Customer Reviews


159 Reviews
5 star:
 (56)
4 star:
 (38)
3 star:
 (32)
2 star:
 (22)
1 star:
 (11)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very American tale.
The Forthrast Family - A typical American family? Probably not. Richard "Dodge" Forthrast, ex-small time drug runner, haunted by the Furious Muses (echoes of his previous girlfriends), now the owner of T'Rain, the world's most successful online game; his younger brother Jacob "Jake" Forthrast, a born again Christian and Survivalist; his elder brother John Forthrast,...
Published on 15 Aug 2011 by S. Horrigan

versus
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars In need of firmer editing
As with all of Neal Stepehnson's novels from Cryptonomicon onwards, this book deserved to experience better editing than it received. Overly long, and sprawling across continents, seemingly disparate story lines slowly converge before a dramatic denouement in which the 'good guys' are assisted by some remarkable coincidences which would have been acceptable in a Dickens...
Published 19 months ago by Spodder


‹ Previous | 1 216 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars In need of firmer editing, 3 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Reamde (Kindle Edition)
As with all of Neal Stepehnson's novels from Cryptonomicon onwards, this book deserved to experience better editing than it received. Overly long, and sprawling across continents, seemingly disparate story lines slowly converge before a dramatic denouement in which the 'good guys' are assisted by some remarkable coincidences which would have been acceptable in a Dickens serial, but feel overworked and an attempt to get the plot over the line in a modern work of fiction. Character development is fairly non-existent, from the capable young woman to the hard-bitten, former special forces soldier, any one character from this novel can easily be cut out from one of Stephenson's other more recent works and transplanted with a mere name change to this one. Read and enjoy if you would like more of the same, but avoid if you'd like something different from a formerly very original author.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great start, dreadful ending, 22 Aug 2012
This review is from: Reamde (Paperback)
This for me was a 5 star book for the first 600 pages, 4-star for the next 200 pages, and then the last part rapidly degenerated into a confoundingly drawn out and highly improbable non-stop action finale, with ridiculous amounts of unnecessary and uninteresting details, as all the book's heroes and villains managed, miraculously, to converge from all over the world onto one spot where they could fight it out amongst themselves (and others) whilst endlessly scrambling up and down mountain paths in a cloud of bullets and blood.

And yet the first section of the book is a finely balanced and well-paced thriller. Inspiring stuff that had me staying up into the small hours not just reading but also investigating Google maps in order to find out more about some of the areas Stephenson was describing in the story.

Such a pity that an otherwise great read became a long drawn out struggle to finish the book - I found myself "speed-reading" through the final 50 or so interminable pages of tiresome forest combat in order to reach the predictable happy ending and move on to something better to read. I only wish I had paid a bit more attention to some of the other reviews here before choosing this particular book as an introduction to Neal Stephenson.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good effort for any other author, from Neal Stephenson it was lacking something......, 20 Dec 2011
This review is from: Reamde (Hardcover)
I have been almost worshipfully keen on Neal Stephensons work since I first came in contact with "The Diamond Age", and worked my way through his list. Each piece was differently brilliant, managed to give penetrating insight to arcane areas of the human experience, with amazing characterisation, and a delivery that spanned from techno-fetishism to humour......so it was with Great Anticipation that I discovered that another title was out.
The sad truth is that "Reamde" was ok, but something was missing. The choice to create a straight thriller resulted in a lot of back to back action sequences (which he's always been good at, don't get me wrong) which ended up just feeling a bit tired by the end. The magic just wasn't there, and I know that it'll stay on my shelf for years, while the others get taken out and re-read and lent out to people enthusiastically.

It feels like sacreliege, but I just didn't love it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read if you're a fan and have a lot of free time., 29 Nov 2012
This review is from: Reamde (Kindle Edition)
Not up to Neal Stephenson's usual high standards. Rather long and indifferently written. Still readable with some good bits, and the usual characters. But too long. I felt that Anathem was below standard, but this has dropped another level. Reminds me of hollywood movies.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 2 Nov 2012
This review is from: Reamde (Paperback)
I am a massive Neal Stephenson fan. Cryptonomicon and Snow crash rate as my favourite books of all time. This book was described as a return to that form, but it really isn't. It's a pretty straightforward thriller - I guess it would be a good effort from another author. I felt that the characters had no depth, the plot was contrived, it didn't have anything clever or different about it, and I ended up skim reading to get to the end. Maybe I missed something, but I was disappointed (and went back and re-read cryptonomicon instead!)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For Snowcrash fans - good; For Anathem fans - letdown, 17 Oct 2011
By 
This review is from: Reamde (Hardcover)
If you enjoyed Stephenson in Snow Crash best, especially the action scenes, this might be for you. If you enjoyed Cryptonomicon or Anathem, especially for the ideas, this is not going to satisfy you. Too little original ideas, too much action. After the first 50 pages of the first shootout, I realized I was bored and quickly turned the next 50 pages to find the shootout was finally almost over and I do not think I missed much. Some folks were still alive, the ones not mentioned any more I guess were shot or blown up or eaten by cougars, but I did not care about them anyway.

I commend Stephenson for his research, though. As someone from Hungary, I even found Csongor's background story more or less believeable. Pronounce "Cs" as "Ch" in children.

I read Cryptonomicon, Anathem, and even the Baroque Cycle twice. As I will not re-read this, can someone please tell me, was the poor chopper pilot finally saved?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very American tale., 15 Aug 2011
By 
S. Horrigan "Shaun" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Reamde (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Forthrast Family - A typical American family? Probably not. Richard "Dodge" Forthrast, ex-small time drug runner, haunted by the Furious Muses (echoes of his previous girlfriends), now the owner of T'Rain, the world's most successful online game; his younger brother Jacob "Jake" Forthrast, a born again Christian and Survivalist; his elder brother John Forthrast, Vietnam veteran with two high-tech artificial legs; his sister Patricia, killed by a bolt of lightning, and his adopted niece Zula Forthrast who walked to Sudan from Eritrea to escape a war.

Normal they might not be, but when Zula is kidnapped by the Russian Mafia after her boyfriend failed to deliver on a dodgy deal, they react as any family would and pull together to try and find a way to rescue her.

This book is enormous! It is 1000 pages long and none of that is filler. What this length of story delivers is a tremendous and detailed back story for all of the vast array of characters, from the Forthrast family, to Abdullah Jones, the enigmatic Welsh Jihadist, to Marlon, a Chinese gold farmer turned virus writer and many many more.

This book is also a very American story. The Forthrast family may not be an ordinary family, and even though a lot of unusual things happen to them, these events are often contrasted with the more ordinary side of American life, including things like shopping at Walmart, RVs, Starbucks, family reunions, Thanksgiving, gunshops etc. At some points in the story I felt I saw some flashes of the writing of that master of the bizarre American story, Thomas Pynchon - but in a much more accessible and readable form.

The story features believable and beautifully developed characters, fast action, a superb plot, a brilliant ending, and even some tongue in cheek humour (A Legendary Deluxe Platinum Collectors Edition of T'Rain - complete with Bonus Material, anyone?) I haven't even mentioned the computer virus from which this book takes its name! There really are stories within stories within stories!

You can probably tell I really enjoyed this book, but I should probably confess to being a huge fan of Neal Stephenson. I have all his books including the wonderful Cryptonomicon, and my own personal favourite The Diamond Age, so this book would have had to have tried very hard for me not to like it. It is different to his other work though and is easily his most accessible book to date. The world in which this story is set is not a world of historical events, science fiction or fantasy (other than the elements surrounding the online game T'Rain), it is simply our contemporary world.

Overall - 5 stars! You will invest a considerable amount of time in reading this book. It took me two weeks to finish it - but I have to say that this was time very well spent indeed!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bloated., 23 Nov 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Reamde: A Novel (Paperback)
This book needs editing. It's 1000 pages long. It has a good plot - this book would have been very exciting at 250-300 pages.
But it's 1000 pages long... and it's no Cryptonomicon. A shortage of ideas (though the few ideas in the book are interesting), characters that don't develop, environments that often fail to come to life.
It's way too long. Not as good as Quicksilver, not even as good as Anathem. In fact, I really struggled hard to finish it - I just kept falling asleep. Not because it's bad - it's not bad - it just goes on for ever. And it doesn't need to. It's a thriller, at heart. I've never had any problem with Neal Stephenson's books before. Prior to this, he was just about my favourite author. This one drags.
It's no Diamond Age - it's way, way too long.
It really goes on.
And on. Page after page of it. Did I mention that it's 1000 pages long? and not in a good way?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is a book or a film script?, 23 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Reamde (Kindle Edition)
This is another big fat book from Neal Stephenson. I'm a fan, having enjoyed every book so far but unfortunately not this one.

A very interesting take on the relationship between a World of Warcraft clone (don't worry you need only to know such things exist!), its money earning potential, and the dabbling in a get rich quick scheme which accessed international crime with deadly results, rapidly bloated into an exhausting and almost never-ending chase movie, courtesy of a terrorist cell being attacked in the mistaken belief that it was the bunch of criminals using the game to scam loads of money. Amateurs, criminals, and mercenaries blundered about; slightly rogue US and UK spies did their own thing to a large extent, and gun-toting independents in the woodlands of NW USA blasted a bloody conclusion. The whole was cast with barely believable characters from the US, Europe and Asia, with new ones appearing as fast as they were knocked down, and there were tackily obvious love interests with equally obvious conclusions that would have warmed the frozen heart of any bean-counting Hollywood producer. Frankly, I was bored and exhausted by the end, and at no point cared about any of the characters. It would make a fast moving and violent mini-series - perhaps that's what the author is trying to get into?

This was writing by numbers - throw in enough characters and crises and you're going to appeal to enough people enough of the time I suppose. The only reason I finished it was a perverse desire to see what ludicrous schemes were used to resolve the plot.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chain Reaction, 30 Jun 2012
This review is from: Reamde (Hardcover)
Neal Stephenson's "Readme" was published on September 20th, 2011. I don't know if it was intentional to publish it in anniversary month of 911, but given the international terrorism element of the story it is somehow fitting. "Readme" is a large book, with a story which arcs from a computer virus which extorts gold in a computer game (which can be turned into money in the real world) to the Russia Mafia, to international terrorism, but the core of it all is the relationship between Richard Forthrast and his adopted niece Zula.

Given that the title of the book refers to a computer virus, one would expect that the virus and the game that it involves would play a more central role to the story than it actually does. Not to say that the Reamde virus isn't important to the story, quite the contrary, it is the virus which sets off the entire chain of events. Stephenson clearly spent a lot of time coming up with the concept of the virus, and the computer game it uses to extort funds from those infected, and the early part of the book incorporates the discussion of the game, and its underlying premise. The strategy behind the development of the game is told in some detail, and is important to the character development of Richard.

The virus works by encrypting the user's data, and informing the user that to release the data they must deliver a certain amount of gold (in the computer game) to a specific location. Where it goes wrong is when Zula's boyfriend has promised some data to a buyer, but then cannot deliver because his data stick has become encrypted by the virus. It then turns out that the person interested in the data is a member of the Russian mafia, which results in an attempt to find the programmer who created the virus. The story then heads to Xiamen, China to bring in the hackers, but as they attempt to capture the hackers, Zula's attempt to warn them results in the involvement of some Islamic terrorists, who just happen to be in the same building. The chain reaction doesn't stop there though, as the terrorists, led by Abdullah Jones, a black Welshmen who also is being tracked by MI6, manage to take Zula as a hostage.

The Islamic terrorism plot dominates the story the rest of the way, and of course it all comes back to an attempt by the terrorists to get back into the U.S. from Canada by using Zula's rich uncle. In my opinion, this is unfortunate, because the terrorism plot was the least interesting to me, and outside of the Abdullah Jones character I found it to be rather cliché. Most, if not all, of the terrorists are two-dimensional characterizations, while the characters in China, and those associated with the Russian Mafia were much more interesting, as was the concept of the game and the virus.

The end result is that this is a solid book, and it will keep the reader entertained, but my personal rating can't go above three stars. Even Stephenson's books which are not at his peak are well worth reading, and this one is no exception. There are many great characters in this book, though I thought that it was a bit unrealistic how much everyone (except for the two-dimensional stereotypical terrorist characters) were so entranced by Zula to be a bit over the top. Because I wasn't that interested in another "terrorist" story, I thought that the story dragged for a substantial section, but for those who want that type of story it may not be an issue.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 216 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Reamde
Reamde by Neal Stephenson
4.19
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews