In 1972, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa farming clan, fled to the mountains of British Columbia to avoid the draft. A skilled hunting guide, he eventually amassed a fortune by smuggling marijuana across the border between Canada and Idaho. As the years passed, Richard went straight and returned to the States after the U.S. government granted amnesty to draft dodgers. He parlayed his wealth into an empire and developed a remote resort in which he lives. He also created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game with millions of fans around the world.
But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.
Racing around the globe from the Pacific Northwest to China to the wilds of northern Idaho and points in between, Reamde is a swift-paced thriller that traverses worlds virtual and real. Filled with unexpected twists and turns in which unforgettable villains and unlikely heroes face off in a battle for survival, it is a brilliant refraction of the 21st century, from the global war on terror to social media, computer hackers to mobsters, entrepreneurs to religious fundamentalists. Above all, Reamde is an enthralling human story - an entertaining and epic pause-resister from the extraordinary Neal Stephenson.
©2011 Neal Stephenson (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
“Stephenson...delivers a sprawling thriller that shows him in complete control of his story.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Noir futurist Stephenson returns to cyberia with this fast-moving though sprawling techno-thriller...Who’ll prevail? We don’t know till the very end, thanks to Stephenson’s knife-sharp skills as a storyteller. An intriguing yarn—most geeky, and full of satisfying mayhem.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
“Sometimes when you’re reading Neal Stephenson, he doesn’t just seem like one of the best novelists writing in English right now; he seems like the only one.” (Lev Grossman, Time)
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.
If two thirds of it had been left on the editing floor it could have been a good story, but it was so long, so convoluted, so repetitive and ultimately so tedious it kept putting me to sleep. Eventually I forgot what the heck was going on and who was doing what, then forgot I was meant to be listening and eventually just fizzled out and gave up. Only the second book I've ever given up on.
Really quite hard to fathom why so many thousands of unnecessary words were written about so many mundane details and why the author had the will to do it.
If you specifically absolutely love this genre and the longer it is the more you like it, then give it a go. If not, don't even think about it.
Wow. Was this really a book by Stephenson. I hope he goes back to his old style of writing. Trying to become Robert Ludlum is clearly a train wreck. The only thing that tops the poor story line is the narration. I actually think this was the worst attempt at narration that I have listened to. It was like finger nails on a chalkboard when he attempted any accent. His voice is more geared toward non-fiction. I will have to remember his name and stay away from any fiction books narrated by him.
Bottom line. Choose another author if you want espionage. I loved all of Stephenson's prior works. This is just not up to his level. A huge disappointment.
Enjoy the adventure
What I appreciated most about “Reamde” was a reoccurring theme that a person’s decisions have consequences on the lives of others. Neal Stephenson, author, seems to be saying “It’s not just about you and your issues”.
I also enjoyed the nonstop suspense - - well, after the 1st few hours. Yes, the book starts out slow.
The plot premise struck me as a bit ridiculous and caused me to lower my rating of “Reamde”. The book centers around an On-Line Game, Russian Criminals living in Canada and Middle Eastern Terrorists on a Jihad.
I became a Neal Stephenson fan with Cryptonomicon, but Reamde blew me away. This is an outstanding storyline that will keep your headphones in your ears from start to finish.
A hunt for the source of a computer virus that infects a computer game (and a game that has somehow achieved Facebook popularity?) merging into an international terrorist plot-without-a-target via a circuit breaker? Come on...
Stuck with one plot.
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