Is jumping the shark restricted to television series, or can print series do it too? Maybe I'm just getting old, but way too much wackiness ensues in this book. (The goalkeeper has set up a table and chair and is having lunch!)
Stephen Briggs does very nice characters and accents. He reads straght narration as if it were nonfiction, with no trace of irony. I guess this is a valid choice and certainly better than using a tone that says you should laugh now.
I agree with other reviewers about the mispronunciations. Was the budget so tight they couldn't afford a dictionary? But aside from that, I really enjoyed Shelly Frasier's delivery. She does graceful accents, her characterizations are credible, and her intonation complements Gibson's rhythm and diction.
I started to smile right from the opening. "Five hours' New York jet lag, and Cayce Pollard wakes in Camden Town to the dire and ever-circling wolves of disrupted circadian rhythm. It is that flat and spectral non-hour awash in limbic tides, brain stem stirring fitfully, flashing inappropriate reptilian demands for sex, food, sedation, all of the above, and none really an option now." I just eat this stuff up. And I think the way Frasier reads it calls more attention to the language than I give it when I read silently.
I have read this book in paperback before. It is currently on loan to someone with a tendency to lose books (which shows how much I like her). Hearing it out loud has been a different experience. For one thing, I started to notice frequently used words, like "some," "somehow," "alien," "vague," and "vaguely." These all help to set the tone of the novel. And then there are the perhaps show-offy ones like "limbic," "liminal," and "semiotic" mixed in like chocolate chips.
As to whether it's science fiction, I have my doubts. Perhaps only liminally (hey, that was fun). What all three books in this series seem to be about is marketing. This one has some of the feel of a mystery, though there are no murders.
Clearly, I recommend this book. Other listeners do not like Frasier's voice, but I enjoyed it. I also recommend listening to the sample on Audible before you buy. I did and there was just no question.
I got through this book by sheer determination. It took me at least a month. I have a once-a-week drive of 35 minutes each way, and I made myself listen to it during this time. I also had to concede to myself that it wasn't worth trying to follow all the intricacies of the various conspiracies.
If you need a likeable character to enjoy a book, this isn't for you. Simonini, the narrator, is a man who forges documents for the purpose of engendering hate and fear. He feels no regret about the consequences of his actions. He's just using his abilities to make a living. Oh, and he's a murderer too. No one he associates with is very appealing either.
Fans of novels with unreliable narrators might interested to know that the forger has an alternate personality that takes over some of the story. For me, that was not enough to make it worthwhile.
I am surprised that there is a long series of sequels to this book. It took me a long time to get through it. I kept putting it aside and listening to podcasts and reading print books. There were even times I thought he must be getting paid by the word, with his long enumerations of the contents of carts, ships, and so on.
It's possible that I've just read too many stories in this vein. Stirling even acknowledges this plethora when he has one of his characters be an SF fan who compares their situation to stories he has read.
That said, the Bronze Age cultures are nicely imagined, and I was pleased by the portrayal of people then as not so very different from us. I learned of the existence of Tartessos here. How could I have gone this many years without seeing even a mention of this ancient culture?
This is something of a detective story and something of a coming-of-age story. I didn't feel much resolution with either one. We never really find out whodunnit or exactly why. We don't get much insight into who the 13-year-old heroine is becoming or how she got the way she is. We don't find out why the setting shares its name with a Korean sedan. The best thing about this is Khristine Hvam's narration. I can't say it's worth the price, since this is free, but it's worth the time you take to listen. She does different voices extremely well, and I really like the idea of using foreign accents for the different intelligent species (apologies if this was the producer's idea, but in any case the accents are well done). I have a feeling that if I looked at the print version I'd find that Hvam made this sound better written than it really is.
Report Inappropriate Content