I have listened to and really enjoyed many of Dan Simmons' other books. He is a good writer and I love sci-fi. However, this one turned out to be a political diatribe. I can't stand stupid left-wing or right-wing propaganda. Anyway, I listened to it, the readers were a little amateur. The premise of the book started out as an interesting detective story set in a United States that is totally bankrupt, radical muslim terrorists and street gangs have taken over America, and the world. The world has all gone to hell. Then the story devolves into a cheesy cautionary tale of how healthcare reform, drugs, and cut-back's on military spending and nuclear weapons, caused it all. Its funny, Texas takes on this mythical status and is a mecca which won't allow "losers" or "worthless" people into the state. And gosh darn, the protagonist is paying cash for his grandfather-in-law's operation. I felt used, like when Ralphy in "A Christmas Story" figures out his decoder ring's message is just "a crummy commercial."
The is a VERY entertaining audiobook. I could not stop listening to it, Started it around 3:00 pm, fell asleep listening around 1:30 am, got up and finished it off. It has it all, good storyline, good tech, thrills, chills, and an EXCELLANT narrator, I laughed out loud, I (almost) cried. May have to listen to it again.
I have listened to 1-2 sci-fi/fantasy audiobooks per month for 2-3 years now. Love them. I had to say something about this clunker. Briefly, the dialogue is very poorly written. It sounds like it is directed towards young children. The reading is very amateur, the plot thin, the story trite. After trying to listen to it for 5-6 hours, wasn't interested anymore. This has only happened to me 2-3 times over the past years.
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