Stephenson once again proves that he can write anything. Although this book is 180º from Anathem, which I loved, its manages to be just as good while being completely different in every way.
I've read a lot of books that use the premise of a Fantasy RPG somehow gaining real world significance but this book shows how you don't need the Matrix or a killer rogue AI to do this, MMORPGs already have real world significance, namely Gold Farming, the practice of accumulating in game gold and selling it for real world money. There is no magic technology at work in this book, just common everyday tech that kicks off a crazy sequence of events.
Of course, it doesn't end there. By the second download the story has chinese hackers, russian mafia, british spies and muslim terrorists all mixing in some of the most violent and intricately written action scenes I've ever read and reminiscent of Quentin tarrintino movies.
The twists this book take are amazing, you never know when a mundane "character" scene is going to literal explode into a murder, plane crash or gun battle.
Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest this story was fun to follow. I love Stephenson's writing style, and while this may not fall into the "sci-fi" category it is still awesome, and there is plenty of geekiness to fill in the gaps. It is a very culturally relevant book and goes to the extreme to include pop culture references such as; hipsters, massive multiplayer online gaming, Facebook, Skype, terrorism, extremist fundamentalist Christianity, etc. At first I was worried about the book not being relevant in a few years, but I do believe it will be a book for historians to look back at when researching our time.
If you enjoy Stephenson's writing style, give it a try. At first I didn't care for the narrator but after their were many characters introduced, I was quite impressed, as I don't think I know anyone that could read that much of a book and come up with such different voices, the subtle difference between the Hungarian and the Russians. I loved Jones' voice and the Godlike voices while playing the game. The sassy girls voices were amusing, and properly annoying at the right times. At the end of the book I was very happy with the narration.
Great story. Believable characters. Long story, which I like but at times it got confusing. The individual plots were strong and I think Stephenson did a superb job tying it all together. It was great story. Worth the time.
The book was well read and the production qualities were good. But?????? The story was not good. I enjoyed the parts about gaming. They were possible. The rest of the story? Not so much.
The story itself was fairly creative and required an imaginative mind to set in down in writing. However, the writing itself was pedantic. Heavy use of passive voice, over reliance on adjectives and characters that didn't speak and act like normal people. It seemed as if the author was trying to impress his audience by his ability to turn simple words and phrases into complex ones. The narrator didn't help. He seemed to be mostly monotone throughout and had trouble changing his voice to indicate a different character.
Little inflection and unable to pull off character changes.
Incredulity that this author is highly rated and on the best selling list.
I decided to give this book ago after reading up on the book. It looked promising.
The book started well then went down hill very quickly.
I found it very drawn out and overly long - the layout of the story was also very confusing at times with too many paper thin charactors.
The plot seems to jump all over the place which made the book painful to listen to.
I really wanted to like this book but im sure it will now end up in my libary gathering dust.
The ideas were very good but i think the author just couldnt pull this one together as a thriller, infact its one of those books that you cannot help but let your mind wander making it even more confusing.
The reader done a good job with the material, if i was reading the wood pulp version im sure i would have quit it.
This book maybe good as a abridgement, as unabridged its around 30 hrs too long.
Okay, here's my impression for all the negative reviews of this book:
"This fictional book is so fake. I am a MMO programmer/player and this is so unbelieveable. I am gonna quit reading this fictional book because it's so fictional and I am going back to being an Elf Lord/Galactic Warrior in my totally believable computer game..."
GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK!
This is a GREAT story!!! This is the first book I have read from Stephenson and I enjoyed it tremendously. It has computer game parts and real world travel parts and Russian mobs and Jihad terrorist and survival extremist and families and even romance. The narrator did an AWESOME job at the various accents (Middle Eastern, English, American, Russian, and Chinese) and gender roles. I will have to get some other stories from this author and this narrator!!!!
Have you ever seen your chosen profession, hobby, or other general area of knowledge represented in popular media in a way that is just so off-base that you just couldn't take it? I am a video game designer and have been professionally since 1985. I know about video games, MMOs (massively multi-player online games) and the like. I play them and I've made a few. The setup that Stephenson describes for the game T’Rain bugged me so badly in how it was created, how its economy works, how it handles offline play, how players view it and interact with it and and and... I had to stop. Maybe if I had gotten over the hurdle of his chapters on the background, creation and running of the game I would have liked the actual story. I did like "Ready Player One" and that had some technical issues to, but I easily overlooked them in the course of the story. Reamde however spent way too much time going over and over these technical issues in a way that just left me with a really bad feeling and completely pulled me out of the story.
If you are a Stephenson fan, this feels like a solid Stephenson book. If you don't know what really goes into the sausage of a making an MMO you probably won't have the same reaction I did. So please take my review with a grain of salt.
My first Neal Stephenson book, and it's hard to imagine how I might have been more disappointed. Small groups of people inexplicably crossing paths all around the world, endless gun fights with dozens of fatalities (except for any character important enough to have a name). I nearly stopped listening for good when a heroine and Middle Eastern Terrorist meet at gunpoint in the woods- only to have a wild animal come out of the woods during a critical seconds to attack the villain... and this absurdity repeats more than once. As far as the "connection" between the techno-MMRPG and the runaway "24" style terrorism plot... there actually isn't really any. I've give positive reviews to nearly every book I've ever listened too... couldn't force it on this one. REAMDE = Really Not Good.