This book has nothing to offer, especially in audiobook form. The Narrator is NOT reading sentences, phrases, and ideas. He is simply reading words. It's as if he's learning how to read so he pauses before big words or reads common phrases quickly while other phrases are disjointed. I'll give him credit for consistency though. He is consistently horrible. The unnatural pauses are just small enough that you can understand the text, but so annoying that after a while the book is completely unlistenable.
Fine, the narration is bad; that's not the author's fault. So how does this book stand up on content? At best, it is an outsider's misunderstanding of the virtual world. At worst, it is a alarmist attempt to dissuade us from using the internet by telling horror stories. The author is a mental health professional specializing in OCD and compulsive disorders. By the very nature of his job, he sees lots of people with unhealthy relationships to the virtual world. He uses these extreme examples to try and prove that we are all in danger of losing our identities online. He points to changes in communication style, online dating, online gambling, online shopping habits, and our narcissistic tendencies on blogs or social networks. I concede that problematic behavior exists online. And I concede that some people take things too far. But instead of pointing to healthy online behavior and the advantages of moderation, the author seems to be saying that we are all doomed to acquire some form of mental compulsion or psychosis from using the internet.
In the end, there is no redeeming quality to this book, in audio or paper form. The narration is the worst I've ever heard out of the hundreds of books in my library, and the author is an outsider who thinks the internet can only bring bad. I just want to shake him and say "Please don't write anymore books about the internet. You don't know what you're talking about! Stick to books about OCD and Clinical Depression."
Pre-teens. But even then I'm thinking more around elementary age. There is so much "wide-eyed" writing that only a third grader could enjoy it. What I mean to say is that the book constantly uses superlative phrases to describe ordinary things: "so much ___ he could hardly believe it!" "he'd heard legends of ___ his whole life but it was the most beautiful ___ he'd ever seen!" It goes on and on like that for hours.
Again, let me repeat, this book is only suited for elementary schoolers.
Genre? No, I read The Hobbit in 4th grade and it was nothing like this trash. Author? most definitely.
Not for an adult. It espoused an egalitarian ethos with regards to women. It also put the gay character in a semi-accepted light. But at the end of the day, the homo was still the villain, and women were still subordinate to men.
I sped this book up to 2.0x to get past the "wide-eyed" writing of the kid who just got to a castle for the first time. But that style never went away! He was constantly surprised by some old THING that's the most ADJECTIVE he's ever seen!
The book is predictable. But there were a few surprises (not good ones) like how the Solstice lasted for several days. The joust occurred on the solstice in the beginning but several days later they were just getting around to the solstice celebration feast!
Lastly, if there wasn't enough wrong with this book already, it was too short. More happens in a single episode of Game of Thrones than in this entire book. It sets up the world, with some incidental actions by Thor, and then ends. The whole book spans about 3 days.
Weirdly, the first thing I noticed was Mike Chamberlain's voice. It is mesmerizing and reminds me of Christian Bale's voice. It's something about the soft 't's. However, as the book moved on, I started to get annoyed with the way he was emphasizing emotional thoughts. He was too slow and it broke the pace of the book. Would have been better to say them with meaning and leave a pause instead of emphasizing each word.
As far as the writing goes... I have to say the storyline is pretty interesting. It keeps you thinking. The protagonist insists that each event was critical to the war effort but you don't really see all the pieces until the very end. I recommend reading this book over a short period of time. This is not the kind of audiobook you can listen to casually. The author leaves out so much detail that you are required to deduce a great deal yourself.
My last comment about Robopocalypse is about the writing. The wording gets too poetic. Too many times we hear poetic descriptions of emotional scenes. It's okay if one of the crazy characters (perhaps Mr. Namora) get poetic with his thoughts. But for every character to have the same poetic arch is fake and quite distracting. The most compelling thing about this book is the fascinating storyline/premise and all the details he leaves out.
I would recommend Daniel H Wilson and Mike Chamberlain to others, but I feel that both have some maturing to do.
He takes examples from throughout history showing us exactly how past societies destroyed themselves. His correlations to today's society are self explanitory and will motivate you to think about many of today's crises in a new light.
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