I think this book, or Linden's other book "The Accidental Mind" are great introductions to recents developments in neuroscienctific research.
A friend of mine who is finishing his PhD in the subject was surprised that I grasped the more salient topics of current research into oxytocin, which I learned partially thanks to this book.
Really interesting premise, and enough action to pull through to the end. But ultimately the characters and the contrived way their stories intersected to prove a point failed to impress me.
I really like the Ex's series for pure thoughtless entertainment value -- superheroes AND zombies, it's a geek dream! -- and the third book proved to be my favorite so far.
However, the audiobook was obviously a rush job as the editing was no where near as good as the previous two. Numorous time during the listen, the wrong character would speak, and at least twice lines were duplicated. The flaws distracted from a cool story enough to be a little irritating.
That's really the best I can give it.
The story was interesting, and I saw where the author was trying to go with it; an ironic "present dystopia" taking elements of our everyday life that we take for granted to their inevitable extreme. But ultimately the characters were one-dimensional and all equally unlikable, the sarcasm was too heavy-handed to be funny, and the whole project just fell flat.
I felt like the author was trying to emulate Christopher Buckley, but this novel was to "Thank You for Smoking" as a Big Mac is to a well-grilled steak.
This book is first and foremost a coming-of-age tale.
The narrator meets Jesus (Joshua) when they are both children. From the beginning, the young Joshua knows who he is, but not exactly how to go about fulfilling his difficult destiny. Josh must travel to the ends of the land in order to learn what he needs to do, and Biff needs to go with him because Josh would get himself killed if he went alone. Together they have adventures as fantastic as those in the Bible, but not nearly as bloody.
Biff's tale is about a wonderful man striving to live up to his divine origins by embracing humanity. To a hardened apostate like myself, this portrayal as Jesus as a good man who would not only associate with sinners, but consider them his best friends, warmed my heart. If the church I was dragged to as a child had preached about this loving man, instead of his jealous, violent, judgemental and distant father, I might still have faith.
I absolutely can not stand the idea that people are reading this book and going away thinking that they have learned something.
The conclusions that Dr. Hare have reached are based on an extremely limited sample, using an incomplete analysis and without a contemporary understanding of neuroscience. I had to stop listening when he referred to the lateralization of brain hemispheres (right brain does this, left brain does that) as a fact, when it has been debunked as a myth since the early 90s.
I do have respect for Dr. Hare in that he was, at one point, a pioneer in the study of clinical psychopathy, in that he actually went out and tried to study people who were obviously afflicted. But his theories need to evolve with current research if he is to be taken seriously. What outside research he did call upon in the book was limited and obviously cherry-picked to support his own outdated theories. That is no behavior for a man calling himself a scientist.
This was a fun little story. Mostly the focus is on the mundane - the pressures facing female professional chefs in a male-dominated industry, the woes of a man going through a messy divorce with a harpy. There just happens to be vampires. Vampires to cook for, no less!
I was not expecting the story to go in the direction that it did, and I was pleasantly surprised when it did. I won't ruin anything for you, but I'll put it this way; I was feeling kind of down, so I sought out a horror novel to listen to and found this one. When it turned out that this wasn't the usual scary story, I was too intriqued to stop listening...and ultimately the story pulled me out of my mood entirely!
The narration was great, too. The actor was able to differentiate between the characters nicely without resorting to bad accents.
The story was merely okay, the characters two-dimensional and the protaganist was portrayed as so powerful that he was obviously never in any real danger. I found myself tuning out for several minutes, but never felt like I was missing anything.
Zombies, super heroes, zombie super heroes. What's not to like? This book won't change your life or the way you look at the world, but it's a fun listen for someone who enjoys the genre.
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