Max Barry is back in top form. This entertaining musing on the power of words may go to extremes to get it's point across but in a world drowning in con men disguised as salesmen this is exactly the modern parable we should celebrate.
Maybe, I usually don't come back to fast paced thrillers like this but it felt like there was something more going on that I missed.
Eliot was the most interesting to me but just because he felt like he had the most history and internal conflict throughout the story. But he also doesn't go through as dramatic and interesting an arc as Emily does it's kind of a toss up.
Corrigan's Emily and Appleman's Eliot too difficult to compare. I'll go with Corrigan's Emily just because I feel she really brings some sympathy to a character who needs later on down the line.
It's difficult to share without giving a lot away, but suffice it to say I really enjoy Max Barry's romances in his books.
This is a magic system that really means something besides creating cool fight scenes. It gives a real image to the power of words and knowledge. The most powerful characters in this story are those who know how to read people and how to exploit that. Intelligence and charisma really are dangerous tools in this world just like they are in ours. Dang, I love this book.
Heather Corrigan's voice is hypnotic. I'd listen to her read the phone book!
It was too long to listen to all at once, but I pretty much listened to it whenever I could and didn't want to put it down.
I liked the structure of the book, the parallel stories that came together and moved apart. I also enjoyed the way one's frame of reference for certain characters or institutions would be fundamentally changed as the book progressed. That increased the roller coaster sense of being on a wild ride with the narrative.
Good story and characters. Very good performance.
The book would be 1/3 to 1/2 shorter if the "f" word were removed.
This is my first Max Barry book, and I was very impressed. A very engaging story, good writing that held together, good narration. It was one of those audio books where I could not wait to get into my truck to listen to it. Well done!
I kept being reminded of the Don't think of an Elephant short book about how language is manipulated to get people to think certain ways and I've run across some of the tidbits regarding linguistics and language development etc elsewhere and there could have been even more of that for me and it would have been fine. what there is is not heavy handed and is well enough layed out.
Here we have a well thought out story and even though it at times follows standard plot lines it is researched enough without being pedantic to keep drawing you further along. It is fast moving, entertaining and goes a step beyond "subliminal seduction" entering into some horrific moments. A chase novel that moves back and forth from present to past and slowly brings past up to rejoin. This is done well though it isn't spelled out immediately and could cause a moment's confusion but it works fine except maybe for a bit at the end where the time frames are too close. there are a couple of things I'd like to have seen explained or at least not ignored since to me you have to at least acknowledge where this "base word" came from whether you go into much detail or not. But at least theres some thought behind this and it's not a Stephen King evil spirits to explain it all type cop out.
But all in all fun and as i said with some food for thought. & on a side note, If i'm not mistaken this is the same publisher as the Pynchon Bleeding Edge debacle and these narrators (rotating male and female, which is excellently done) even do a good job with Australian accents and so the ? again surfaces, How can they get this audio so right, and the Pynchon so abysmally wrong?
Say something about yourself!
This is Max Barry's take on the theme of how language affects thought with a special focus on language as a code for hacking the brains of other people in order to control them. There are many interesting ideas here, although the fiction does tend to outweigh the science most of the time and the book slips into the fantasy zone on occasion. Nevertheless, the story is strong enough to counter the hand waving going on, and you can't help caring about Barry's very complicated and compelling characters. I would recommend Neal Stephenson's "Snowcrash," and Samuel R. Delaney's "Babel 17" as earlier novels on this same theme. If you read them first, you will actually catch some of the subtle nods to these stories in Barry's book.
Lots of unnecessary graphic violence and swearing. Premise is intriguing but the story didn't come together until the very end. Leaping from one scene to another made it awkward to follow. Characters could be better developed. Not terrible, could have been great.
As I began listening to "Lexicon," I couldn't help but draw parallels to "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. In both books, the protagonist is a disadvantaged teenage girl using her smarts to beat the elite who control the masses in a near future dystopian society. I enjoyed "The Hunger Games" a lot. I enjoyed "Lexicon" almost as much.
The difference is, Lexicon kept me hankering after details and information that would explain exactly where these characters came from and how they tick. Author Max Barry knows how to tell a story - and crafting a tight, exciting plot is clearly his strength. I wonder if he's written screen plays because that's the flavor of this book every once in awhile. And yet I have to concede, Max Barry is a talented wordsmith, so why not use some of those words to explain some "whys" in addition to the "whats" and "whens?" Maybe clue us in on how the characters became who they are before they hit the ground running for the thrill ride of "Lexicon." The characters seemed almost incidental to the story, if that makes any sense. The author's amazingly creative idea of a world where words are weapons and transparency is weakness, intrigued me. However, in his excitement to show the reader all the cool stuff that happens in this world, characterization suffers. Barry glosses over details that would give the story more poignancy and heart. The biggest explosion or gun battle ends up sort of "meh" for me if I'm not significantly invested in the person in peril.
All in all, I liked "Lexicon." The ideas and themes of the novel are worth pondering. The warning bell sounded in response to our society's propensity for sharing information way too easily (but wait a sec! I got 10% off at Macy's just for signing up for their emails!) is ample food for thought. It's just that in the real world, providing personal information for your novel's protagonist elevates the book from "good" to "great."
Full time Internal Medicine practice and serious amateur Landscape photographer. Utilizes driving hours listening to spy and thriller Audiobooks. Loves to travel to places with mountains, green waters and beaches with wife.
Emily, the deviant multi-talented brilliant practical-minded young woman.
Excellent choice of Heather Corrigan. I wanted her to really express her rage like a cat in distress on some of the book chapters. There is something in her tone of voice that captivates her listeners. I started listening to this book while I was tilling my garden at around 8:00 AM here in Connecticut this July 4th weekend and did not stop until I finished the full length of the book the same day while driving to my destination in Southern New Jersey to attend a birthday party.The plot is very contemporary and believable. Our brain has 10+ billion neurons and in our lifetime, I don't think we utilize 1% of it. There is just so much mind power to explore and Max Barry's concept to master our acumen to persuade, command and direct a cluster of population to attack and kill, is not far from reality... and frightening. I bet that there are clandestine agencies out there who continue to develop this Pavlovian deviation and we hope that if it does happen, it will be used for the common good. The interference of the Establishment to continue to dominate our lives is just beginning. Our data are stored every time we browse the internet. All of us are tract down whenever we use our mobile phones. Nothing is secret in this day and age anymore. The only thing left is our mind. Once the government finally unlock this mystery, we are like the subjects in the movie "Terminator"