I can only stretch belief so far.... and the narrators accents don't help. He does scottish very well, unfortunately- they all sound scottish, even when he tries to do Russian. He does asian not at all, which is better. The russian is so bad it almost makes his Boston passable but only in comparison. Hes an excellent reader othewise, I wish he would have just skipped accents completely.
The book is non stop action (once you get the background of the game set up), which is great! The problem is to keep the action coming the coincidences of time and place, history and rationale of the characters goes from unlikely to just plain inconceivable.
The author never plays fast and loose with the facts and does a wonderful job with the initial set up so the story all fits, but the odds just don't play out. If you can completely suspend even a rudimentary concept of statistically likely scenarios and just go with it- it is non-stop action and a fun book. Toward the end I couldn't quite shut off that little voice that said at every turn- Oh COME ON! this is preposterous!
I've read almost every Neal Stephenson book I could get hold of. He is one of my favorite modern writers. There is nobody else who can operate at the scale and ambition of Stephenson's best work.
This is a modern techno-thriller , more in the pattern of Zodiac & Cryptonomicon ( more epic than the first, less ambitious than the 2nd ) Though it lacks the multiple time-periods and the intellectual ambition of some of his recent books, it's a taughtly constructed piece of writing, expertly researched, compellingly written and very entertaining to read.
The plot does tend to feel contrived at times, especially with how all the principle characters arrive at the endgame simultaneously, but you so want them all to be there, to each have their closure, that it's forgivable.
I have a feeling that this novel will date horribly , as it's balanced so precisely on this moment in time, the technology , the cultural references. Many of which are ephemeral or at least in transition even now. I'm not sure that's a problem , but I was very aware of how timely this book is as I was listening to it.
Malcolm Hillgartner is a fine reader, he has an engaging voice and carries off the various characters individual speech/accents mostly quite well. However he gets a bit lost with his Scots accent, it veers wildly between Dublin, Glasgow and Karachi. He avoids trying a Welsh accent, which I think was for the best.
I am a huge fan of all of Neal Stephenson's work and this book is no exception. Much like Anathem it did take a little time to get into the story but once your in it takes off and I could not stop listening.
Not my favourite Stephenson- but the worst Stephenson (which this is not) is better than the best anyone else. Probably on a par with Anathem- very good, but misses the greatness of the Baroque Cycle/Cryptonomicon. Not to be missed for fans of Stephenson or witty, fast moving urban adventure.
It felt a little slow to start, but once I got a couple of hours into it I really started enjoying it. It combines a bit of mystery/suspense/action with fairly modern day technical themes. I'd recommend it to someone who likes the genre, and it's a GREAT value for only one credit.
A great story that is a slick blending of the world of a MMOG with a face-paced, international spy adventure. The narration was excellent. Male and female characters of many nations were handled in a convincing way. It was difficult to stop listening to this story and I was sad when it was over (one of my tests of a good book). I just wish Neal Stephenson would stop referring to magazines as "clips" - makes me crazy. ;-)
I'm a long time Neal Stephenson fan but I was disappointed by Anathem, his last book. This book, however, is great--a wild ride across several continents with a diverse group of characters doing a up-to-date version of the classic good versus evil battle. Stephenson shows us uses and abuses of technology and then takes us to a place where only physical strength and skill matter. The narrator does a great job handling a cast with lots of nationalities. Highly recommended.
I should have trusted the review that said they should have stopped after "Ready Player One".. I too LOVED that book (just a simple story that I clicked with) and I too should have stopped after that one..
Admittedly this is my first Stephenson book, but it just bored me to tears.. I've fallen asleep 4 times already trying to listen and I'm only 5 hours in.. Dry characters with uninteresting back stories plague the beginning, and nothing I've heard so far has made me interested in what happens to them further in the story..
I've heard such good things about Stephenson's books and I LOVE this genre, so I'm truly shocked at my opinion of this one, but I you live and learn I guess.. I won't let this one complete my opinion of the author and I'll try another one of his books, I just hope it's better.. Maybe Snow Crash??
When I bought this book I thought it was going to be about a game. It is so much more! A well written story, and one well told. Loaded with action,and drama. It left me wanting more.