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This is one of the Culture Series books, best introduced by "Player of Games" if the series is not familiar. Use of Weapons has a complex, non-linear structure that can be difficult to follow in audio format. The prolog establishes an event at a particular point in time, call it time t-zero. The story then begins at time t plus 13 and is told in alternating chapters, half of them moving backward toward t-zero, and the other half moving forward from time t plus 13. You arrive at the end of the book when the backward narrative reaches t-zero just as the forward narrative reaches a climax that reveals the real meaning of the events in the prolog. It is cleverly done, but you really do have to pay attention. This one is not for casual listening while you multitask. I would also suggest re-listening to the beginning of the book after you have finished it. Knowing the whole story really changes the meaning of the events at the book's opening. Brilliantly done, and exquisitely handled by Peter Kenny, who does not just read the book, he performs the story.
33 of 33 people found this review helpful
The Culture series is one of my favorites, and this book is no exception (although Player of Games is still my favorite). Of the Culture books that I've read though, this one's story is the least linear and most disjointed, which, in my opinion is trickier to follow on audio.
The book is set up with an ongoing storyline in the present, with each chapter followed by a (critical) section detailing a portion of the main character's history, each section further and further into the past. It's a great way to tell a story, but I almost need to re-listen to this book now that I have a better picture of the story as a whole. Typically keeping everything straight isn't a problem for me when I just read a book and am able to speed up and slow down a little more naturally (compared to somebody reading to book to me at their pace).
That being said, if you enjoy the Culture series, I really do think that you'll enjoy this book too. Consider reading the book, and not listening to the audiobook, but either way, you'll still be pleased.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful