I read this book probably about eight to nine years ago after I read Snow Crash. I remember not liking it as much as Snow Crash, maybe because I wanted more of the tower of babel stuff. After listening to it, I have no idea why I didn’t like it as much. This book is wonderful.
The beginning is a bit slow and the end is abrupt. At the end I did listen to a portion a couple of times to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, but this book is delicious! It is full of future potential societal problems, science, what makes culture, how to raise children, and how to develop creativity, initiative, and fearlessness in a new generation. I thought it was fantastic.
If you are not familiar with Stephenson he does give you a lot of detail and is very descriptive in his world building. Some are bored by this and want more action. There is action, but I like that I come away feeling I learned something. He does explain processes and science in a way that if you are not a tech or science major you will understand him and not feel condescended to – no easy chore for an author.
The narrator was superb. Jennifer Wiltsie did a brilliant job, it was not over dramatized. Her accents were good, maybe not perfect all the time, but for the scope of accents she had to do and number of characters she did very well. Her characters were distinguishable and I believe I enjoyed listening to it more than when I read it. There were a few audio issues but Ms. Wiltsie made up for them.
Another thing I liked about this book is it deals with raising and growing strong women from girlhood. It is not a children’s book, but not all fantasy and science fiction has strong female characters, and this book not only has them but its a main focus. If you are not usually a science fiction buff, but want a good coming of age tale, this is still worth it. Get past the first five chapters before you throw it down and call me a liar.