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Lexicon | [Max Barry]

Lexicon

Two years ago, something terrible was unleashed in an Australian mining town called Broken Hill. Thousands died. Few people know what really happened. Emily Ruff is one of them. She belongs to an elite organisation of 'poets': masters of manipulation who use language to warp others to their will. She was one of their most promising recruits until she made a catastrophic mistake: she fell in love. Wil Parke knows the truth too, only he doesn't remember it.
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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Aurealis Awards Best Science Fiction Novel 2013

Two years ago, something terrible was unleashed in an Australian mining town called Broken Hill. Thousands died. Few people know what really happened. Emily Ruff is one of them. She belongs to an elite organisation of 'poets': masters of manipulation who use language to warp others to their will. She was one of their most promising recruits until she made a catastrophic mistake: she fell in love.

Wil Parke knows the truth too, only he doesn't remember it. And he doesn't know why he's immune to the poets' powers. But he knows he needs to run. As their stories converge, the past is revealed, and the race is on for a deadly weapon: a word. Because the poets know that words can kill...

©2013 Max Barry (P)2013 Penguin Audiobooks US

What the Critics Say

"Insanely good. Dark and twisted and sweet and humane all at once" (Lauren Beukes, author of Zoo City and The Shining Girls)

"About as close you can get to the perfect cerebral thriller: searingly smart, ridiculously funny, and fast as hell. Lexicon reads like Elmore Leonard high out of his mind on Snow Crash." (Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (12 )
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4.2 (11 )
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3.5 (11 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Janie CAIRNS, Australia 09-17-13
    Janie CAIRNS, Australia 09-17-13 Member Since 2009

    I am an artist, living in Cairns, Queensland, Australia right next to the Great Barrier Reef. I listen to audiobooks everyday while making art and on into the night. I really like mysteries with a good serving of suspense on the side that keep you wondering right to the end. However, I won't say no to any entertaining and well written book which has been read by an excellent narrator.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant & original, but, oh, dreadful accents!"

    As you can see by my ratings, the performance of this audio book did not go down well. In fact it soured me too it, in the end. The monstrously awful Australian accents for me spoiled what could have been an excellent read. Every time I heard these awful Aussie accents, I physically cringed. I agree with another reviewer who said that if you - the audio producer - cannot find a real Ausssie narrator then DON'T DO the ACCENTS AT ALL. Having said all this, I believe that if the book had been performed well it may well have rated 5 stars. It was a breath of fresh air finding something so original. The pace was fast and the thrills were there too. Recommended, if you can get past the accents.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathan Ainslie, Australia 07-19-13
    Nathan Ainslie, Australia 07-19-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story let down by terrible accent"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The story itself is pretty much perfect. Great pace and there's nothing I would change. The only thing is I would like to explore this world a lot deeper. There are some parts that seem a bit glossed over, but this doesn't hurt the story at all.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This story unfolds beautifully. Loved the drama that came from jumping between key points in time. It's really clever actually. Super rewarding as things fall in to place.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman ’s performances?

    They are both excellent narrators but Heather Corrigan's appalling Australian accent was unbearable. I would listen to more performances by these two, as long as Heather stuck with her native accent. Zach's performance was flawless and engaging.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    This book should become a movie and sure I would go and see it, but like most cinematic appropriations- it won't compare to the book in terms of narrative.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Early 30s Girl 07-08-13
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    "Very Enjoyable"

    This book is rather gripping and based on an extremely interesting premise.

    I would certainly recommend it. However, as the previous reviewer noted, the Australian accents are appalling and, as an Australian listener, distractingly so. Still, the book is worth it if you can overlook this.

    One of the best and original thrillers I have listened to in a long time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Kurrajong, Australia 07-02-13
    Michael Kurrajong, Australia 07-02-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrible Dialogue, Worse Accents"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Being Australian, I cannot get past the accents they try to put on. One of them sounds like a mix of Irish and cockney Londoner.
    All one of the main characters seems to do is run around complaining about things and dropping the F bomb a lot.
    If you can get past the appalling accents and the terrible dialogue then maybe this book is for you, as the story has potential.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The idea behind the story and the mythology that surrounds it are interesting. The way the characters talk to each other is the least interesting.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Don't use an accent for the Australian characters. Just don't. If you can't hire Australians to do the part then don't bother faking an accent, it's just so bad.


    What character would you cut from Lexicon?

    I'd cut Will, he doesn't seem to add anything in the beginning, tell it from someone else's point of view.


    Any additional comments?

    The accents, oh god the accents.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-4 of 4 results
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  • Xenia
    London, United Kingdom
    11/4/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too much swearing"
    What would have made Lexicon better?

    The story line is OK, but not sure I like the way the present and the past are coming together from both ends ... so the book alternates throughout by describing bits in the past and bits in the present. Also the dictionary interludes are super annoying. But what was the worse bit is that there is way too many F-words, and too much swearing in there. Totally unneccessary.


    What could Max Barry have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I would have prefered a continious timeline, no swearing (doesn't add anything to the book, and just makes you flinch), and remove the dictionary interludes. If I had read the book I probably would have ignored those. But on the audiobook they read them out, and it's just plain annoying.


    What three words best describe Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman ’s performance?

    They have done well, although Heather's Australian accent sounds very strange.


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

    The idea is really cool, that's why I bought it. But it could have been made more exciting - Michael Crighton would have managed to make this a book so exciting it'd be a movie.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Miss
    Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
    7/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gripping"
    Would you listen to another book narrated by Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman ?

    I loved this book, perfect for audio, fast paced and original storyline, brilliant. Narration very easy to listen to & beautifully paced. Only criticism was appalling Australian accents mercifully kept to a minimum.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • T
    Leighton Buzzard, United Kingdom
    9/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "okay for teenagers (?) but I had to give up......"

    The title of my review is not meant to show disrespect to teenagers. However, the style of this book is probably more suited to a younger audience. Even so, the language used came across to me as a little patronising, but maybe this is a reflection of the differences between Australians (like the author) and Brits like my own teenagers. I found the narration/s competent but somewhat mechanical - the voices have appropriately varied tone and expression, which is good - but lacked feeling. I got this book on a BOGOF deal from audible and will be more careful with any such choice in future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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