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Inverted World is the first book by Priest I've read, and I found it to be a revelation. The main business here is the building of an outlandishly original fantasy world, artfully revealed to us in provocative flashes by a young apprentice named Helward. Without giving anything away (the revealing is so much of the fun!), I'd just say that it's one of the more unique fictional worlds I've inhabited lately, to the point where comparisons are difficult - if you mash up China Mieville, Terry Pratchett and Haruki Murakami, with a dash of George Lucas, you might be in the ball park?
The book is marked by a lot of playful, artful zig zags. Very subtly, the story shifts from a coming of age story to a bizarro, Odyssey-like journey to a chronicle of a very warped world, and back. It's heady, but unlike other brainmelting 70's sci-fi, I found it to be constantly humane - the characters maintain their charm and as a reader I felt like my amusement was the mission. In that respect, I'd say it's more along the lines of Terry Pratchett than Philip K. Dick.
Cree's narration was pitch perfect, in my estimation. He conveys the sound of an awed young apprentice wondering at a world full of new curiosities.
Note: the forward (ie chapter 1 of this audiobook) has what I'd consider to be minor spoilers. A lot of the joy of this book is following his crazy-worldbuilding, and the forward makes a lot of the connections for you. It didn't ruin the book by any means, but I'd recommend skipping it and listening to it after you finish.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from Christopher Priest and/or Steven Cree?
Christopher Priest books are a mixed bag - The Prestige was excellent, but the 2 others I've read are mediocre.
What was most disappointing about Christopher Priest’s story?
The premise is intriguing but the story is boring and the ending is really soft and lame.
What didn’t you like about Steven Cree’s performance?
The thick Scottish accent is really off-putting. I kept expecting him to start singing a Proclaimers song.....
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
I think the author wrote this book for the right reasons - for art's sake - but its just a boring and unsatisfying tale.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I read this book when I was a child and it has always stayed one of my favourite science fiction stories. OK, so the physics, engineering and biology are complete bobbins and thoroughly inconsistent - BUT- it takes a bit of thought to come to that conclusion (personally I think the author painted himself into a corner with an idea and couldn't work out how to fix it - hence the twist(s) - I would so love to fix it :) . However, the main drive of the book is the sociology and the 'closed society' / secrecy / coming of age / revelation by discovery and conflict theme - and this is just excellent. The reading voice is superb too, I wasn't quite sure that his accent would work, but it does and I'm very pleased with this rendition of a personal favourite. One really really irritating issue: Audible, PLEASE don't put introductions to books that give away major plot points. In this case you are told things in the intro that you REALLY shouldn't know - they don't destroy the plot, but they do take away some of the pleasure of discovering things WITH the main character(s). SKIP THE INTRO and come back to it - Adam Roberts (intro writer) - you should know better, would you like it if the twists in your books were given away?
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I would recommend this title with caveats! There is so much to love here, the world is incredibly well-realised and the writing extraordinary, as you would expect from the man who wrote The Glamour and The Prestige. But, I would advise caution, you won't get a perfectly wrapped up ending that satisfies, none of his books do that really, it's best to accept at the beginning, you're along for the journey, and it's a wonderful and extraordinary journey.
What did you like best about this story?
The writing and the world-building. It's a terribly claustrophobic society and I felt myself as frustrated as the people who populate it.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
1 of 1 people found this review helpful