Aaaaah! I HATED Brendan Fraser's narration! He read it too much like an actor, not enough like a reader. For instance, he would say "And then he laughAaaaah! I HATED Brendan Fraser's narration! He read it too much like an actor, not enough like a reader. For instance, he would say "And then he laughed" and then Fraser would actually cackle. For real cackle. And his Elinor voice was screechy and awful, his accents were completely different from the first book and just strange (why would Mortola have a Russian accent, and Roxane have a French accent, and Dustfinger an Irish accent? They all speak the same language and are from the same place!). Also, he pretty much murmurs all the time, with slowly and annoyingly emphasized words in way too many sentences. Like, "She put..the book..down......and looked...at...her father." UGH.
Honestly I've never been angrier at a narrator than I was with this book. The story was fine, but the narration was so obnoxious that I didn't enjoy it as much as it probably deserved. I'm thankful the next book switches narrators, although I wish they'd just brought the first book's narrator back instead of going with another new one!...more
**spoiler alert** This book was frustrating. First, I get it. It's hot in Thailand in the future. But Bacigalupi mentions in what seems like every sce**spoiler alert** This book was frustrating. First, I get it. It's hot in Thailand in the future. But Bacigalupi mentions in what seems like every scene that it's stifling, or a furnace, or sweat is pouring down everyone. It became really repetitive after a while.
Second, I didn't really like any of the characters, except for Emiko. Anderson is opportunistic and amoral, Hock Seng is greedy, selfish, and amoral, the white shirts are corrupt and dictatorial, the trade ministry is corrupt and conniving, Emiko's boss and coworkers are ridiculously cruel and abusive, the foreigners are mercenary and greedy - no one is good! I like to have someone I can root for, you know?
More importantly, however, I was frustrated by this book's treatment of women. There are two main female characters, and the second only becomes a point-of-view character halfway through. The other, the titular windup girl, is a horrible example of a lot of misogynist and racist tropes. She is a Japanese creation, so of course she's very submissive, she lives to serve, she literally has dog DNA that causes her to crave obedience. She is also, of course, a sex slave. The first time we read from her point of view, she is raped onstage by a coworker in front of a crowd. We learn that she is raped for entertainment every night. Later, there is a long and detailed rape scene involving objects. When this ultimate degradation causes Emiko to snap and murder her abusers, we don't get to read any of that. The next time we see her, she's cowering and whimpering at a main male character's door, terrified. So, to recap, two of her rapes are described in detail, her moment of empowerment where she takes her life in her own hands and gets revenge against her attackers happens off-screen, but we do get to see her after she's come down from her rage and is again weak and scared. Awesome.
Also, NONE of the other characters treat her as a human. She is a genetically-engineered "new person," and apparently this makes it okay to treat her horrifically. Anderson, the aforementioned main male character, even wonders if he'd be more upset at her treatment if she were a "real person." The fact that she can feel pain is apparently meaningless, because someone decided that new people don't have souls, so there is no "bad karma" in hurting and killing them. This link has a good discussion on the general grossness of using robot sex slaves in fiction - the gist that I find relevant here is that it often serves as an easy excuse to perpetuate misogynistic and degrading acts on characters that have emotions and feelings without dealing with the repercussions, since they're not really people. It's trying to have your cake and eat it too - all the voyeuristic sexualized violence with none of the guilt! Gross....more
I was really disappointed to find out that (view spoiler)[the book isn't really about yetis (hide spoiler)]! I read and enjoyed The Terror, Dan SimmonI was really disappointed to find out that (view spoiler)[the book isn't really about yetis (hide spoiler)]! I read and enjoyed The Terror, Dan Simmons's book about the Erebus and Terror expedition that disappeared trying to find the Northwest Passage, and that book (view spoiler)[really did have a monster that was terrorizing and killing the crewmen, so based on that I figured The Abominable would really have yetis. (hide spoiler)]
I thought the substitute conflict was a little less interesting. Yes, yes, evil Nazis - not super original. (view spoiler)[And the secret that a lot of people died for was that Hitler was a pedophile and there were photos proving it. These photos were apparently so powerful that Hitler didn't invade Britain because of the threat of their publishing. But I have to wonder why Churchill didn't threaten that a lot earlier, before the hundreds of thousands of deaths. Or just publish them and have Hitler lose all power, since it seems that's what everyone accepted would happen. Obviously that's because the book is supposed to be true, and that would mean WWII wouldn't have happened, but still. Seems like Churchill in the book really bungled the chance to get the most out of the pictures. (hide spoiler)]
The characters and climbing were captivating, though, and overall I liked the book. I just thought it was going to be something else I would have liked better.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more