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July 25, 2013 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: Lexicon by Max Barry

Lexicon by Max BarryLexicon
by Max Barry
Narrated by Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman

Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publish Date: June 18, 2013
Format: Audio, 12 hours | 36 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Intermediate
Rating: 5 of 5

Publisher’s Synopsis:

At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren’t taught history, geography, or mathematics – at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as “poets”: adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this brilliant novel with its original concept, suspenseful story line and compelling characters. One of the problems with reading a lot of books is that after a while a many of the plots begin to feel the same. I’m always yearning for that really original idea, one that’s going make it difficult for me to put the book down, and in Lexicon I’ve found it.

This is one of those books that’s difficult to describe without going into great detail, but doing so would spoil the suspense. Part of the enjoyment was putting the pieces together as the story unfolds. It was not predictable and I didn’t feel manipulated by the author. Sure, there were a few instances where I figured out a twist, but it wasn’t until the last second when I had been given a lot of clues.

A quick plot line: Something terrible has happened in the small town of Broken Hill, Australia. An event which caused the deaths of thousands of people. Emily Ruff and Wil Parke know the truth. Emily is on the run from the secret organization, Wil has critical information about the disaster but can’t remember what happened.

There are two main story lines which will eventually converge as the details are revealed. We meet Will in the present as he is being chased through an airport by people who want information from him. We meet Emily a few years earlier and through Emily we begin to understand the special school and the manipulative power of language.

The audio has two narrators who alternate speaking when the point of view changes. This was the first time I had experienced either of these narrators and both were easy to listen to. When a book’s plot is complex or there are multiple changes in time, location or point of view, multiple narrators can help the listener stay oriented.

So what genre is this book anyway?

I struggled with that question. While the concept of the story — a secret organization that can control people through words and language — has science/speculative fiction overtones, I felt like I was listening to a suspenseful action thriller with a mystery to be solved and a little romance on the side. If you enjoy Stephen King, there’s a good chance this will appeal to you. If you’re looking for something original and different, definitely give this a try.

Source: Review copy from Penguin Audio.
© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.



Leave a Comment
  1. Shannon @ River City Reading / Jul 25 2013 12:15 pm

    I really loved this one, too…and you’re right, it’s really hard to categorize, but sometimes those end up being the best books! I bet it’s a great one to listen to on audiobook.


  2. BermudaOnion / Jul 25 2013 1:49 pm

    You’ve really piqued my interest!!


  3. Vicki / Jul 25 2013 3:01 pm

    This sounds very different from anything I’ve read/listened to before.


  4. Mary / Jul 26 2013 5:24 am

    This does sound unique. I agree that multiple narrators really help with alternating POVs.


  5. Suko / Jul 26 2013 7:34 pm

    This one does sound very unique, Leslie. Very nice review!


  6. Alyce (@AtHomeWithBooks) / Jul 27 2013 1:41 pm

    I liked this book a lot, but wanted more to the ending. I really wanted to know more about how … trying to not to give any spoilers… but how the characters got from where they had been to where they were in the very last scene.


    • Leslie / Jul 27 2013 2:47 pm

      I thought it was a little vague too but since I liked the ending, I just was ok with it. I was afraid it was going to end one chapter sooner… and I would not have been ok with that. One of my first thoughts after finishing the book was that perhaps there would be a sequel and that was why there was a lack of clarity, but I haven’t found any mention of one. There’s certainly more story to be told.


  7. lakesidemusing / Jul 28 2013 8:28 am

    This sounds very different from anything I’ve read or listened to lately… I’m intrigued!


  8. susanbright / Aug 2 2013 8:44 am

    This sounds really good! Love a good audio book! Thank you


  9. stacybuckeye / Aug 6 2013 11:02 pm

    This sounds perfect for me and for Jason and since he counts on me fr his audiobooks I thank you for the recommendation 🙂



  1. 2013 Reading Wrap-Up | Under My Apple Tree

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