Full prose, depth of characters, huge ensemble, high politics and motivations, ambiguity in characterizations . These are all elements that are positive and welcome in this book. My only qualm is the sheer denseness of the material. I listen while driving and in all probability this has been the book I've had to go back a minute or two the most in my history as a listener. As other reviewers have pointed out, you *need* to concentrate.
Cropper. By far the most entertaining. He's a reader favourite on par with Tyrion Lannister in George R.R. Martin's epic.
Good accents, tries his best to differentiate which is extremely demanding. A difficult to transfer to audio book. There is a section half-way within the book where a character - a powerful demon named 'Pearl'- appears. Ralph Lister's approach there made the scene shine.
A large book, which is a positive trait in my personal fantasy listens. I suspect I use these books not unlike others find daytime TV entertaining. However be forewarned, this is the first of 10 books. The good news is that the series is complete. The bad news is that only the first one is available, so far, from audible.
Diamond Age is an exceptional book. In many ways it has the tropes of steampunk but set in a post cyber locale. As usual, Stephenson does an excellent job in weaving a rich, realistic tapestry of story-arcs that come together in a wonderful manner. I found myself looking to want to explore more and more of this wonderful world's hidden recesses: A sure sign that the world-building exercise has succeeded. The character of the Judge -set to the literary tone of the legendary Judge Dee and his tales of Confucian China - particularly caught me. I also found myself looking to learn more about the Neo-Victorians and their philosophy. As I said, world-building and odd elements come together in a wonderful manner. The overall story is entertaining while keeping an intellectual underpining that keeps it from going off on a purely cyber-opera manner. Good stuff. My only critique, one that I'd lay on Stephenson in general, is that the end game pacing and conclusion doesn't rank as highly as the beginning and pace of the book. His writing seems a bit winded towards the end. As if he's run out of steam (Ha!). Still, I lay this as a criticism only relatively to the rest of the novel: If you enjoy a good, fast-paced cyber tale full of ideas and richness of characters you can't go wrong with the Diamond age. Finally, a great big book: I like my audiobooks large so this will keep you company for a few car-rides at least. A great read/listen.
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