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I chose this book based on the generally consistent positive reviews about the author.
I was not disappointed. Not sure it was entirely what I was expecting, but I definitely enjoyed it.
I have long been fascinated (and slightly terrified) by the concept of locked-in syndrome. The story painted here is not so fantastically impossible - which is probably why it didn't seem like heavy science-fiction to me. Very easy listening indeed.
Clever plot, well-designed, and with a very satisfying documentary-style epilogue tacked on the end which gave the whole thing so much more colour.
Narration is good.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
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!
190 of 201 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.
79 of 85 people found this review helpful