Sunday, April 6, 2014

Audiobook Review : Lexicon by Max Barry

  • Release Date: June 18th 2013
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Length: 12 hours 36 minutes 

At an exclusive training school at an undisclosed location outside Washington, D.C., students are taught to control minds, to wield words as weapons. The very best graduate as “poets” and enter a nameless organization of unknown purpose. Recruited off the street, whip-smart Emily Ruff quickly learns the one key rule: never allow another person to truly know you. Emily becomes the school’s most talented prodigy, until she makes [a] catastrophic mistake 

In Lexicon A secret shadowy group known simply as the organization is comprised of Poets, people  trained in the art of persuasion  using the power of words. It's a seemingly simple idea that is eerie, thought provoking and more powerful than you can imagine.

Our protagonist is Emily Ruff,  a young, promising student at the organization. We also meet Wil Parke, a man whose is suddenly on the run when he becomes the central key to the future of the organization. These two completely different story lines converge in an ending to the death.

Wil's storyline  reads just like any classic chase thriller, after being kidnapped at the airport he goes from Virginia to Portland to Australia on the run from a renegade Poet. Accompanying Wil is Elliot, an unemotional and logical ex-Poet also on the run from the organization.

Lexicon features a lot of my favorite  storytelling techniques;  shifting point-of-views, non-linear narrative and  epistolary storytelling thrown in every now and then.

The plot and world building in this novel is smart and sleek. Because words are what Poets use to persuade people, there is a lot of discussion about how we perceive words in our daily lives. Most glaringly in new media.  Lexicon asks the questions ; do we form out own opinions or are we being persuaded without even realizing it?

I've heard a few mentions of  how this book is about " teens who learn the power of persuasion", but the book spends minimal time in the academy where the students are taught before they join the organization. These sections have the usual boarding school tropes, but I found these parts to be the least interesting.

At times the book did feature some clunky love scenes and glazed over plot points. I think it would have been interesting to get a whole book about each character, but I can see why some of it was left to the imagination.

The audiobook  has two narrators. Zach Appleman and Heather Corrigan. Appleman has an amazing voice, at first I thought his voice sounded to old but it really grew on me. I was shocked to find out that Zach Appleman is (quite young) and not Australian, his accent sounded so real to me.

Wish I could see the same for Heather Corrigan while I thought she was a great narrator for Emily's inner dialogue , her Australian accent left a lot to be desired.

While I enjoyed the audio book something tells me a book that deals with the power of words, probably reads better on page.  I gathered that a few pages were from forums and websites and I bet those looked better than they sound.

This story reinvents the idea of what magic is and what it means to amaze.
Lexicon is an intense, smart and thrilling read that starts with  high speed chase keeps moving to a blow out of an ending.

 I'm excited to dive into Barry's other novels.  I'm thinking Jennifer Government.

In a few places I've noticed that Wil's last name is said to be Jamieson,  but he's called Wil Parke in the audiobook I listened to...

Also you can take the Lexicon quiz which is more interesting after you read the book. I'm Virginia Woolf so. . . yeah.

1 comment :

  1. Wow, this sounds amazing! I haven't heard anything about this before. I have never really been able to get into audio books but I think I would like to read this one! Great review!


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