The Word Exchange: Review

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I’m really torn about this book; part of me enjoyed the story but another part of me just found too many faults within the book.

This book has a really fascinating (and terrifying) premise. The story takes place in a dystopian society, not many years from now, and introduces the reader to an incredibly terrifying future. In this society (world), citizens rely on their Memes (similar to today’s smartphones) to get by in day-to-day life. The memes are capable of amazing things, reading the users mood, curing the users ills, ordering food, paying for things, and much more. Yet for all the good that the Memes bring to the world, they are also soon to bring something absolutely terrible- the forgetting and misuse of the English language.

English teachers everywhere will get a kick out of the language aspect of this book and the average citizen, even if they aren’t a fan of language and words, will worry about the coming ages in this realistic dystopian novel.

Although much of this book deals with language, there was also a serious action/thriller element to this book. Ana’s father disappears, spurring Ana on a search that will lead her into all manner of trouble and to all sorts of seedy places. The plot moved along quickly at the beginning, slowed down, and then moved quickly again at the end of the book. I really enjoyed the plot at the beginning of the book but found myself bored throughout the middle.

This book, for the most part, was extremely rambling. Especially when the story was from the point of view of Bart, there was a lot of useless information and rants about the past. I think this book would have been better had the story been entirely from the point of view of Ana, Bart just rambled too much. I didn’t think that the author had a good grasp on how to write a novel, especially one that is appealing to word lovers.

The characters themselves weren’t too awe-inspiring. They all seemed rather lacking in the qualities that make good characters and I didn’t find myself amazed by any of the characters at any point in the book.

The part that irked me the most about this book was the footnotes. Honestly, this is a fiction book, you don’t need to use footnotes because you can put that information right in the story. Also, the footnotes took place at the end of the chapter and were extremely long (like 2 pages). There were a lot of footnotes and it’s hard to remember exactly what part of the story they were referring to. I would have been happier had the author just left the footnotes out altogether.

In the end I think I would have enjoyed this book much more if I had just been able to focus on the literary and dystopian elements of it; instead I found myself disappointed with the writing and the overall story. If you’re a die-hard work fanatic then I would recommend giving this book a shot, if you’re just a fan of reading and not a word fanatic then skip this book; you’d be better off spending your time reading something that is better written.

I received this book for review purposes via NetGalley.


4 thoughts on “The Word Exchange: Review

    tpolen said:
    March 26, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Also got this book from NetGalley and getting ready to start it. Footnotes? Can’t say I’ve seen footnotes in a book since college – a little unusual.

      echooutside responded:
      March 26, 2014 at 3:09 PM

      Yeah, they’re at the end of every chapter. I found myself extremely surprised and confused to see them in this book. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of the book.

    Sam said:
    March 26, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    Great review. I was intrigued by the premise you described but the problems you had with it are things that would bother me as a reader. Thanks for sharing.

    CoCo said:
    March 27, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    Footnotes are the actual worst! I can’t believe they went on for pages too! Yikes!

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