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)
I am a audiobook addict. And as such I usually look for long books but this book was so long it intimidated even me for a while. It started a little slow and that worried me in a book that is this long. But once the scene was set and the audience understood the premise of online roleplaying games (I needed the education myself) this book took off and never really let you rest. Stick with this read it is worth it!
Overall, a good story. The description is a little misleading in that I expected a novel more about virtual reality worlds along the lines of "Ready, Player One." This book really is more of a mix of action thriller and espionage book with a large helping of international intrigue and terrorism. The biggest complaint is that Stephenson gets far too detailed in places. Sometimes this detail is welcome and adds to the story but in many other places the detail is tedious, leaving you thinking, "just get on with it." Along this line, some authors need to learn when to stop writing and move on or wrap up a story arc. I sometimes wondered if Stephenson had some target page count he was trying to reach. That all being said, this was definitely a "four star" story but the excessive detail causes me to mark it down slightly to "three and a half" stars.
This is by far the best novel I've listened to in the last decade of premium membership with Audible. The story is as good or better than Neal's "Snow Crash" and reminds me a little of the 80's and 90's works of Dean Koontz (before his preachy phase). I would heartily recommend this to anyone, although it falls into the thriller genre as much as anything. I was amazed that someone I thought of as a cyber-punk author could twist a modern epic as well as this. Some people think he relied too much on coincidence to bring about a stunning climax, but others believe that Fate will have out. This novel is a good example of the concept that events shape the man. For here, incredible events do shape the man and more so the woman.
The depth of characters and the depth of plot.
A single misstep marks the trek of a lifetime.
I like most of Stephenson's books, so it probably shouldn't have been a surprise that this one rocked my socks. It is a ridiculously action packed book. And that may the one negative, the action goes on for so long and to such lengths that it loses some of its credibility.
Its was an absolute blast though, and the virtual pages kept turning. The narrator does a great job of keeping all the characters distinct. It comes very highly recommended.
The convergence of the various story lines and the action.
Ready Player One and Bourne. To be perfectly honest, if you are interested in the book because of the MMO elements, then you'll be slightly disappointed. Unlike Ready Player One, the MMO takes mostly a backseat to the story only showing as a plot point at various times. However, unlike Ready Player One, it doesn't matter because the stories are so intense that it doesn't really matter. While I would liked to have more MMO, I think the book was great as it is. The thriller parts are simply unexpected in its awesome. The convergence in the story were enjoyable and also believable. You won't find Deus Ex Machina in the story as every event is believable as much as thriller or story can be.
The performance of Malcolm was excellent, truly unbelievable. He was able to create a personality for each character that you knew which character was speaking. He did the female voices as well as a man can do and was distinct enough that it didn't draw you out of the story. The various accents that were done were awesome, it really bought out the humor of the characters. I would listen to Malcolm in the future and I hope he does more books in the future.
It made me laugh quite a few times and there were some sad parts.
I am probably not going to listen to it again simply because of the length and the over abundance of detail. That is NOT to say, however, that I won't recommend it to other listeners who like this genre. Overall I really loved the story.
One of the things I loved best about Reamde is how all the characters worked together to get to the very satisfying end of the book. So I really do love them all. I did, however, think the romances were a bit contrived and unnecessary.
I loved his performance. No, the accents weren't perfect but I like a reader who helps me keep up with the characters and he did that very well.
Absolutely not! But I don't consider that a bad thing. This was a book that I wanted to listen to when I could give it my complete attention, which to me praise for a book rather than the other way around.
Reamde was a wonderful book written by a wonderful author. That being said I had a very hard time getting through the book. The level of detail was sometimes very necessary, and othertimes just tedious to the point of distraction. It did take me several weeks to get through the book because it felt very heavy. Again, that's not necessarily bad, but depending on what other things I was doing at the time I would choose other books to listen to rather than this one.
I absolutely would recommend this book to other Neal Stephenson fans and anyone else who likes a well thought out, detailed story.
This was the first audiobook I had ever listened to and it was great!
The story was ever evolving. I couldn't wait to get back into my car to continue the story. It kept me on my toes with the twist and turns the story took.
The audio was great and the way the narrator can can shift his voice to mimic a Russian accent, a Boston accent, and even a British accent. It greatly improved the story and made you feel like you were acually overhearing the conversations had in the Book.
don't want to spoil anything.
Unreal! it is a must read/listen!
An unsocial freak living his life around audiobooks, the next best thing to under water blowdryers.
The whole story is interesting and how things flow into each other. The narrator is excellent with his accents and enhances each character. Yet he tends to have a boring voice after hours of listen but once you follow the story you get swallowed in again. This book is perfect for lazy days in the sun, you really need to focus to enjoy it. Dont multitask on it.
I've read a bit of Stephenson and enjoyed most - Snow Crash and Diamond Age in particular. I have about 11 hours to go on this one and it's a real chore to listen. If you enjoy listening to extreme details about the most trivial items it might be for you. It has been a very straightforward story and there just isn't anything to make it interesting to me. I see from the reviews that some people love it, so I suppose it is just a matter of taste. It is a lot more like Cryptonomicon and Anathema than Snow Crash or The Diamond Age. The biggest difference is that I liked the characters in Anathema but I won't care if everybody in Reamde dies - the sooner the better actually.
I really enjoyed this book. It was my second in this sort of sub genre behind Ready Player One (which was really great especially if you grew up in the 80's). But this book ended up being less about the video game world and more about how it was the catalyst for a string of events related to terrorism.
And though it dealt with terrosim it wasn't too heavy. You could actually enjoy it and the characters and laugh and root etc. It was a smidge longer than desired but I think because of the numerous international locations and related travel it kind of had to be that way to allow for the plot to develop.
I would recommend.
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