This is good story. The fantastical elements to it didn't bother me, as it did some here, but that could be because I also like science fiction and fantasy. I did not have the same issues as others did with the narration, though, to be honest, I only rarely have issues with audiobook narration.
What was distracting to me is that you have to wade through a great number of eye-roll-inducing sex scenes. I'm not a prude, but I do have a finite amount of patience with that sort of thing, if it's gratuitous. Here it largely was. Perhaps there is a cultural element to this. I've seen anime with the blatant "fan service." Maybe it's like that? If it was meant to titillate, it even failed in that (at least for me).
I found that the characters often said and thought and did things that real people don't say and think and do, and not just with sex (though certainly there too), but generally. This also produced some eye-rolling for me.
So for these reasons I was frequently jerked out of the flow of the story by thoughts of, "oh no, here we go again again," or "would she really say that?"
I agree with a great deal of the politics in the book, but, Ringo really shoves in your face. It's really a political screed in the guise of a science fiction novel. The sad thing is that I think it might have been a more effective at making its political points with some subtlety, and would have been a better novel to boot.
It might not bother too many others, but to me the very technical, very blatantly expository dialogue got very tedious very quickly. And there's LOADS of this here. I followed it for awhile, but the exobiology lessons in the form of dialogue made my brain drift. And then I would have that sinking feeling that I've just spent the past 15 minutes wondering idly about things like when Toyota intends to change the Corolla in a meaningful way, or weighing the pros and cons of buying the smaller 700 watt or the larger 1000 watt microwave while this audiobook droned on in the background. So I'd have to weigh whether to back it up or not. Mostly, I said "screw it."
With characters existing to advance political didacticism and deliver wooden expository dialogue, your expectations for character development should be low. Well, lower them yet further and you'd be about right.
After a point, I lost patience with it, which is sad, really, because I think the premise IS intriguing.
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