The handling of the characters is dated, and the plot more cerebral than overtly compelling, but it is haunting, alternately lovely and terrible, and ultimately...interesting. That sounds weak; I don't mean it to be. The concept of Solaris is interesting enough to justify a book that is, at times, difficult.
I confess I found the reading a bit invasive. Juliani's voice for one of the characters in particular was too exaggerated for my taste.
Well, now that I've finished I guess I should get back to my life, do some dishes, talk to my husband. But everything real seems so unreal, like waking up from a dream. It may take me a few days to untangle myself from this book.
First of all, Great North Road is Epic. It is really something to sink your teeth into and live with for a while. The characters work themselves into your psyche like historical figures or memories from your distant past. Sid the police detective is an awesome trope given new life in the context of a space-themed sci-fi. Angela the bad-ass babe has added depth with her 1000-year life span. (I do wish she didn't have to be so hot though. Why are they always hot? What about a completely ordinary-looking bad-ass babe? Is that so hard to imagine? Give us normal girls someone to see ourselves in.) The plot is filled with teases and secrets and slow reveals. Sometimes annoying, but oh-so-satisfying when finally resolved.
And the reader was really good too. Very British. His cadence was sometimes a little off, and he propelled us into new chapters, taking place light years away, without any warning - like a little pause or a change in tone would have been nice - so I was confused sometimes, but maybe that was just me. Still a quality performance.
Anyway, I loved it. Get off the fence and start listening.
There were some things about this book that I found very interesting. Specifically: the descriptions of the crippling anxiety felt by the protagonist. However, I found the fantasy world trite, the role of women that same old path of not having anything much interesting to do beyond inspiring men to be more than they are and/or fade into the background. And it did go on a bit. Even Jonathan Davis let me down a little; he's one of my favorite readers yet it seemed that he felt the same way about the book that I did and we were both just plodding along waiting for it to end. Sorry, I normally avoid writing less than super-enthusiastic reviews and there was nothing truly terrible about this book, really. It was fine. Don't listen to me, go enjoy it.
Reading this book changed the way I feel about my grocery store, about the huge piles of delicious, inexpensive produce I see there. It will for you too.
This is a complex story, and as you-the-reader are trying to understand what is going on you are simultaneously learning what has happened to bring the world to this state. It is a dizzying experience. At first I could not decipher which of the characters was meant to be the protagonist and I felt some degree of distaste for them all. By the middle of the book, however, I loved each of them in some way or another - as much for their flaws as in spite of them. The ending was deeply satisfying, although I wish I could continue listening on and on.
Jonathan Davis is a favorite reader of mine and I chose this book largely because of him; he did not disappoint. The dystopian future Bangkok was an amazing setting for this engrossing story, and Davis' subtle, dexterous accents distinguish the characters without distracting from the narrative.
One of the best books I have read. Ever.
I already loved Ann Patchett and expected quite a bit from this novel. I was not disappointed. Engaging from the beginning and lavish with evocative prose, this book was a treat to read and I was sad when it ended. It is filled with multidimensional characters, a journey, a jungle, a remembered Minnesota, and I was struck in particular with how effectively Patchett illustrated Dr. Swenson's commanding presence. Now I need to re-read Heart of Darkness...
I think anyone who reads this book instead of listening to it is missing out. Luke Daniels adds so much to the story! And the story is already a lot of fun; it's sort of like a World of Warcraft quest - complete with level ups and loot. Not overly thought-provoking, but easy and enjoyable. I've already read the second and I'm downloading the third.
This story is as fluffy and light as a John Hughes movie. Wil Wheaton as the narrator is an absolute riot. Some of the more intellectually compelling aspects of virtual reality impinging on reality take second seat to the non-stop eighties gaming reference orgy which is this book, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
I'm having a hard time putting my finger on what I like so much about this book. The pace is wonderful, and wonderfully controlled by the reader. I am bemused by how listening to a story instead of reading it enhances the experience, and in this case it emphasizes the careful way this story is constructed and told. Also, the narrator sounds young and a little cocky, just like our hero.
At first I confess it took a while for me to get into it. I have issues with books that don't have interesting female characters and it was several hours before any appear in this story, but they do eventually arrive. I also don't like stories that rely heavily on flashbacks, and this is a story within a story, with most of the events having taken place in the past. However, the way the past and present are woven together is clever, engaging, and enhances both tales.
I especially like the attention given to the realm of magic and its study. Rather than a few vague details, Rothfuss has an elaborate and self-consistent vision of his magical world which is not only interesting, but will make students of chemistry chuckle. Also, the slightly contemporary style of banter between characters is a welcome compliment to the traditional fantasy setting.
I am currently listening to the second in the series and looking forward to the third.
This is an awesome story, but it was the reader that really got me hooked. His voice for the character of Raven was so distinctive that in one scene I recognized who was speaking well before he was actually identified in the text, and I wished the author had written more dialog for him just so I could hear that delicious accent again!
The plot is chaotic and confusing and wonderful. This was my first Stephenson book, and I will definitely be reading more. I have also put Jonathan Davis on my "must listen" list.
My dad has been trying to get me to read this author for years. I keep telling him I have a hard time staying engaged with stories that don't have strong female characters, and he assured me that this series was "written by a woman". Which it isn't. And even if it had been, that would not change the fact that there are no strong female characters. Exemplified by his housekeeper, who we almost never see, and who not only cleans but cooks, shops, and mends clothes for him without ever having to have an actual conversation - she just intuits his needs from the way he leaves the house in the morning. Nice. The protagonist is an arrogant narcissist who does nothing but eat, talk on the phone to his cronies, and treat everyone else disrespectfully. I'm not a fan.
The plot was good, though, and the reading was great.
If you like straight detective stories without much character development, and you don't have my particular female character requirements, you will probably like it.
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