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Summary

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

Critic reviews

"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)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping

Would you listen to another book narrated by Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman ?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • T
  • 26-09-14

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved the book

The two narrators were very good, it's just a shame Heather Corrigan's Australian accent was a bit poo, otherwise excellent.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disjointed, confusion, compelling.

I've read some Max Barry books before. I was expecting it to be like Jennifer Government, but it wasn't. More of a traditional book with very little humour. Some of the performance accents were poorly realised, but this just added to the sense of mystery. Very enjoyable.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Half of the Audio was good, half was awful

Would you consider the audio edition of Lexicon to be better than the print version?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Can't say too much without spoiling a fair bit of the book

Would you be willing to try another one of Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman ’s performances?

Zach Appelman's yes, Heather Corrigan only if I could know she didn't have to do an accent.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great concept

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. It's a really intriguing and plausible concept that most of my friends would find fascinating.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Emily, Possibly by default. But she is the one you at least have some hope for.

What about Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman ’s performance did you like?

Both good. Helps with the alternating story lines particularly in the first half of the book.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Nothing really "moving" until Emily is compromised - I won't ruin the story - but I was gutted when that happened.

Any additional comments?

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • GLASGOW, United Kingdom
  • 29-11-14

Great story, well read and interesting - brill!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

What other book might you compare Lexicon to, and why?

Nothing really that I have read to date.

Have you listened to any of Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

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.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found it interesting and enjoyable. It surprised me and kept me guessing.

Any additional comments?

Great story, well read. Well worth a download!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • XIM
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 04-11-13

Too much swearing

What would have made Lexicon better?

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.

What could Max Barry have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

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.

What three words best describe Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman ’s performance?

They have done well, although Heather's Australian accent sounds very strange.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Janie
  • 17-09-13

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nathan
  • 19-07-13

Great story let down by terrible accent

Is there anything you would change about this book?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

Would you be willing to try another one of Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman ’s performances?

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.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Early 30s Girl
  • 08-07-13

Very Enjoyable

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mike
  • 02-07-13

Terrible Dialogue, Worse Accents

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

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.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

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.

How could the performance have been better?

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.

What character would you cut from Lexicon?

I'd cut Will, he doesn't seem to add anything in the beginning, tell it from someone else's point of view.

Any additional comments?

The accents, oh god the accents.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful