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Publisher's Summary

Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets.

Carlyle Foster is a sensayer - a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labeling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world's population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life.

©2016 Ada Palmer (P)2016 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    241
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    104
  • 3 Stars
    71
  • 2 Stars
    31
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    16

Performance

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    101
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    30
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    8
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding story, if a bit inaccessible at times

The world created by Ada Palmer is rich and inventive. This book is not military SF and it's not space opera. It's a deliberate meditation on philosophy, morality, humanity, and seemingly impossible intimations of the divine. The narrator's obfuscations and turns invested me emotionally, repeatedly wrenching with each new revelation.

The only complaint I have is that this book might not be the best for audiobooks. I started it three times before realizing that this is not a book you can passively listen to while at work or engaged in activities. The prose requires your focused mind as it intentionally captures the tone and cadence of historical philosophers. Completing it was a challenge due to its length, its emotionally convulsive revelations, and the prose style. But it's one of those rare books that will be with me for years.

I am fully invested in Bridger, Mycroft, Carlisle, and Thisby's lives. Cannot wait for the second book.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Novelette plot in a full length novel

The story wanders seemingly aimlessly and occasionally touches the story. The most interesting aspect was it's 19th century structure writing style that lends itself to describing a world not usually seen by the anticipated readers. I did not find this to be compelling and read the complete tome only because to is a finalist for this year's Hugo Award.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

Trying a Little Too Hard

I liked the story and wanted to like it more, but in an attempt to create a good stew, the cook included something from every recipe. In an attempt to be learned with good world building with well developed characters, the story lags and limps. Half the time, I wanted to pull out pen and paper to keep track of the dozens of characters. The other half, I wanted to put it on the shelf with the other books that were supposed to be good for me, but I found tedious and pretentious. Don't get me wrong, I like the book much better now that the work is done. While reading, I just wanted to reach the end.

Jefferson Mays was amazing as usual. He could read the soup label and make it compelling.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I Tried. I Gave Up.

Any additional comments?

I gave this book 10 hours of my time. I appreciate the author's ambition. It missed the mark for me. I found the book confusing and pretentious, which isn't necessarily a deal-breaker. The real problem was the fact that it was very boring. I hate to bail out on such a unique book. Maybe it gets better. It probably does. But I COULDN'T TAKE IT ANY MORE! NOW I AM FREE!!!!

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best book I've listened to this year.

A masterpiece of plot, world building, narration, and character. Everything about this story was unique, artful, and obviously carefully crafted. The world was very very complex, and I can understand how that mixed with the unusual narration might lose people, but damn, this is the best book I've read this year bar none. Can't wait for more - great work Ms. Palmer!

The narration was also fantastic - hope Jefferson does the sequel as well.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Dense but Good

While it ends suddenly, it's thought provoking and consistent: in general everything sci-fi should be.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A World You Fall Into

Would you listen to Too Like the Lightning again? Why?

Absolutely. Ive listened to is three times now. The first books is absolutely fascinating to listen to after you've read the sequel.

What did you like best about this story?

The world isn't meant to be understandable. Just like our world, a total alien wouldn't be able to grasp the politics for a very very long time. This is a novel that doesn't telegraph anything, and once you start to understand the world you really become invested in it.

What does Jefferson Mays bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The entire book is written from the potentially biased POV of one particular character. I felt that the narrator did a great job making me feel that I was inside the head of the main character.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It is absolutely one of my all time favourite books. It is not for everyone, but if you're willing to learn a world entirely then I recommend this series.

Any additional comments?

Read the second book and then return to this book again. The world DOES make sense, even if it doesn't seem to on your first read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Intricate, dense, disturbing and wonderful!

Any additional comments?

Finally a book that I can sink my teeth into and then have something to digest afterwards. The fact that it made me ask myself, "is the book, evil?" Is the best thing about it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A New Sci-fi examination to rival dune

I loved this book as an examination of humanity and social progression. It is wonderfully pretentious at times but I find that charming

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing

Thrilling, smart and engaging sci fi saga. Would recommend to any reader as a must listen for the summer

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Teorgian
  • 02-21-17

Well-crafted opener that ends abruptly

What did you like most about Too Like the Lightning?

The setting is complex and unique and intriguing. The way the characters think and act is provocative and compelling.

What other book might you compare Too Like the Lightning to, and why?

I would compare it to the work of Gene Wolfe, in that it is a rather disorientating but worthwhile read.

What three words best describe Jefferson Mays’s performance?

Overly-dramatic, distracting.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Unfulfilled. There's a lot of set-up, but no real resolution to the plot in this book, which ends very abruptly. It's not even really a cliff-hanger, the book just ends to be picked up by the next one.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Padraig O'Fuarain
  • 12-14-16

Outrageously brilliant in scope, invention, innovation, language, characters etc etc.

I've listened to it twice at this point. There's so much detail and so many layers to penetrate but to me it felt like embarking on some exciting, thrilling, unpredictable adventure again when I read second time. 'Mycroft Kanner, Ockham Syneer, Prince Ganymede, The Anonymous, JEDD Mason.....' What breadth of imagination from Ada Palmer!! One of the best I've ever listened to. Excellent narrator.
Can hardly wait for book two. Fourth wall, thou hast no place here!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • David M.
  • 01-23-17

Complex intrigue

A little too dense for my liking, too much leaning on the 18th century style of intrigue. With so many characters and "families" to keep track of it was a bit like trying to remember Tolstoy's ovs

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Unsaintly
  • 01-21-17

Excellent book

Such a vividly realised world. I was immersed and in awe. I would recommend this to anyone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Miss Ana L Morales Garcia
  • 10-07-18

Incredible! like nothing I've ever read

fascinating style of writing, original world building, interesting characters, deep philosophical questions, has to be re read to understand

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ian
  • 10-07-17

Exquisite

Story, writing and performance are excellent. Takes a couple of chapters to get the hang of the names, but so worth it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • R. Maines
  • 05-24-16

Hmmm!

Since I can't write a proper review for toffee, a stream of conscious will follow:

A miracle is seen and then mostly ignored.

Nice world building.

Everybody is so very serious about what appears to be a trivial event.

So many characters I lost track.

I may not be intelligent enough to appreciate this book.

A future Jack the Ripper..perhaps.

How did the boy end up there? Did I miss something?

Moriarty is revealed just in time to make you long for book 2.

Narration was good and understandable at x2 playback speed.

2 of 7 people found this review helpful