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The Diamond Age is both amazing and frustrating. The first half of the book is truly brilliant; both science fiction and fantasy woven together with beautiful Victorian-toned prose. The second half of the book is rather irritating with dangling plot points, gratuitous sex (not needed and worse yet, not erotic) and torture scenes, and ultimately a rushed ending.
There are so many interesting sociological themes woven into this book that an English teacher could have a real field day with it. Characters are likable, settings are wonderfully vivid, but the plot gets far more convoluted than necessary. In spite of some flaws, overall, I found the book immensely entertaining, terribly imaginative, and far more literary than many sci-fi novels.
The narrator is superb - lovely voice with excellent character voices. One of the few narrators I have heard that could do a child's voice without making me gag. I wish Audible provided a separate rating category for "audio production" because I have to rate down the performance because the audio has flaws that just shouldn't be there. Jennifer Wiltsie is most definitely a FIVE STAR narrator, but there are several places in the recordings where the sound blurs and the cut at the end of part 1 is terrible. Hence my 4 stars on the performance.
I would recommend The Diamond Age with some caveats - this is definitely an adult novel and you have to be a reader willing to push on through some confusion to enjoy this.
54 of 55 people found this review helpful
COLONIZE THE SOFA
This book is filled with great language. It has advanced Science Fiction gadgets and cultures. It has Dragons and Fables It tries to be all things to all people, which like usual means the plot struggles to be clear. This is probably one of the most well written books Jim, the Impatient had to give up on.
Essentially the plot becomes a psychology play with lots of symbolism, etc. I am old fashioned and need a story I can sink my teeth into. Taken separately, parts of the book are great. I also like peanut butter and I like pickles, but I don't want them together. NS had a character in the beginning who was very engaging and interesting, but that character took a long walk off a short pier and was never heard from again. A lot of people love this and you may be one of them, I got almost half way through, but could not keep my mind from wondering to other things.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful
There are lots of things to like about this book, and lots of things to like about the author. He's really imaginative; the worlds he creates are exotic but believable - and Diamond Age is no exception. And the story in many places is really good - at times gripping. There's a but coming though . . . three things. Firstly, the storylines can get so cokmplicated it's at times difficult to follow. Secondly, it is surely impossible to pronounce primer 'primmer'. Probably not he author's fault, granted, and possibly unreasonable but NO. Finally, it's a disappointing ending - the book builds up to a great ending . . . and then it just stops. But overall a good read, loads going on and just about worth the effort.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
This is, for the most part, a wholly enjoyable audiobook.
Neal Stephenson writes gripping, often very long and complex stories and this is no exception. I don't believe it to be his best - I thought that (subjectively speaking) Reamde was a better story overall - and it is a bit slow getting started but the level of invention and imagination on display is fabulous. Once the world the characters inhabit is described and the characters themselves are introduced it develops an express-train like momentum leading to the perhaps slightly underwhelming conclusion.
The narration from Jennifer Wiltsie is top notch: well characterised and performed. I'm maintaining my performance stars despite common complaints on here about the word "primer" being pronounced "primmer". It may be jarring to the British Ear but that is quite normal in American English.
So why only 3 stars overall? Frankly, despite downloading the best quality version I could, it sounds like the story was recorded over the telephone with even some "old-skool" interference on the line at times to maintain the feel. It may be an old recording and cheap but this is far below the standard I'd expect from Audible.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
A literary fugue of East meets West philosophy and future scaling. Memorable characters and one of the best narrations I've heard.
if you like me have been searching for a female driven sci-fi this is the ticket