Newest Review: ... pretty much peters out after a couple of hundred pages. The main storyline in the book follows the adventures of Zula Forthrast, an A... more
A big book with some big ideas.
Reamde - Neal Stephenson
Member Name: Superjim03
Reamde - Neal Stephenson
Advantages: A lot of words for your money
Disadvantages: A bit too long, could have lost a couple of hundred pages.
Reamde is the latest book from the American novelist Neal Stephenson, the copy I am reviewing was a hardcopy with an RRP of a whopping £18.99. Whilst this seems a lot to pay the book is also quite whopping at 1056 pages plus the hard cover, so not all that commuter friendly. It might be worth looking at a kindle version if you have the option.
The book follows the fortunes of the Forthrast family, initially the main character seems to be Richard Forthrast a middle aged entrepreneur who was the creator of the popular online game T'Rain which is targeted by a group of chinese hackers. The virus they use is called Reamde hence the books title. This plotline is something of a red herring however as the virus storyline pretty much peters out after a couple of hundred pages. The main storyline in the book follows the adventures of Zula Forthrast, an African refugee that was adopted into the Forthrast family as a child. After an unfortunate series of events she is kidnapped by a rogue Russian mafia boss who is trying to track down the Reamde hackers mentioned above. At the point of completing this mission the narrative takes a strange turn and Zula is kidnapped again by the Welsh islamic terrorist Abdullah Jones and his gang who were plotting atrocities from the same building as the Chinese hackers.
This twist really stretches belief in the storyline and the coincidences don't stop there as various characters are introduced to the story and amazingly keep bumping into each other in unlikely scenarios.
The first few hundred pages of the book cracks along at a good pace and I thoroughly enjoyed the book until about half way through. Sadly the second half of the book was unable to maintain the pace and I think could have perhaps lost a couple of hundred pages without detriment. Of course maintaining a book as a 'page turner' for over a thousand pages is a difficult task and ultimately the various strands reconverge towards the end and most loose ends are tied up. Having said that the last fifty pages or so seemed a little rushed and I wondered if the editor had got fed up by this stage and remembered what they were supposed to be doing.
I have read several books by this author and I would class this as one of his more average efforts, sorry Neal I hope the enormous bags of cash you will earn from the book help you get over my comments! The book is very American orientated with RV's, Walmarts, Gun shooting family reunions, scary islamic terrorists and so on. The book could easily have been written by any one of a dozen thriller writers with not as many flashes of brilliance as some of his earlier works.
The book would be classed as techno-thriller although technically perhaps science fiction as the MMORPG T'Rain is probably slightly ahead of todays capabilities. nothing else in the book would classify it as science fiction however. Overall I would recommend the book although not for a casual reader, it took me the best part of a month to read and I usually get through roughly a book a week.
As of today the book is available on Amazon for £11.20 for the harcover and paperback for £15.71.
Summary: A good book but not his best