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1. The story is a crime solving procedural in a sci-fi setting, and both sides of that are very well done! If you don’t care for either of those genres this probably isn’t for you. If you like one more than the other and the plot sounds interesting then I’d say give it a go. Just don't go in expecting a dystopia or a panicked medical thriller.
2. Confused about the two narrator options? There’s nothing in one version you might miss by choosing the other, so listen to the samples and go with your favorite. They really are two readings of the same book! Yes, there’s something a bit clever behind having different narrator options, but I'll let you discover what it is on your own. Both narrators do a fantastic job, so really you can’t go wrong.
3. There’s an attached novella at the end, a faux nonfiction-style account of the beginnings of Haden’s Syndrome. It originally came out as an optional prequel so you can choose to read it first or last. If you want to jump to it first, it’s 2 h 15 min into the second download on the Wil Wheaton version, 2:58:30 on the second download of Amber Benson’s. The novella’s many narrators were a great touch but overall I found the novella too scattered to add much. I had no problem jumping into the main story without reading it first, and I'm glad I didn't bother.
As for my personal impressions? Fun book! Not too dark, not too fluffy, good pacing, likeable characters and interesting concepts -- I can see a lot of people enjoying this one. I don’t normally seek out procedurals, but the quick pace and sci-fi quirkiness kept things fresh. The Scalzi fans are going to be happy! I’m beginning to recognize Scalzi’s humorous touches and short and sweet closes. When I got to the end I wanted to talk to someone about the story, so I guess I’m going to have to start recommending this so I can! (I’d also love to know who catches the extra little bit of social commentary without being told first…. Yet another reason I need to go push this book on people!) There’s room in the world building for more stories in this setting. I don’t really expect one, but if there ever is a sequel I’d definitely buy it!
148 of 157 people found this review helpful
SHE LIVED LONG ENOUGH TO DIE A NORMAL DEATH
One reviewer said this was not Science Fiction/Fantasy. I can mention one item that makes this an unbelievable fantasy. In the story, the Jets are in the Super Bowl. That would not happen in real life. For me this had a slow start, as the introduction was nothing, but an info dump. Wheaton reads it like it is a disclaimer. It was so boring that I did not remember any of it. the story picked up big time in the third chapter and stayed strong till the end. I am not a huge police procedural type of guy and that is a big part of the story. On the other hand, a group of people who live in virtual worlds and/or live in robots, makes for an interesting story for me. Few could do it better then Scalzi, although I wanted to hear more about how they handled sex. It is a big part of most people lives, so it needed to be dealt with more then what JS did. l liked the characters and there was good character development.
YOU'RE A TRON FAN
The last two hours and 15 minutes is a related novella called Unlocked. It was two hours of interviews, which is not my favorite way to listen to a story. It started slow, but I found myself loving it by the end. I believe instead of it being a separate story, he should have used an interview between each chapter or each part as an interlude.
I waited a long time to get this with Wil Wheaton, the other narrator got put on sale twice before Wheaton did. Wheaton is the best at snarky, smart mouth, funny books. This did not have so much of that. He was good, but not great.
69 of 74 people found this review helpful
Plot is basic but entertaining enough and Wil Wheaton does a great job of bringing the characters to life.
I was rather enjoying it until with 2 hours to go the book finished with the last 2 hours being some appendix being read by random people. Ultimately left me feeling rather short changed for the length of book vs cost.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I was sceptical on trying this out after a series of bad books and also being spoilt by some really good ones! I enjoyed this and found it very engaging, much more so than I had expected from the outset. Interesting concept - in a nutshell people get a flu-like disease (Haydens) that spreads and ends up with someone being "locked in" i.e. completely conscious but unable to communicate with the outside world (body is pretty much in a coma). To overcome this two alternatives are created so people can interact with the world 1) a "robot" body that a person's consciousness can inhabit 2) people can effectively rent other people's bodies. That's the basic premise and the story spins out from there from there.
I like Will Wheaton reading generally and he's well suited to this kind of sci fi book. He does a good job and is well cast as a narrator for this book.
If you liked any of the following, you'll probably like this one too:
"The Martian" - Andy Weir, "Ready Player One" - Ernest Cline, "14" -Peter Clines
Btw, I highly recommend the books just mentioned.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
A good story, well read but let down (a little) by the dialogue.
For god's sake some one buy this author a thesaurus - and shame on the editor who let every line of dialogue end with said.
Story, setting and plot were all great and I look forward to reading / listening to more of his work.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Awesome. Amazing. Loved it! Wil Wheaton is excellent and this is the first John Scalzi work I have come across, but I will definitely be looking for more. So well thought out and executed. A pleasure. Really!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful