Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets.
Carlyle Foster is a sensayer - a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.
The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labeling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world's population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.
And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life.
©2016 Ada Palmer (P)2016 Recorded Books
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"Outstanding story, if a bit inaccessible at times"
The world created by Ada Palmer is rich and inventive. This book is not military SF and it's not space opera. It's a deliberate meditation on philosophy, morality, humanity, and seemingly impossible intimations of the divine. The narrator's obfuscations and turns invested me emotionally, repeatedly wrenching with each new revelation.
The only complaint I have is that this book might not be the best for audiobooks. I started it three times before realizing that this is not a book you can passively listen to while at work or engaged in activities. The prose requires your focused mind as it intentionally captures the tone and cadence of historical philosophers. Completing it was a challenge due to its length, its emotionally convulsive revelations, and the prose style. But it's one of those rare books that will be with me for years.
I am fully invested in Bridger, Mycroft, Carlisle, and Thisby's lives. Cannot wait for the second book.
"Best book I've listened to this year."
A masterpiece of plot, world building, narration, and character. Everything about this story was unique, artful, and obviously carefully crafted. The world was very very complex, and I can understand how that mixed with the unusual narration might lose people, but damn, this is the best book I've read this year bar none. Can't wait for more - great work Ms. Palmer!
The narration was also fantastic - hope Jefferson does the sequel as well.
"Dense but Good"
While it ends suddenly, it's thought provoking and consistent: in general everything sci-fi should be.
"Intricate, dense, disturbing and wonderful!"
Finally a book that I can sink my teeth into and then have something to digest afterwards. The fact that it made me ask myself, "is the book, evil?" Is the best thing about it.
Thrilling, smart and engaging sci fi saga. Would recommend to any reader as a must listen for the summer
interesting and addictive all the way through, with a careful increase in tension and detail throughout. This novel will keep you on your toes and tantalize your mind
I struggled to finish this book. I was 19 hours into the book and still had no idea what the story was about. Was it in future or the past? What is a Bosch? Who are the cousins? And, how many Cousins are there? The narration style send pretentious and, at times, condescending. I honestly felt like I needed a Rosetta Stone to determine what I was listening to. If you pick this up, good luck figuring it out.
"Was the language English? Maybe the Author made this language up."
It seems like ranting. Talking without connection. I have never read a book like this. I did try.
"Couldn't really get into it"
I honestly could not deal with the way it was written or narrated. I only could get through like three chapters
"Too Like The Mind-Numbing"
I agree with several reviewers that this is a boring book. Others thought it was excellent, so maybe I missed a lot of things. However, I am fairly certain that I did hear some pornography. Not the bachelor party version, but the twisted, foreign film with English subtitles variety
"Well-crafted opener that ends abruptly"
The setting is complex and unique and intriguing. The way the characters think and act is provocative and compelling.
I would compare it to the work of Gene Wolfe, in that it is a rather disorientating but worthwhile read.
Unfulfilled. There's a lot of set-up, but no real resolution to the plot in this book, which ends very abruptly. It's not even really a cliff-hanger, the book just ends to be picked up by the next one.
A little too dense for my liking, too much leaning on the 18th century style of intrigue. With so many characters and "families" to keep track of it was a bit like trying to remember Tolstoy's ovs
Such a vividly realised world. I was immersed and in awe. I would recommend this to anyone.
"Outrageously brilliant in scope, invention, innovation, language, characters etc etc."
I've listened to it twice at this point. There's so much detail and so many layers to penetrate but to me it felt like embarking on some exciting, thrilling, unpredictable adventure again when I read second time. 'Mycroft Kanner, Ockham Syneer, Prince Ganymede, The Anonymous, JEDD Mason.....' What breadth of imagination from Ada Palmer!! One of the best I've ever listened to. Excellent narrator.
Can hardly wait for book two. Fourth wall, thou hast no place here!
Since I can't write a proper review for toffee, a stream of conscious will follow:
A miracle is seen and then mostly ignored.
Nice world building.
Everybody is so very serious about what appears to be a trivial event.
So many characters I lost track.
I may not be intelligent enough to appreciate this book.
A future Jack the Ripper..perhaps.
How did the boy end up there? Did I miss something?
Moriarty is revealed just in time to make you long for book 2.
Narration was good and understandable at x2 playback speed.
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