I loved this book and Neil Stephenson, however, I do not love all of his books. Recently, I have had frustrations with Anathem and the books he has written with other authors. I much prefer it when he is the sole author. This is not science fiction but it is much more in line with Snow Crash or Cryptonomicon in detail of knowledge and style. Stephenson does a fabulous job in communicating and understanding the gaming world (not that I am an expert but those I know and other reviewers have stated it is).
Malcolm Hilgartner does a wonderful job with the narration. He did well with the accents, and in my opinion did very well doing female voices.
If you like Stephenson and if you enjoy a suspense novel you will enjoy this book. It was a relief to read this book. I was hesitant after Anathem and Mongoloid, as I mentioned above. If you are hestitant, like I was, don't skip Reamde. It really is great.
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On the topic of fiction novels where a large part of a book is set within a computer game, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and Reamde by Neal Stephenson come to mind readily. As opposed to the (near) futuristic dystopia in which Ready Player One is set, the backdrop to Reamde is a very realistic present. The lion’s share of Ready Player One takes place within the virtual reality of a computer quest-like game. In Reamde, the percentage of the story that takes place within the World-of-Warcraft-like game called T’Rain is significantly smaller. From here the differences between the two books just grows wider. In the end, it is greatly unfair to even try to compare the two books.
It is difficult for me to pen down just how much I enjoyed the Audible audiobook version of Reamde. It may just be the most entertaining and gratifying Techno-Thriller I have ever read/listened to. As this is the first book by Mr. Stephenson I have had the pleasure to consume, I can only really comment on this book as it is, having no reference in terms of his other books.
Despite being classified as a Techno-Thriller, the narration is unbelievably funny at times. There is one scene involving the Fantasy writers of the background to T’Rain referred to the ‘Apostropocalypse’ which had me crying with laughter.
The book is also about girl-power. Zula Forthrast is one of the most quick-witted protagonists one can hope to encounter in a book. The supporting characters of Olivia Halifax-Lin and Xian Yuxia positively delights.
The male characters, more specifically the “good guys” (sometimes the lines between good guys & bad guys gets a bit blurry, especially in the case of Solokov) are easy to relate to, with all their heroism and all of their fallibilities.
The book is long, VERY detailed and yet very fast-paced. I listened to it on the plane, in the car, in bed before I go to sleep, first thing when I woke up, whilst I washed dishes etc.
The matter of fact tone of the narration by Malcolm Hillgartner suits the story fantastically. His accents runs from good (British) to bad (Scottish) but it is much better than I can do and still gets 100% for effort.
His portrayal of Donald "D-Sqared" Donaldson
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
I am trying to capture the audio equivalent to a page-turner, so I hope you get the idea.
Another great yarn from Stephenson and on that would make a Jackie Chan film plot look slow and uninteresting. I'd like to say it's well paced, but it's not - all furious action, so that the downtime between engagements seems barely to be punctuation.
Again, it has great characterisation. There are some very likable characters, both heroes and villans, and there is as complex a plot as one can reasonably expect. However, I found the pairings and the ending a bit too neat. If I was comparing it to his other works, I'd say the plot is not as clever as Cryptonomicom (hardly suprising, that) and the research is not as awesome (in the true sense of the word) as the Baroque Cycle, but I think it's a very good third place. This still puts it ahead of just about every other book in the same genre out there in my view. Overall I loved it!
As for the performance, I thought Malcolm Hilgartner did a superb job; as good as William Dufris in Crypto', and with as much range and at a rattling good pace.
I highly recommend it, but this time not only for history buffs. It's for the secret agent that lurks within each of us, too.
The start of this book was really slow. So slow, I almost gave up on it. But I'm really glad I didn't as it was ultimately a can't-put-it-down listen. I had to laugh at some of the more outrageous plot elements, but it was kind of like a James Bond film in that it's a good idea to just suspect your disbelief at the ridiculous. It wasn't a question of whether the good guys would win or not, but who would get the last shot (and which "red shirts" would bite the dust). It was exciting and fun and features the trademark strong female characters that are prominent in Stephenson's writing. Recommended.
The opposite of bravery is not cowardice but conformity. --Robert Anthony Contentment is, after all, simply refined indolence. --Thomas C.
I've enjoyed most of Neal Stephenson's books, but this one was my favorite of his recent ones. Anathem was good but dragged quite a bit and I never really got drawn into the characters. Crytonomicon was the last book of his that I really, really enjoyed, so I am happy to see a return to form here.
The story is sprawling and relentless and deeply enjoyable! I ended up staying up all night to finish it once I was nearing the last fourth. The characters pull you in and you can't help but grow to love them as they take off on their crazy adventure. Super enjoyable crazy adventure that seems just like the last half of Snow Crash but even more over the top.
One of my favorite scenes is when a few of the characters hit up a Cabelas to stock up on gear- their take on the store, and what they purchased and why is really funny.
A criticism you could easily make here is that coincidences pile on coincidences. Yes - this happens. Go with it. Stephenson ties it all up at the end, and it does work out.
Unlike many of his books, this is not a deep meditation on LIFE or CODE or LANGUAGE -at the same time, this book is not really shallow. He's moved from deep themes explorartion to character driven stories & this one is a fine novel that you will really enjoy.
The story was quite interesting, a novel combination of subjects, with some funny and interesting insights. Story was well read too. However, I think the book would have been much better at half the length, there is too much irrelevant detail, it detracts from the pace of the story. When the story reaches a certain level of tension, you don't want to hear about things that don't matter.
Prepare to clear you schedule for when you want to listen to the last five hours of the book. I literally couldn't stop listening to it and only slept two hours before getting up and going to class, but it was well worth it! My first Neal Stephenson book, and will be checking out more soon.
I admit it, I am addicted to World of Warcraft and this is what attracted me to this book. Reamde is most definitely a book for geeks BUT also for those who love spy thrillers, stories set in exotic locations, mysteries, big business stories and on and on. The plot twists were many but masterfully handled. I am in awe of the authors ability to keep control of the story line as it wends its way around the globe. The characters were well developed, and there were many to develop, but none came before its time.
If you like mysteries, thrillers, travel stories, computer lore, stories that help you see how another fellow thinks you will like Reamde.
Stephenson is a great storyteller, and like most of his books (I'm a committed fan) this one is a great romp. However, what sets him aside from the other prolific storytellers who reliably produce good, long novels is that is books tend to have some real intellectual substance, even when they don't take themselves too seriously. Such substance is missing from Reamde. I know that Anathem, my personal favorite, is not to everyone's taste--but even Snow Crash, Diamond Age, and Cryptonomicon all played with big ideas in a compelling and stimulating way. Reamde has great characters, fast-paced action, and surprising twists and turns--but the ideas are a bit thin on the ground.
Neal Stephenson does a fantastic job of sharing new and different perspectives. This novel has introduced me to the complexed world of multi-player gaming, the devotion and mindset of terrorist cell members, the mental patterns of the uber successful as well as the more common perspective of tactical military professionals.
Stephenson's witty and dry humor approaches without warning.
The story extends in the moments where you feel that a resolution is close at hand, giving us more bang for our buck.
I'm very impressed with the attention paid to important but commonly ignored facts of life such as hunger, ammunition, bodily functions etc.
A joy to hear.