Reamde blends a Neal Stephenson sci-fi with a Tom Clancy thriller to great effect. The sprawling, globe trotting plot really carries you along. Rarely does over one thousand pages pass so quickly.
The whole Chinese episode in Reamde stands out as a highlight. Although I did love taking the tips to T'Rain.
Unfortunately Malcolm Hillgartner's narration is not terribly varied. He does a fine job but could have defined each of the characters more fully.
It's a book to eat up in big greedy chunks but certainly not one to get through in a single sitting.
Great Detail, Interesting Topics, all tie together wonderfully
It is a long listen and starts slow but really draws you into the story and characters are very well developed.
This book has many touching and also funny places that brought tears and made me laugh out loud.
This novel, like most of Stephenson's, is not easy. I enjoy them, but they tend to be loooong, full of technology-talk, and maybe in need of some serious editing.
However, that's it for my negative comments. I think Stephenson has a genius for explaining technical/mathematical/philosophical/sociological/astronomical/financial/etc. concepts, theories, and applications in a way that allows his non technical/mathematical/etc. readers a glimpse into these difficult to understand fields. The bonus is that he does it in the context of a story, so it's entertaining as well as educational. I have learned to trust his knowledge and believe that he will not make stuff up or make mistakes.
I enjoyed the character performances of the narrator, Malcolm Hillgartner, and found his accents very good to acceptable (in a couple of cases).I was a bit put off by other reviews which trashed his abilities, but I found them either overly critical or just plain wrong.
If you're up for it, and have the time to devote to thought provoking ideas, a pretty good thriller-type story, and a very interesting look into the MMPORG game genre, you have your work cut out for you.
As and avid video gamer, WOW in particular, Stephenson caught me up in his described game in the novel. I wish I could play the game he describes. It surprisingly turns into an international thriller with the game having some real world impact. I wish the game could have been more central to the story, but I really enjoyed it!
Awesome action thriller !
This is a complex but absolutely logical and clever story with fascinating characters. Fast-paced action, funny at times, Surprising twists. Never a boring moment. The most surprising thing about this story was that it really made me wonder if I might not, after all, want to become an online gamer :-)
Perfect performance by the narrator.
I am glad that I had a few days off when listening to this book because I could not put it down. Never have passed 38 hours faster. Excellent book, highly recommended !
I'm a Stephenson fan, despite the fact that he can struggle with endings. However, Reamde doesn't get anywhere near the end before it falls apart. It started out promisingly enough, but once it hit a critical juncture, it took a bizarre twist and just kept going. I was excited to read a Stephenson book so different from his other works, but this one just doesn't work.
Near Future Thriller
I like the many moments when Stephenson stops for a moment in the story to share an interesting anectote for the situation at hand. One example is a description of why people have the archetypical elves and dwarves in fantasy literature. another is how some conversations can eventually revolve around non-sequitor subjects, like bears, and a good conversationalist will steer clear of them.
Hillgartner is a good narrator with a deep voice and clear pronunciation that carry well across a room. He also adds a distinct personality to every character.
I hesitate to describe the moment because it would spoil an important plot twist halfway in the book. Let's say our protagonist has been put in a terrible situation realizes that not only can she escape, but many of the decisions she made up to that point have been subtly enabling that escape.
I recommend giving it a chance. If you like Neal Stephensons writing style, you'll like this book. Personally, I don't believe that this is Neal Stephenson's strongest work when compared to genre-defining masterpieces like Snow Crash and The Diamond Age. That doesn't mean that its a bad book by any means. Instead of taking place 40 or 100 years in the future, it takes place two. Some of the events are plausible, but I found it harder to suspend my disbelief.
This was my first Neal Stephenson book and I LOVED it! Actually, I finished reading it yesterday and started listening to it again today. I cared about all the characters, even some of the jihadist bad guys. My favorite character was scrappy, brave Yuxia. And I'd like to read another book with Sokolov in it.
I loved the ride around the wilds of British Columbia and China and Malaysia. I loved the Forthright brothers, all quirky in their own way, and the way their families gather for Thanksgiving to shoot guns and spend time with the bedridden patriarch.
Mr. Stephenson has a fun sense of humor and also knows how to keep the action moving and build tension. A few parts were difficult to believe, but, hey, it's fiction.
I think Malcolm Hillgartner does a really good job with all the languages, but, like reviewer Patrick wrote, his Chinese accent sounded Tejano.
I've never been into gaming, but this book made me wish there was a T'rain that I could play.
Stephenson creates a complex set of characters and keeps the reader wondering what is next..and rooting for the lead characters. Starting in Iowa, driving/flying to Canada, exploding in Seattle and the really big bang in China...this book reminded me of the first of the Bourne series and its rich complex plots. A great read/listen
A major romp staged in the US, China, the Philippines, Canada and space in a computer game with Russians and Hungarians thrown in. This 74-year old computer guy found the story fascinating and the language used terrific and stimulating.