Originally posted at:A Girl that Likes Books
We can land in the moon […] but we cannot be good, we are wicked. This is a wicked world
Why I read this book
All through 2012 and 2013 I read bloggers praises for this book, however I kept forgetting to get myself a copy. Luckily for me the Audible Algorithm showed to me last time I had an available credit and then I was a click away from a wonderful book.
What the book is about
It's hard to put into simple terms what this book is about. I could tell you it's about the end of the world and I wouldn't be lying, but then again is also about love and spies and the underworld of crime. I can tell you it is about a guy coming into terms with whom he really is...and all of these would be true and appropriate, but is not enough to describe what this wonder is about.
This book reminded me at first of The Goldfinch, with the delectable descriptions of art work and the rhythm of the story. It was much funnier though and the after a while it got to considerably faster pace. Granted I was listening to it at a 1.25x speed, but what I mean is that little by little the book turned out to be packed with action and hilarious characters that made the whole experience absolutely magnificent.
Harkaway took what could've been just a crazy story and made it one of the best books I've read that also made me laugh. A lot of the effect has to be awarded to Daniel Weyman, an incredible narrator.
The book is narrated in present tense and in the third person which made me feel like I was watching a movie. This is a good thing for me, since I'm still getting used to building my imagery based on audio. Too many years relying on paper I suppose ;).
What made me love this book so much were, besides the story itself, the women in it. Women of substance, to quote the author, is what made this book unforgettable for me. Most of all: Polly Cradle, Frankie and off course Edie Banister. They are strong, determined, funny...and this is me controlling my major girl crush on them.
At a certain point of the book I was listening to it on speaker in bed, since sadly my headphones weren't working. A sex scene came up and then I got a weird look from my boyfriend...because I was laughing like crazy. It had to be one of the funniest, most witty written sex scene I've read in a loooooong time. This wittiness applies to the whole book.
I would (and I have) recommended this one to everyone I could. I've found ways to drop the book in a conversation that might sound force, but they will thank me when they read the book.
The trouble with shooting people [...] is that is hard to do just one
Lush writing draws you into the characters mind, life and emotions. This makes a great ride for fans of strong, sympathetic characters with cheeky, yet believeable, personality.
The prison sequence.
A bit predictable if you've read his first outing, Gone Away World. Seems to have a very specific pattern to his themes and storytelling.
It's very disappointing when you see such wonderful reviews and one or two hours into the book you are thinking, am I listening to the same book? I listened and listened trying to get hooked on something -- the story, the characters, etc. But finally gave up after about 4 hours of boredom. I think a good book should grab your attention within the first hour and this one just did not do that for me. On a positive note, the narrator did a fabulous job and my disinterest was not due to his performance.
A wonderful mix of philosophy and social commentary expressed with writing that is both raw and elegant. This is easily one of best books have enjoyed in the past several years. Harkaway drops subtle gems throughout the book that just beg to be uncovered through multiple reads. I'm already looking forward to listening to this one again!
I love, love, loved the narration. Daniel Weyman is fantastic. I might just see what else he's done.
I did like our hero and am glad he finally grew a pair, (can I say that?) because I wanted to slap him for asking so many stupid questions and being such a whiner. And I really liked the brother and sister.
But, my favorite was the character of Edie. I would like to see a series of just her in her "dotage". (extreme air quotes)
Villain was a truly terrible nemesis.
Fantastic characters. Spot on narration. Beautifully written. Story is a bit rambling, but otherwise and engrossing listen.
The narrator is unbelievably good, and the story is unique and fantastic.
The different voices, but especially the voice for Bastion the dog!
Edy. It is so rare to get the perspective of an elderly spy/criminal mastermind looking back on her life.
Must Listen! Made my commute a pleasure.
Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.
Purchased this as a Daily Deal and what a deal. Joe is an unsuspecting clockmaker who unknowingly reanimates a doomsday device that was created by a wicked, mathematical genius in the 1950's, who had hopes of becoming God like. Hidden within the device is an undecipherable mathematic, apocalyptic formula that is the trigger for the device.
The authorities know there is a key(calibration drum), and are convinced that Joe knows where it is, so when they come to the end of their legal limits, they hire experts to torture him. During one of the relentless sessions, he is in a state of drug induced delusion, when he realizes that his Grandfather gave him the key without telling him what it was.
After what seemed like many weeks the abductees become lax and Joe attempts an escape with another inmate, only to find out it was a planned escape and the other inmate was a rube. Joe catches on, knocks the rube out and truly does escape. He is picked up by a friend and taken to Eddie.
Eddie is an elderly woman who has been hiding in a convent as a nun for many years but in fact is an ex-super spy. She was friends/lovers with Joe's late Grandmother, Frankie. Frankie had re-calibrated the device and if it was left alone would improve the world by nine percent over time. Before Frankie disappears she gives Eddie the task of hiding the machine. Eddie has done so for half a lifetime until an old nemesis re-enters Eddie's life.
Shem Shem Tsien a super villain who impossibly retains his youth after century's and will do anything to obtain the device. He is insane and in his many, unnatural years has obtained beastly, carnal knowledge of the human condition beyond any ever measured.
Even though Joe is an innocent clockmaker he grew up around some of the most prominent, violent gangsters and crime bosses of his fathers day. While they have remained dormant, Joe's many inherited, ruthless skills eventually must come back in to play for the survival of all.
A fun combination of splashy characters that jumped off the page with the help of Daniel Weyman's artful narration.
It starts out with interesting characters and really cool steampunk technology. It has a fascinating budding conspiracy of sorts.
The weird English humor at times was off-putting for this American but that could just be me.
Then in the final third of the book, it goes entirely off the rails. I don't really care about Joe Spork's background and how he uses it. To me it just sputtered to a finish.
It was disappointing because he could have really taken it somewhere and he didn't. The whole reason for the technology becomes irrelevant. The characters/group at the root of the technology were fantastic and they are almost irrelevant at the end.
The reader was quite adequate even good at times and never bothered me, hence the average rating for him.
I didn't have high expectations for this book. I picked it up, relatively sight unseen, as part of a two-for-one deal. Absolutely loved it. Immediately got a copy for my husband, who also loved it. Can't wait to read other works by this author.
The tone reminded me very pleasantly of Neil Gaiman, of whom I'm a completely over the top fan.
The speech where the women explain to the villian that they are not, in fact, the good guys.