QUICKSILVER by Neal Stephenson

THE CONFUSION by Neal Stephenson

As you may have gathered, I have decided that I like Neal Stephenson’s novels.  They’re full of history, science and swashbuckling characters; and dramatic and dire events are laced with dry humour.  As I have remarked elsewhere, it is extremely annoying that anyone should be able to write this well and this effectively: what chance have other mere mortals got?
That said, I had two quibbles with these two books – one for each.  Quicksilver was absolutely brilliant for most of its not inconsiderable length.  I was glued to the pages, anxious not to miss any facet of the plot or wry comments by its characters – but then, at the end, I thought it lost its way a little.  Much of the end of the book is taken up by long letters exchanged between characters and I have to admit I started to skip-read them.  I found that a bit disappointing.
On the other hand, I thought The Confusion started off a bit more stolidly than usual; I was able to realise, as I read through long conversations, that I was being spoon-fed history.  Perhaps this set-up was necessary for the rest of the book – tough to say.  But I was left with the feeling that the end of Quicksilver could have been shortened considerably, and so could the start of The Confusion – and since The Confusion is the sequel to Quicksilver, with essentially many of the same characters, it naturally struck me that they could perhaps have been run into one bigger, more dynamic book.
I’m being picky.  They’re both great reads, and I commend them to you.
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