How about creating a plausible plot. I'm not even talking about the sci-fi aspect of a human-computer interface. I'm talking about the incredibly stupid series of events that results in a bag lady becoming a vice presidential candidate. This is just moronic. And I'm not sure which one of them is responsible for excess of ridiculous similes, but I could do without those too. Are they being paid by the metaphor?
The narrator was fine.
Neal Stephenson usually has the capacity to create a compelling read around some feature of new technology or hook. That was the interface. The problem is it was applied to the most ridiculous political thriller ever.
Uggh. Disappointing. Worse I didn't return it in time to get my credit back.
I enjoyed listening to this book a great deal. It's fun, light reading, and well-narrated by Wheaton who has the ability add the right sarcastic or nerdy-superior inflection to his voice at any given time. I suspect that the audience for this book will be somewhat narrow, although it's perfect for that audience. And which audience is that? Well, people in the 20-40 year age range that grew up during or shortly after the time period in question, I can't speak for current teens but I doubt they would like it as it's not their pop culture being referenced. Also they will tend to be people from that generation that enjoy referential humor, pop culture, know who people like Cory Doctorow or Steve Wozniak are, have played video games, MMORPGs, and have probably grown up on Tolkien, Pratchett, PK Dick, and other sci-fi and fantasy authors. So basically, it's going to appeal to adult nerds, like me, or imagine the cast of the Big Bang Theory reading it (minus Penny and Sheldon may refuse because Will Wheaton is his nemesis). If that doesn't in any way describe you, it's likely going to fall on truly deaf ears, as it would be pointless for the author to waste exposition on explaining every reference. If he had to do that, the wrong person is reading the book, and the fun of having referential humor in a book would go to waste. I could only imagine my parents trying to read this, listening for about 20 minutes, then turning it off, confused, wondering what MMORPGs are or why Atari games stir up nostalgia in their kids. I suspect it would sound like a different language to them.
Anyway, with those caveats, I can recommend it, 5/5 stars for that audience as it's a great little story, and Cline shows some seriously l33t knowledge about some random stuff. And it's a blast how these bits of seemingly useless wisdom become critical to the characters who to solve basically an involved MMORPG quest must become masters of a culture that isn't even their own anymore
This is well read but highly disappointing story. It is very predictable and borrows heavily from other books in the genre with nothing new offered. There are long stretches of tiresome exposition that clearly exist just for the author to define everything about his rip-off of Tolkien's world in short order, rather than trying to elucidate such things slowly or in a way that serves the story.
I would recommend this book only to the very young, 14 and under. It has little or no material of interest to adults or even young-adults, and certainly nothing for the college-educated. If you are interested in fantasy for older readers try George R.R. Martin, the audiobook versions of his works are excellent. If you are interested in better executed boilerplate that is appropriate for all readers but still interesting to read try David Eddings. This story is barely more complicated than an outline for a D&D game. The characters are weak and unrealistic (I've never met such an amiable 16-year-old as Eragon). The material is little more than a weak cross between Star Wars and Tolkien and I quit after about 5 hours.
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