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.
I decided to listen to Reamde after being blown away by Snow Crash. Boy was that a mistake! I only got about 10 hrs into the book before having to abandon it all together. The book is too long for the subject matter, moves way too slowly, and really does not constitute "science fiction" (at least based on what I struggled through ).
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not normally a fan of cyberpunk novels and tend to prefer hard sci-fi. Snow Crash was amazing because it crossed both genres and did an excellent job with each. Not true with Reamde. I probably won't listen to any more NS novels after this experience....
I've read most of Mr. Stephenson's work, and would consider myself a fan. I really liked the first 2/3 of the book, but felt like the final bit was kind of contrived. The book moved with real kinetic energy, but the set-up for the final scene and the way he tried to bring all of the characters back together just didn't work for me. I understood the reason for it, but while the first parts of the book felt like something that could really happen, I found myself having to increase my suspension of disbelief as it wound up.
It's still a very enjoyable read and I'd recommend it, but it ain't the Baroque Cycle.
From his other books I have come to expect something better from Neal Stephenson. His works are usually presenting very interesting ideas; scientific and philosophical integrated into an interesting plot. This book started out this way but before is was a quarter over, it descended into a long, tedious action story that reminded me of watching a marathon full season of "24" (Fox). I finished it to see what was going to happen to the individuals but had to slog through too much running around and shooting jihadi's all around the pacific coast. The new idea part had mostly to do with a World of Warcraft style game and what kind of business consequences it was having.
I was disappointed.
The reader did a good job.
The writing is simply bad. This is not because it lacks style, imagination, or information. It is bad because the author loves simile and owns a rather thick thesaurus. The end result are descriptions that include off the wall personification and ridiculous dark and foreboding cumulous cloud word phrases (I really can’t do that as good – or bad – as the author). I own many audio books – and this is only the second I have ever counted as a loss and turned off.P.S. – The story, as far as I heard, was unrealistic at its core.
As is common when a book is read, the narrator really needed to ask for advice on how to pronounce a few of the technical words. I can forgive SQL (pronounced sequel) but there were a few that were doozies. I guess they need a better editor?
Perspective provides a Particular Point of View
Stephenson has done it again; an exciting story, with a very interesting basis.
Mr. Hillgartner's performance, and putting accents to different characters made the entire story extremely pleasurable. One of the best performances I've ever listened to.
A very long book, but couldn't wait to get to the next listening session.