in the book were a bit hard to get used to. The story felt disjointed but had many moments that perked up my ears.
I am not sure what to say beyond that. I love history, science, and economics so I will place my trust in Neal's hands and continue with the series.