REAMDE by Neal Stephenson

I admit it, it's taken me a long time to finish this mammoth (1,000 + pages) book. It took me a while to get into it but once I had, it tripped along merrily enough.
   I hate to say it, because I'm a fan of Neal Stephenson, but I think Reamde suffered from a couple of weaknesses. Not enough to prevent me enjoying the book, I hasten to add, but I could perhaps have enjoyed it even more...
   First, it did take me a while to get to grips with what's going on, and I think this is at least partly due to the author's attempt to weld real life and a fictional online game together. It doesn't quite work for me. At the end of the day I don't think the online game contributed as much to the plot as perhaps NS would have liked it to... and his welding attempts slowed down the novel for me.
   Second, the characters, while feisty and interesting, all seemed to have the same sort of outlook on life - laconic, dry humour, a little fatalistic. Rather like NS himself. I began to see he characters not as characters in their own right, but as shards of NS's character. Which takes some of the shine off what is otherwise a polished performance.
   And lastly, I didn't find the tension as great as I think it was supposed to be, because I had a clear notion that all the baddies were going to get killed, and all the main goodies were going to survive. Also, it was never made clear what the main baddie was planning to do. Whatever it was, it necessitated a terrorist attack that killed more than a hundred people, but that attack was practically a throwaway line in the context of the book... If we'd had a clearer notion of what the terrorist plans were, perhaps we'd have rooted more for their being stopped and the tension would have been greater.
   So, I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure it's for everyone. It's probably too long and a little self-indulgent. If you have a spare few months to read it, let me know what you think.
add comment | read comments (0) 2013-04-06