Once again China Mieville has put down a thought-provoking and totally unique story, one that takes on what it means to have a mind and to use language. Susan Duerden's narration was top of the line; as with the best in her profession, she brings something to the story rather than simply reading it.
Yes, because it is so unusual...and interesting.
The greatest new sci-fi since "Aliens".
Incredibly different story. Very involving. The characters were always surprising. I enjoyed the first person perspective in this story.
The author comes up with premise that is very imaginative, and therefore thought provoking
The double voices were a nice touch
I would love to be an editor in the audio world.
This book is disjointed and you spend most of your time trying to figure out where the story is going. This is my first China Mieville book and will be my last.
I have listened to The City and the City and The Kraken and have got used to John Lee. That said, given the fantastic reviews for Susan Duerden, I really wanted to give her a chance. I could not get used to her monotonous, deadpan narration. I could barely distinguish between narration and dialogue for the most part. The double voice was really interesting, but beyond that, not so much. I don't think John Lee would have been the right narrator for this story, but I did not like Susan much. So much so, I moved to the print book to finish it. I couldn't bear the thought of having to slog through 8 more hours of this monotonous rendition to get to the end of the story.
The story was a bit dark for me. The other Mievilles I've read have seemed almost farcical, this one just seemed to get dark. I was reminded of The Mote in God's Eye in the second half of the book. I did not enjoy this as much as the others I've read. The premise of the story was interesting, I unfortunately guessed what was to come before the reveal so it was a bit spoiled for me. In the end - a lot happened in a very short period. All in all, meh!
Retired librarian, avid reader.
Not only is this an excellent book with regard to the writing and the story, it is one of the best audiobooks that I have ever heard. Susan Duerden narrates magnificently. And the special treatment given in the narration for "Language" is absolutely spot on. Upon finishing, after I caught my breath, I immediately started a second time through. It is an extraordinary listen!
Great Narrator, but this book was so hard to follow. And the craving the Hosts had for a certain thing was not working for me at all. Nor was the relationship between the Hosts and everyone else in the book ever clearly understood. Nor was the whole two-parts to an ambassador thing -- Ez and Ra rather than Ezra. I think this is a book better read than listened to. It is much harder to back up on an audible book than flip back to previous pages when something is confusing which was my entire experience, and I did give it all through Part 1 and through the first third of Part 2. I listen to lots of books and this is the most disorienting book I've listened to.
If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.
Mieville continues to entertain and provoke with his latest, his first real science-fiction proper. He has scaled down the rather messy ambitions of Perdido St. Station and now keeps his stories relatively simple. This one's set way in the future and has a bit of space opera along with interesting conjectures on the form of alien languages. It's not quite as magnificent as Kraken, but it's an excellent tale. Good reader, too.
Say something about yourself!
I love the themes of this book -- the problem of communication, the nature of language, the relationships among language, thought, and reality -- and the story is vividly written and quite compelling throughout. The timeline of the first part of the book is challenging (especially in audio format) but brilliant. However, there are deep conceptual problems at the heart of the very issues the book tackles. The fiction definitely trumps the science in this one. It is, however, a great book to argue about with others who have read it. The narration is also excellent for the most part, although it does become a bit melodramatic toward the end (although perhaps the prose demands that).
Takes me a year to read a paper book, three pages a night before I crash. Audible has increased my reading by an unknowable percentage.
My wife always asks me what I'm reading (listening) and I'm usually not at a loss to tell her what a book is about. This has been the case with all of Mr. Mieville's books so far, and the more so with Embassytown. One good thing about his work is that he doesn't spend any time with set-up. He doesn't go out of his way to explain things... you have to get it from context as the book moves along. Embassytown was rough going at first, but well worth the effort to keep at it.
Having said that, Mieville is one of the most imaginative authors I've read. His command of English is remarkable and he spins a great yarn. This author has a big vocabulary and he's sent me to the dictionary more than once. One small negative: He beats the heck out of the word "palimpsest" in "Perdido Street Station".... but palimpsest is a good word and Mieville uses it very well, every time.