The information in the book is interesting. Great stuff, especially for an expectant parent. But the narrator is so painfully bad that I'm having difficulty finishing the book. To illustrate its points the book is filled with quotes from new parents, and when reading these the narrator over-emotes like a ham actor. It's so uncomfortable to listen to that I have to stop. I keep coming back because the information is interesting, but I can't listen to more than a few minutes at a time. My advice is to avoid this audio book. Either read the written work or choose one if the many other audio books on child development.
The book is a widely acknowledged classic. It's full of great scenes, engaging characters and interesting future-technology. However, I'm giving it 4 stars rather than 5 because because the central premise is weak. What's worse is that there's a LOT of exposition, especially in the second 1/2 of the book, attempting to support the implausible central premise, and it really slows things down. Nevertheless it's a great book and a must-read for sci-fi fans.
It may just be my personal taste, but I found the narrator annoying to the point that it made it hard for me to appreciate the book itself.
I've read all of Tom Clancy's previous novels up to Rainbow Six and really enjoyed them. For me the great thing about the books was the plausible political situations combined with realistic descriptions of high-tech military hardware and tactics. This book fails at every level. The premise is not only implausible, but it's so politically extreme and immoral that even a fairly conservative reader such as myself couldn't really root for the supposed heroes. The only high-tech in the book is an assassination weapon that 1) isn't really that high-tech 2) would almost certainly not work as described 3) seems like the kind of cheesy gimmick you would expect in an old James Bond movie. Finally, although others may feel differently, I found the narrator mildly annoying.
The story is an acknowledged classic of American literature. The surprise for me was Jake Gyllenhaal. He does a really great job. He stands out for me as the best narrator of the 50 or so audiobooks I've listened to.
The narrator mispronounces the words 'tritium' and 'spectroscopy'. What if you didn't recognize this? After taking the time to enrich yourself by listening to this book, if you ever tried to speak about what you'd heard you'd sound like an idiot! There's no excuse for this.
As for the book itself, I found it interesting, but despite having a B.S. in biology I found some of the concepts difficult to follow. On the flip side the author can be annoyingly condescending. For instance, he won't call any number larger than a million by its' proper name. Is it really simpler to say 'a thousand, thousand million' than to say a trillion?
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