Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rapid-Fire Audiobook Reviews

Since I don't anticipate having time, in the near future, to give each of these audio books a full-blown review, I'm posting short-form reviews here.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi.

An engaging story set in a well-realized universe. This novel is positioned as a young-adult book, but it doesn't underestimate its reader. 7.5 out of 10.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi.

The premise for this story, which is set in the same universe as Ship Breaker, but on the other side of the Earth, is compelling, and the worldbuilding is impressive. However, the characters weren't identifiable and the story was too slow. I just couldn't get into it and stopped about two thirds of the way in. 3.5 out of 10.

Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear.

The premise of this story is intriguing. Unfortunately, since the narrator and all the other characters have no idea of what's going on around them, the plot comes off as a muddled mess. 5.0 out of 10.

Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge.

This story is set in the same universe a Fast Times at Fairmont High, and it includes at least 5 of the same characters. Interestingly, 2 of the main characters are substantially revamped for this novel. The worldbuilding is typical of Vinge, which is to say impressive. The story is exciting, as well. 8.5 out of 10.

The WWW Trilogy (Wake, Watch, and Wonder) by Robert J. Sawyer.

An interesting story set in the very near future. The main character is so likable that I didn't mind reading from the perspective of a teenage girl. Sadly, there's a bit too much teen-girl drama. 7.5 out of 10.


  1. Not that I expect you to read this comment any time in the near future, but I am shocked that you didn't like "The Windup Girl." I found it absolutely riveting. I loved that the book took time to let you get to know the characters, and I loved how much time it spent in the heads of people (like Anderson) who aren't wholly evil, but aren't very good or likable, either; it was like getting a view of the other side of the story, the one where the "bad guy" is the hero of his own narrative. I also loved how much time was spent on the worldbuilding, which I thought was fascinating. The pace does pick up considerably not too long after you put the book down, so you may consider revisiting it in your copious free time.

    I haven't read "Ship Breaker" yet, but I intend to do so very soon based on how much I loved "The Windup Girl."

  2. Nick,

    Certainly, I agree that the worldbuilding is exceptionally rich in this book. However, it was just taking too long to get going. Plus, the only character I could really sympathize with was Emiko, the titular windup girl. I enjoyed Anderson's storyline, even though he wasn't completely likable, but all the adventures of the Jaidee and all the political intrigue put me off.

    Ship breaker was more interesting to me somehow. I guess I'm a "young adult," i.e. teenager, at heart.