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Publisher's Summary

From the author of Borne and Annihilation comes the one-volume reissue of his cult classic Ambergris Trilogy.

Before Area X, there was Ambergris. Jeff VanderMeer conceived what would become his first cult classic series of speculative works: the Ambergris trilogy. Now, for the first time ever, the story of the sprawling metropolis of Ambergris is collected into a single volume, including City of Saints and MadmenShriek: An Afterword, and Finch.

©2020 VanderMeer Creative, Inc. (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about Ambergris

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Entrancing “weird” novel

If you’ve read VanderMeer and enjoyed him before you’ll love this book, he is a writer of immense talent and voice. The world of ambergris is pulled out of time and draws on history and literary canon as well as VanderMeer’s towering imagination. Surges with empathy and an utterly unique weirdness. A lovely late night reader.

Some...shall we say, interesting...choices from the narration team here, to varying results. It’s weird fiction so I suppose I should rather expect some weirdness on the part of the narration team, but in certain stories like “Hoegboten’s guide to the history of ambergris” the narrator is very...present within the reading, whether that’s a deliberate choice on the producers’ part or what I’m not sure. That story has lots of footnotes, which I get is difficult to convey in audio format, but I do wish they’d been able to clarify what the footnotes are within the reading a bit more. Sometimes it seems a bit like the narrators are unsure exactly what tone the prose is calling for from beat to beat. Must be hard in a piece like this but still.

Regardless, I’m glad I dropped a credit on this. It’s a good collection and a fun late night read.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Came For Oliver Wyman, Stayed For Oliver Wyman

First off, all three voice actors are amazing. Bronson Pinchot's odd footnote call-outs made me chuckle at times, and I loved the strange way he stressed certain random syllables as well. Cassandra Campbell's performance is a calming, grounding force throughout book 2. Her ability to give great voices to each character definitely helps keep the reader from feeling lost in Ambergris, even while they most definitely are. Last but not least, Oliver Wyman's performance (which is what brought my wallet to this collection to begin with) is top shelf, just as I have come to expect from anything he does. There is a certain level of humanity Wyman is able to bring to every character he embodies. His talent for injecting emotion into every single word is almost otherworldly. As for the books themselves: City of Saints and Madmen- Oh man. I feel like I missed something amazing and settled for just being happy to get through it. I hate that feeling. I mean, I get it: The level of talent in the creation and execution of such a solid, real world is glaringly obvious throughout the trilogy. I just didn't super... enjoy this one? I didn't super not enjoy it either. Shriek- As much as I didn't enjoy the first book, this one is definitely different. It's still a bit disjointed, leaving the reader feeling just as unsteady as in the first book, but the relationship between brother and sister weaves just enough of a path to follow through. Unlike book 1, I wasn't left feeling like Confused Travolta at the end. Finch- Okay. I know this is supposed to just be about the story, but they broke a cardinal rule w this audiobook: Never add music over the voice artist! Sacrilege.
Ignoring the parts they ruined, this is 1000% the best book of the trilogy. That being said, it's very likely the narrator, more than the book, that made it much easier to follow/focus.

Final thought; The writing is impeccable, just not my jam.

5 people found this helpful

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The books that made me fall in love revitalized

Years back I bought City Of Saints And Madmen and I fell in love with Jeff VanderMeer instantly. How his stories can be so disconnected yet still so routed in reality simultaneously is a gift that you can’t get from many other writers, if any. This was the series that made me fall in love with one of my favorite authors, and hearing it with new life and new perspectives all these years ago has reinvigorated that love. The performances are great the stories are the strange off kilter kind you might expect if you are familiar with their craftsman. The kind that make you feel joy and despair, awe and confusion, comfort and fear. And the type that make you say “what in the hell did I just read?” A must buy.

4 people found this helpful

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Brilliantly executed surreal fiction

Imaginative and gripping to say the least. The history and mystery of Ambergris is intoxicating.

2 people found this helpful

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Another awesome universe from Vandermeer

This would be a 5 star rating like I'd give The Southern Reach trilogy or Borne, but the compilation does suffer a bit from the middle installment, Shriek: An Afterword. Maybe it's the fact that Vandermeer is writing from the perspective of a pretentious art critic, but that one does get a bit bogged down by the character's obsession with her brother's love life. BUT, overall, I loved this universe and the last book Finch is phenomenal and uses all the foundation and world building from the preceding two works to tell a fascinating sort of neo-noir styled detective story. Blade Runner in fungus land essentially. Favorite thing I've read so far this year but does take some patience in some early sections. A must read for fans of Vandermeer.

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An epic read/listen with fungus and footnotes

Absolutely brilliant! I wish Bronson Pinchot had also read some of the dialog in "Finch." I think it would have been a better mental journey if he had done so. Even so... 5 stars!

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u must

I love jeff Vandermeer. he is my favorite thing since sliced bread . I strongly encourage you to read his books. I started with area x trilogy and read it 15 times and counting. this has taken it's place for sleeping audiobooks. bronson pinchot stellar job as well. If you hear anything negative about Vandermeer it's due to lack of imagination and willingness to get out of the box on the reviewers part. Every time I listen to his books it's a new story for me . . . I walk away learning something new about the story and something new in myself. Its a journey within welcomed and darkly delighted.. An ability to leave you with questions that will encompass your daily thought until you can listen more to find the answers, on top of more questions for the next round.