Winner of the Aurealis Awards Best Science Fiction Novel 2013
Two years ago, something terrible was unleashed in an Australian mining town called Broken Hill. Thousands died. Few people know what really happened. Emily Ruff is one of them. She belongs to an elite organisation of 'poets': masters of manipulation who use language to warp others to their will. She was one of their most promising recruits until she made a catastrophic mistake: she fell in love.
Wil Parke knows the truth too, only he doesn't remember it. And he doesn't know why he's immune to the poets' powers. But he knows he needs to run. As their stories converge, the past is revealed, and the race is on for a deadly weapon: a word. Because the poets know that words can kill...
©2013 Max Barry (P)2013 Penguin Audiobooks US
"Insanely good. Dark and twisted and sweet and humane all at once" (Lauren Beukes, author of Zoo City and The Shining Girls)
"About as close you can get to the perfect cerebral thriller: searingly smart, ridiculously funny, and fast as hell. Lexicon reads like Elmore Leonard high out of his mind on Snow Crash." (Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians)
I know the book has had some positive reviews - the story might be better enjoyed by people who are under the influence of mind altering substances so that an unsatisfying story won't matter too much. It would also be helpful to have no knowledge of Broken Hill or Australia generally and not to care that this story is seriously unbelievable.
The complete lack of research about Broken Hill in Australia was seriously disappointing. The town in the book bears no semblance to the real thing. Better if he just made up a fictitious town rather than get it all so wrong. The author is reported to be Australian but it is hard to believe he has ever been out of Melbourne or that he even googled Broken Hill and the area before writing the book. Apart from the lack of geographical accuracy, the concept about a conspiracy and secret word could have been good but the whole story missed very badly for me. Quite a let-down. In favour of the book I can state that at least I finished it and didn't abandon it part-way through. Although if I had stopped, I wouldn't have missed anything of value. So so disappointing when it had so much potential. This was my first Max Barry book. And it will be my last.
Zach Appelman was reasonably good but Heather Corrigan's attempt at an Australian accent was atrocious and she should have just used an ordinary voice rather than her grossly insulting exaggerated intonations - the producers ought to be sacked for allowing this farce to slip past them.
I'm too disappointed with the overall book to suggest minor improvements in characters. Better just miss this author in future.
Did I say how disappointed I was? I read some positive reviews but those people must have very different tastes or are satisfied with very little. For me, this book and Heather Corrigan's performance were sorry efforts.
"Brilliant & original, but, oh, dreadful accents!"
As you can see by my ratings, the performance of this audio book did not go down well. In fact it soured me too it, in the end. The monstrously awful Australian accents for me spoiled what could have been an excellent read. Every time I heard these awful Aussie accents, I physically cringed. I agree with another reviewer who said that if you - the audio producer - cannot find a real Ausssie narrator then DON'T DO the ACCENTS AT ALL. Having said all this, I believe that if the book had been performed well it may well have rated 5 stars. It was a breath of fresh air finding something so original. The pace was fast and the thrills were there too. Recommended, if you can get past the accents.
"Great story let down by terrible accent"
The story itself is pretty much perfect. Great pace and there's nothing I would change. The only thing is I would like to explore this world a lot deeper. There are some parts that seem a bit glossed over, but this doesn't hurt the story at all.
This story unfolds beautifully. Loved the drama that came from jumping between key points in time. It's really clever actually. Super rewarding as things fall in to place.
They are both excellent narrators but Heather Corrigan's appalling Australian accent was unbearable. I would listen to more performances by these two, as long as Heather stuck with her native accent. Zach's performance was flawless and engaging.
This book should become a movie and sure I would go and see it, but like most cinematic appropriations- it won't compare to the book in terms of narrative.
This book is rather gripping and based on an extremely interesting premise.
I would certainly recommend it. However, as the previous reviewer noted, the Australian accents are appalling and, as an Australian listener, distractingly so. Still, the book is worth it if you can overlook this.
One of the best and original thrillers I have listened to in a long time.
"Terrible Dialogue, Worse Accents"
Being Australian, I cannot get past the accents they try to put on. One of them sounds like a mix of Irish and cockney Londoner.
All one of the main characters seems to do is run around complaining about things and dropping the F bomb a lot.
If you can get past the appalling accents and the terrible dialogue then maybe this book is for you, as the story has potential.
The idea behind the story and the mythology that surrounds it are interesting. The way the characters talk to each other is the least interesting.
Don't use an accent for the Australian characters. Just don't. If you can't hire Australians to do the part then don't bother faking an accent, it's just so bad.
I'd cut Will, he doesn't seem to add anything in the beginning, tell it from someone else's point of view.
The accents, oh god the accents.
"okay for teenagers (?) but I had to give up......"
The title of my review is not meant to show disrespect to teenagers. However, the style of this book is probably more suited to a younger audience. Even so, the language used came across to me as a little patronising, but maybe this is a reflection of the differences between Australians (like the author) and Brits like my own teenagers. I found the narration/s competent but somewhat mechanical - the voices have appropriately varied tone and expression, which is good - but lacked feeling. I got this book on a BOGOF deal from audible and will be more careful with any such choice in future.
I loved this book, perfect for audio, fast paced and original storyline, brilliant. Narration very easy to listen to & beautifully paced. Only criticism was appalling Australian accents mercifully kept to a minimum.
"Excellent story let down by one of the readers"
It was a great story and I really enjoyed it apart from the woman reader. She was fine until half way through the book when she had to do an Australian accent that was so awful it was almost unlistenable. Some of the reviewers said it sounded Irish and I didn't believe them. It does. The man was fine though. It spoils an otherwise good listen. If you can bear listening to her then try this book. The story is great. I just wish they'd picked a different reader
"Half of the Audio was good, half was awful"
No, the Australian accent of one of the narrators was terrible and ruined all of those parts. Every line came out like a bad Irish accent instead. Unfortunately there are substantial parts where this is going to be invading your ears - stick with the print version.
Can't say too much without spoiling a fair bit of the book
Zach Appelman's yes, Heather Corrigan only if I could know she didn't have to do an accent.
Yes. It's a really intriguing and plausible concept that most of my friends would find fascinating.
Emily, Possibly by default. But she is the one you at least have some hope for.
Both good. Helps with the alternating story lines particularly in the first half of the book.
Nothing really "moving" until Emily is compromised - I won't ruin the story - but I was gutted when that happened.
Takes a while to get into the story. Bear with it as you could easily give up during the first few dull chapters which don't appear to be going anywhere. However, when it takes off, it's great.
"Great story, well read and interesting - brill!"
Yes, it is an interesting story, unusual idea's and really sucked me into it. I loved the performances and enjoyed it from start to finish.
Nothing really that I have read to date.
Both the performances were really good, Heather Corrigan in particular had an easy to listen to voice. Zach made all the male characters come to life for me. They both added to the book.
I found it interesting and enjoyable. It surprised me and kept me guessing.
Great story, well read. Well worth a download!
"Too much swearing"
The story line is OK, but not sure I like the way the present and the past are coming together from both ends ... so the book alternates throughout by describing bits in the past and bits in the present. Also the dictionary interludes are super annoying. But what was the worse bit is that there is way too many F-words, and too much swearing in there. Totally unneccessary.
I would have prefered a continious timeline, no swearing (doesn't add anything to the book, and just makes you flinch), and remove the dictionary interludes. If I had read the book I probably would have ignored those. But on the audiobook they read them out, and it's just plain annoying.
They have done well, although Heather's Australian accent sounds very strange.
The idea is really cool, that's why I bought it. But it could have been made more exciting - Michael Crighton would have managed to make this a book so exciting it'd be a movie.
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