Reading is a passion. Holding a book is not practical in the car. Sure glad I signed up for Audible all those years ago!
Seriously! Spend the CREDIT!
This story line is like watching a Ballroom Dancer doing the Foxtrot. Sometimes the plot change footwork is so fast you have to back it up to make sure you caught it.
BACK it up! It is worth it! I cannot recommend this one enough.
The main character, Richard Forthrast, is very human and normal, for a guy in 1972. He just wants to be able to live his own way and make a living like everyone else. Over the years, stuff just happens to him and his friends, and family and strangers… Somehow, the characters are all brought into the plot as if they were the other dancers spinning and dancing with Richard, unknown to each other until they spin together, picking up partners, switching plot lines, blowing up buildings by accident.
Ok, yes, this has a Virtual Game plot twist. But do not let that possible little miss-direction of the description fool you. This is a reality based mystery-action 3-D book with great heroes and villains who are not as in-human as they seem at first, well not all of them anyway. There are enough computer geeks for all and lots of flying in airplanes, hijacking boats, and escapes by foot.
This book is adult themed and has lots of cool fight scenes, stolen money, bad guys, miss-communications, multiple languages, guns, cultural shifts of view, exotic locations, all the stuff that makes Neal Stephenson so very clever and interesting to read. I promise, if you like smart, funny, fast paced, but not easily solved or resolved story lines, you will enjoy this one.
The book was really well read by Malcom Hillgartner. I can honestly say it was a pleasure to listen to his characterizations. They were an addition to the prose.
Sequel to this one - please?
There is no doubt about it, this is a long book. But I'm use to it from Neal Stephenson's other works. Its got virtual worlds, hackers, terrorists and mobsters! And feels like some of his earlier works (Snow Crash) and the pacing and characters keep you going. My only gripe is the reader isn't very tech savvy and hasn't been coached on how to say certain technical jargon which takes me out of the story for a bit and I have to tell myself to let it go :)
This was my first Neal S book and it will not be my last. Great premise and a great read/listen. A little long for my taste but due to the cast of characters and complexity of their involvement I'm not sure how it could have been shortened. Stephenson writes well and his descriptions are excellent. -- Thanks for a great time, I was almost sorry to have the book end.
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.