I should have liked this book: hard science fiction with deep future looking stories. Advanced alien intelligences beyond our own. All the things I loved about Pushing Ice. Where did this one go wrong?
With a heavy heart, I blame the narrator John Lee. Hs work on Pushing Ice and Pandora's Star was good, but he goes overboard with accents on this one. Sylvestre, his father and his retinue are all descendant from French/Chinese colonists. The accent Lee develops for this strange mix is eclectic, to say the least. If a minor character spoke in this way, it would go unnoticed. Regrettably the major characters of the book all speak in the same, cheesy pseudo-Parisian manner. I found it created a wall between me and the characters to whom I was already having a hard time relating.
I think Alastair Reynolds deserves a second chance, and I will probably push on in this series. I might try to find it read by another narrator, though.
Lots to love here, especially for Stephenson fans. I had only read his furistic and fantastic stories like Snow Crash and Anathem. I appreciated seeing his take on a "real-world" setting. I was thoroughly impressed by the research he must have undertaken to write in such detail about such a wide variety of topics: MMORPGs, North American and Asian geography and culture, spy craft, international flight operations... the list boggles the mind. The story is tight and fast moving, even though you wouldn't expect it to be from it's epic 38+ hour runtime!
Malcolm Hillgartner deserves credit for his masterful reading of the piece. I suspect very few narrators could pull off a read like this; Hillgartner was the right choice. There must be 30+ different reoccurring voices that were required of the narrator, yet he was able to keep them distinct and consistent throughout. His at times grave and at times light interpretation of the material fit Stephenson's style very well.
This wouldn't be my recommendation of an introduction to Neal Stephenson (that would be Snow Crash). I do think Stephenson fans should strap in for a long drive or a week of commuting with REAMDE cued up on their device: it is a great ride with a lot of variety to love along the way!
I enjoyed the Mars Trilogy, but nothing else KSR has written has measured up.
The world building was fantastic (as always). The people are a little too "post-human" for me to care about them or their decisions.
Zimmerman's character distinctions are subtle, but still make it easily to determine who is speaking. Though Pauline's part is small, she had the most distinctive voice (and the only comic relief in the novel).
Probably not. I felt a lot of those moments where I was just powering through to finish.
Sarah Zimmerman deserves a lot of credit for reading the book. It is full of technical language, scientific jargon, spiritual woo-woo and imported words from foreign languages. She ably and confidently tackles it all, and does a very good job holding the listeners' hand through the more treacherous passages. Only because I speak French did some of those phrases fall a little flat to my ear. In particular, the word 'passe-partout' comes up repeatedly, and was mispronounced every time. In general, though, she does a fine job of what must be an audiobook performer's worst nightmare.
An exciting stand-alone sci-fi story that starts in a very approachable near future, then stomps on the accelerator and rockets into adventure.
I will read more of this author's works, as the story is excellent. I cared what happened to several of the characters. The narrator did an excellent job, and his many different voices distinguish the characters nicely. The audiobook is hurt somewhat by poor audio editing: places where the author and the narrator left short pauses to indicate a new scene or passage of time have been removed. Presumably this was done to reduced download size. I'll gladly download a few extra seconds of silence to improve the flow of the narration.
Good realization of alien beings and intelligences. Not all the secrets are revealed, there is room for speculation and mystery. Unpredictable shifts and turns in human relations and politics.
I will search out more of John Lee's works (and hope for better audio editing).
I felt optimistic and energized after reading the book.
A very nice entry point for anyone interested in beginning to read Alastair Reynolds.
Venus is alive.
The last sentence of the book gave me goosebumps, and has me waiting impatiently for the next instalment.
Mays does a masterful job voicing Avasarala. She is a strong character to begin with, and Mays gives her a biting, ascerbic edge that is pitch perfect.
The moments between Amos and Prax are touching.
This performance is so strong, you would be cheating yourself to only read the book.
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