I went into this book not knowing much. Well I heard it was set in the future, and was recommended on some internet forums. So that was enough to pique my interest. After listening to the 14+ hours of the audio-book, I’m not sure I can say I know anymore.
OK, I will be blunt. I don’t think I enjoyed this journey. It was not that it was badly written. Vernor Vinge seems like a competent writer. It’s just that the story did not grip me, nor were the characters particularly recognizable or likable. I mean, I was not expecting something on the level of Snow Crash, but I was hoping for at least a passable sci-fi novel. I came up short.
When I say the story was lacking, maybe I should be more specific. I am not sure what happened in this book. In fact, I am not even sure anything happened at all. Well, that’s not entirely true. I know the main character is some old geyser that gets out of the hospital and doesn’t know much about modern technology. And they have these wearable computer contact lenses. That part is actually kind of cool. So the beginning half of the book is about this old guy trying to get hip to the new tech, going to high school again, and stuff like that. There is dialogue with his family members. There is some hint of hackers. This is all vaguely interesting, but a real story never materializes. I guess I am used to books where you are hooked in from the first page. Don’t expect that here. I kept thinking to myself: “OK, this is going to get better.” but sadly it never does.
Granted, about 10 hours into the book finally something, and I mean anything, started to happen. Without any spoilers, the characters go on a dangerous mission together. However, if a book has to make the reader wait until the end for even a hint of excitement, they have failed. To make matters worse, the whole premise didn’t make much sense to me. Weak characters, weak story, really no reason for me to care.
I feel bad, actually, giving this book such a horrid review. I am usually pretty forgiving, and I did give this title and honest chance. Unfortunately it let me down and there is not much more to it then that. Not sure what other people were talking about when they recommending this book. I appreciate the effort but, sadly, the book doesn’t deliver.