About 100 pages into "Islands in the Net", I was extremely interested in what was happening. By the time I got to the end of the book (around page 400), I was reading only because I had already invested so much time. It's difficult to express exactly what went wrong with this book, but there are a few flaws that stand out in my mind : #1) The length. I'm not afraid of reading longer texts, but does this story really justify 400 pages? It seems like Sterling doesn't understand what is important to the progress of the story and what is simply clutter. Many scenes/locales have far too many pages and words dedicated to them. It's obvious that Sterling is good at putting a scene into words, but brevity is the soul of wit (or interesting prose. Notably, the ending was rushed and weak for a book as long as this is. #2) The characterization is generally weak. I found myself caring more about Sticky, the dying girl, Winston Stubbs and David (all relatively minor characters) than I did about the protaganist. Laura seemed to be more of a vehicle for the background story than the compelling character that Sterling seems to want her to be. If I'm going to be reading a person's inner dialouge for 400 pages, she better be interesting. #3) The "resolution" of the story is not a resolution in any way. I reached the end of the book with the feeling that I had just wasted my time reading 400 pointless pages. Nothing is really different at the end of the book than at the beginning. The same people are in control, the same stupid games are being played and none of the "action" really makes any difference. In conclusion, I thought that this book was better than many books out there, but ultimately a failure. Sterling touches on a number of interesting ideas, locales and characters but fails to bring them together into a book that serves as anything more than entertainment. The unfortunate pacing, however, severely diminishes the entertainment value.
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