The reading is competent, but contains odd pauses and cadences. Although Gary Wills wrote the book, he reads it like the text is unfamiliar.
The book covered an aspect of American history unknown to me. I had not realized how important the slave count was in determining representation, and hence votes in Congress. Wills does a reasonable job of making this point.
However, the title is misleading. Thomas Jefferson is not a major figure in the book. Much more time is spent on his opponents and opponents of slavery, such as Timothy Pickering. Since these are interesting men, I did not mind the odd title.
I generally don't like cyberpunk. Gibson's Neuromancer left me cold. But Williams, in my opinion, is a better and more versatile writer. I listened to this book because he wrote it.
I was not disappointed. The cyberpunk aspects of the story serve to enhance the characterization and the setting and do not dominate.
The story is told from the perspectives of Cowboy and Sarah. Both are interesting characters and I never found myself wanting to finish one POV so I could get to the other, which sometimes happens when the story is told from multiple viewpoints.
The conflict with the orbitals is resolved in a way that flows naturally from the story and does not feel forced. A poor resolution could have wrecked my view of the book no matter how good the rest of the story.
Finally, Stefan Rudnicki does an excellent job of making the various characters distinct. I have not read the print version, buit I suspect the audio version is a better experience because of Runicki's narration.
These are the main reasons I like this book.
1. The characters are distinct, as well as their motivations, and the actions they take are consistent with the characterizations. In particular, James Holden grows into more than the idealist we saw in the first book.
2. Although this is a story with a lot of politics and a lot of room for gray areas, I still think there are choices between right and wrong that characters must make. I like that. I find that moral relativism is less satisfying; that is one reason I am sometimes disappointed with A Song of Fire and Ice, even though Martin is a better writer.
3. I've never been a big fan of cyberpunk. It's nice to read about a future not dominated by people with massive hardware augmentations.
Like the first book, this one is concerned with the ramifications of the protomolecule, and hints at big things to come in future volumes. I hope the payoff in the later books will be worth it.
This was one of the more boring audiobooks I have purchased. I tried to like it, but I couldn't get more than 2 hours into the narration. I wasn't sure whether the author was attempting humor on purpose, but I did not find any of it funny. The characters were not interesting. Nothing much happened in two hours, and I had no reason to think it would get better if I could force myself to listen longer.
For the most part, the reader was OK. Perhaps I can't evaluate him fairly because I disliked the book so much, but some of the voices were as annoying as the book was boring.
The author followed the evidence wherever it led. He was very convincing and his arguments were clear.
The reader did a fine job. However, 30+ minutes were inexplicably repeated near the end, which was quite jarring. I was not sure where the repeat ended and the new material began. That is why I did not give the performance a higher rating.
Although Ehrman concludes that a historical Jesus did live and was crucified by Pilate, he also concludes that this Jesus did not espouse many of the things we have been taught. For example, Ehrman concludes that Jesus was a Jewish apocalyptic who believes the Kingdom of Heaven would arrive in his lifetime, and so urged people to forsake their families and livelihoods in preparation. This is not the Jesus who values marriage and the family.
I am glad that I heard this side of the story.
I already knew that the French has colonized the area around northern Maine and that it was called Arcadia. I did not know that many of the Arcadians emigrated to Louisiana in the mid 1700's after the British took the territory from the French. The book carries the story into the early 1800's.
Sometimes history seems like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces always missing. I enjoyed having some of the empty spaces filled by this book.
The reader spoke precisely and I believe he did a good job pronouncing French and Spanish words.
At the end of the book, the author explains his own Cajun background. I had already suspected this was true but it really helped complete the book by hearing some of his own experiences.
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