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Summary

"One of the most visionary, original, and quietly influential writers currently working" (Boston Globe) returns with a brand-new novel.

In William Gibson's first novel since 2014's New York Times best-selling The Peripheral, a gifted "app-whisperer", hired to beta test a mysterious new product, finds her life endangered by her relationship with her surprisingly street-smart and combat-savvy "digital assistant".

©2020 William Gibson (P)2020 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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

A long time coming

The wait for this book release nearly killed me. Still, worth it though. A very enjoyable romp. If you liked Peripheral, you’ll like this. Now, Audible, whilst I wait for Gibson’s next book, can you arrange audio versions of all his back catalogue, please?

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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meh

Great narrator. Not a great book. The previous book had more of an interesting plot, set in nearly the same world with some of same characters.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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ZZZzzzzzzzz......

“Agency” is the follow-up to “The Peripheral” and, though that hadn't been up to Gibson's previous standards, the conceit of linked but separate futures and “stubs” was intriguing enough to make me look forward to listening to this continuation. I wish I hadn't bothered; it was the literary equivalent of a pre-packaged salt-beef sandwich — the packaging and brand made it look so tasty but one bite showed it was nothing but by-the-numbers fare, which I only finished because I had paid for it and was still hungry afterwards.

The problem is that Gibson is a writer whose ideas are so very good that they make up for his lack of skill in creating a sense of urgency and danger, even when that's what he is straining to do. This is not so bad with printed books as the reader's own enthusiasm helps to keep the pages turning. But with an audiobook, it's the narrator dictating the pace and, though Lorelei King has a genuinely pleasing voice and style, she didn't manage to make even the chase sequence seem remotely exciting. Compare this with a master of narration like Michael Jayston; with seemingly no effort, he manages to make sections of Le Carrés “Smiley“ books crackle with relentless pace and gravity. The material helps, of course, but the narration is crucial.

I never thought I would find myself saying this about a William Gibson book but I really can't recommend this to anyone expecting something worthy of his name and reputation. Fingers crossed for a return to form next time.

1 person found this helpful

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very enjoyable

I really like this series, looking forward to next installment. The second book is just the right balance of new characters, different concepts and returning characters. This narrator I always find easy to listen to and the author never has disappointed me yet. I am not too picky, though when it comes to narrators and pretty much enjoy most as I just love the indulgence of being read to.

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Excellent follow up to the Peripheral

I almost didn't buy this title due to the negative reviews but having just finished the Peripheral, which I really enjoyed, I wanted to find out what happened next. I certainly didn't regret it! I would certainly recommend reading the Peripheral first - or re-reading it before this if you read it some time ago. Most of the story is set in a different 'stub' to the first book, but what an intriguing stub it is with lots of links to recent political events on both sides of the Atlantic. Excellent crossover of characters and moves those characters on very well too. Can't wait for the next instalment.

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Too convoluted. Should've been a series

Disappointing and unfulfilling.

The narrator works well with bad material, so it scores high there, but otherwise this is not the standard I expect from a master like William Gibson. For such a short book there's just too many things going on at once to fully flesh them out. Too many characters, from multiple timelines, with different world events happening in each one but which aren't really explained all that well.

The first 25% of the book is excellent, with UNISS becoming a great character and the relationship between her and Verity developing really nicely. Then the next three quarters of the story are essentially a big complicated car chase.

There's to many concepts here which have been jammed together into one short tale, when this could've made a really, really intriguing trilogy.

Edit: reading some of these other reviews I see that this is a follow up to Peripheral. There was no indication on the Audible store that this IS in fact part of a series. With that new information received I'm giving it an extra "benefit of the doubt" star on story.

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I like Gibson but this feels tired

nothing really new here, tedious action with no discernable stakes. Disappointing lack of ideas. Def not his best.

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classic Gibson

A great follow up to The Periphery, with some of the same characters appearing. If you like that you'll love this.

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Book 2 of 3 ?

Good continuation / extension to this world, but felt a little flat at the end, setting up a third book

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Disappointing

The lead character is just carried along by the story. No real conflict or struggle.

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  • Alex
  • 17-08-20

the butthurt is real

Brain dead leftists go back in time to change the 2016 election result, prevent Brexit and thus save the world from total destruction. Tedious. This is the audiobook form of a twitter rant that should have been deleted before it was posted. Bootlickers rejoice, this one is for you.

1 person found this helpful