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Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cyber thriller with well written characters, 27 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Reamde (Hardcover)
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This was my first Neal Stephenson novel, and although I note that others have said this one isn't his best, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although it's over a thousand pages long, Stephenson manages to maintain a cracking pace throughout.

There is a lot of backstory about the characters, particularly Richard Forthrast and the Forthrast family, but this didn't seem to slow the book down too much. Most of it was interesting to read, and I liked the way the backstory added some colour to his characters. Perhaps the female characters were all a bit too much like female versions of James Bond, but at least they were all different nationalities, with different backgrounds!

This is a very American novel - the Forthrast family highlighted lots of aspects of a very American way of life, and the descriptions of the mountains, road travel, and Richard's ski resort, added colour to the novel. For a non-American, they gave the book an air of reality that it needed to keep it grounded, as well as providing an interesting setting. Parts of the book also took place in China. There were some fascinating descriptions here too - although I didn't find they drew the reader in with the same sense of actually being there. Perhaps that's inevitable for a Western reader. Stephenson can describe action in the online world just as well as in the real world, and that brings me to my only real disappointment with the book. I thought initially that the book was going to be about conflicts between the two worlds of T'Rain and real life, but about half way through, the world of T'Rain got sidelined. I appreciate the real life action is easier to sustain, but somehow, based on what I'd heard about Stephenson, I was expecting more cyberpunk and less real life. It was hard to be disappointed for long though, as the rest of the book was still a good read.
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Location: Wolverhampton, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,356