I have greatly enjoyed past books by John Barnes, notably, "The Mother Of Storms" and "Finity" (both not on audio, sadly). This book was a complete mess and a true struggle to get all of the way through. It follows the standard End of the World/Civilisation is Shattered storyline but slaps you with a wildly implausible cause. The characters are two dimensional, cliche'd and at no point did I begin to identify or care about them. The story spirals into an overly political mish-mash which comes off as a whiney high school slap-fight. The author tries to take a middle of the road approach politically, but caracaturizes both liberal and conservative sides into fringe stereotypes of the worst kind. The narrator amplifies the stilted prose into grueling aural assault. I was excited at first to be able to listen to a book by an author I had liked so much in the past...now I am just sad.
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