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Lexicon | [Max Barry]

Lexicon

At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren't taught history, geography, or mathematics - at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as "poets": adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.
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Publisher's Summary

At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren't taught history, geography, or mathematics - at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as "poets": adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.

Whip-smart orphan Emily Ruff is making a living running a three-card Monte game on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization's recruiters. She is flown across the country for the school's strange and rigorous entrance exams, where, once admitted, she will be taught the fundamentals of persuasion by Brontë, Eliot, and Lowell - who have adopted the names of famous poets to conceal their true identities. For in the organization, nothing is more dangerous than revealing who you are: Poets must never expose their feelings lest they be manipulated. Emily becomes the school's most talented prodigy until she makes a catastrophic mistake: She falls in love.

Meanwhile, a seemingly innocent man named Wil Jamieson is brutally ambushed by two strange men in an airport bathroom. Although he has no recollection of anything they claim he's done, it turns out Wil is the key to a secret war between rival factions of poets and is quickly caught in their increasingly deadly crossfire. As the two narratives converge, the shocking work of the poets is fully revealed, the body count rises, and the world crashes toward a Tower of Babel event which would leave all language meaningless.

©2013 Max Barry (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1081 )
5 star
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Overall
4.0 (984 )
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Story
4.2 (977 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    H. Walker 06-19-13
    H. Walker 06-19-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    78
    9
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    Performance
    Story
    "Where is the glamour of grammar?!"
    What would have made Lexicon better?

    Sadly, for a book about wordsmithing, the author could not choose a word other than "F*ck" 50 times in the first 3 chapters. like listening to a 15 yr old curse because they think it is cool.
    So much for this being his "most mature" writing.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Max Barry again?

    Nope


    How could the performance have been better?

    if they had better material to read.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    great premise.


    16 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yasoda Dei Conti Albuquerque, New Mexico 08-02-15
    Yasoda Dei Conti Albuquerque, New Mexico 08-02-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story, variable narration"
    What made the experience of listening to Lexicon the most enjoyable?

    It's a good story. Predictable after the first bit, but still fun to listen to.


    Have you listened to any of Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not. However, the female narrator - Heather Corrigan? - has apparently never heard/listened to/talked with an Australian of any sort. Ever. Her 'Australian' goes from high society British to slightly brogue-y Irish. It was EXTREMELY distracting from the story. Top marks to the male narrator for doing good voices.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna 07-31-15
    Donna 07-31-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    284
    3
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    0
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    Story
    "Nope!"

    Frankly, I thought this story would never end. I am glad that it is over. Thank you for asking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Anderson 07-30-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I became obsessed with this book"
    Would you listen to Lexicon again? Why?

    I will and I have. The ideas in this books are fascinating...pushed just passed reality...or are they?


    What did you like best about this story?

    Like I said the ideas that are fundamental to the story fascinated me. The idea that persuasion is far more than charm, that its scientific. Amazing. You keep guessing the whole book; who is the bad guy? Is there a bad guy? Is everyone the bad guy?


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The initial testing scene


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Most definitely wanted to. I hated to put it down


    Any additional comments?

    This book was mind bending. A great read I would gladly have spent a credit on it had it not been on sale when I discovered it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    roz79 07-25-15
    roz79 07-25-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    22
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    9
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    Story
    "this was an excellent book"

    I did get lost in the chronology somewhere in the third quarter but still an excellent story

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mustafa Jamil Seattle, WA United States 07-24-15
    Mustafa Jamil Seattle, WA United States 07-24-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating"

    Fast paced and cerebral. Excellent example of speculative fiction. It reminds me of reading Foucault's Pendulum by Eco.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    eric 07-24-15
    eric 07-24-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Starts strong, ends mediocre"
    Would you try another book from Max Barry and/or Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman ?

    No. I got burned on this book. I am not going to trust Max Barry with more of my money.


    Any additional comments?

    So how do you rate a book that starts out really strong and end average? Do you just rate the net quality average out over the book or do you rate it on the sense of disappointment you have when you reach the end? This book is deceptive. The preview with the interesting imagery and high tension is not the book that you end up with. It starts out as a great thriller then takes a left turn and morphs into a run of the mill "Wizard School" knockoff and ends as bland uninteresting romance. Many things that are brought up in the beginning are never mentioned again and certain plot point are introduced without justification in the story. The villain, once they are finally introduced at the very end of the book, is phenomenally dumb and only get anywhere because the universe warps to fit his stupidity. Not to mention the number of unused Chekhov's Guns in this book probably qualifies it to be an NRA chapter.That being said the actual writing is pretty good. The author has a way with words. And the story is not boring till the very end. It can be an entertaining popcorn listen. Honestly this feels like a first draft of a book by a skilled writer. There are some good ideas in the pages but it has not been edited to put everything together into a compelling story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    drummerboy tn us 07-24-15
    drummerboy tn us 07-24-15 Member Since 2013

    nobodycares

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it"

    Didn't know what to expect, and it took me a little while to figure it out but I really got into it. The time jumping got a little confusing, but it made it more interesting all said, and I do think that it told the story better that way. I really couldn't put it down. Have a 5 min break? Ok, I'll fire up audible! I'll do the dishes today, just gimme my headphones!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 07-22-15
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 07-22-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    41
    41
    FOLLOWERS
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    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Neuromancer Meets Harry Potter"
    What does Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Appelman is staggeringly good. His Australian accent is so excellent that I thought he was two narrators in his own right. Corrigan is also good, and I came to appreciate her as the recording went along, but her work (especially at the beginning) suffers for being up against Appelman's excellence.


    Any additional comments?

    This is an odd book, which I think of as a reason to read it. On the plus side, it begins with an adrenaline rush that's not easy to pull off. I found myself gripped in the early pages, and I eventually came to admire its experiments in chronology and perspective.

    That said, the central conceit, while very interesting, doesn't always lend itself to a satisfying story. [SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT] Because "compromising means, in effect, destroying an individual's character, it effectively means that characters who are compromised can no longer function as characters. The climax addresses that head on, but it does so very late in the game and very much against most of what the novel has established as its world.

    If Neuromancer takes you deeper and deeper into the world it creates, and if Harry Potter adds increasing nuance, the world of Lexicon is mostly finished from the time we first fully understand it. It's clever stuff, and there's a lot to enjoy, but the biggest problem it does have -- that the stakes of any conflict are victory or annihilation -- seems hard-wired into the cleverness that gave birth to it in the first place.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Miller Portland, OR 07-20-15
    K. Miller Portland, OR 07-20-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    7
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Kinda rediculous"
    Any additional comments?

    Without spoling the book, the premise is that we are all bio-computers who have words as our base code. Words have a magical ability to cause us to be manipulated. Too bad that the words used by the author fell flat and the sinister plot lines really hard to believe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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