Joseph Eckert's Reviews > Reamde

Reamde by Neal Stephenson
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Feb 13, 2012

it was amazing
Read in February, 2012

I see why this, Neal Stephenson's latest effort, is polarizing his fans and critics alike. It is both typical and atypical of his previous works, from Snow Crash to Quicksilver to Anathem, in that it tackles technology and big concepts and adds a dash (or more) of gunplay and exotic locales.

However, having read his other works, and appreciated them for what they are, I think Reamde is my favorite of Stephenson's efforts since Cryptonomicon. It's certainly easier to relate to, and more easily parsed, than Anathem. It could be that I can relate directly to many of the settings Stephenson uses in Reamde, having played World of Warcraft, lived in Iowa and Washington State and Canada, and having fired my fair share of guns.

Reamde is present day, the technology all exists, and it is a roller coaster of a ride. I grew to thoroughly like the characters and (and this is a prime deciding factor for me in determining just how much a novel's characters meant to me) I wanted to continue to read about their lives even after I finished the book.

It is also a meditation on unintended consequences. The actions we take in the world can have unexpected ramifications and take us, quite without warning, on epic adventures. Most of us will probably not find ourselves held hostage on a private jet by a Islamic terrorist, but you never know. This unexpected nature of life in general plays a central theme in Reamde, as does the interaction of characters who are suddenly thrust together in life altering circumstances.

In short: I loved Reamde. It kept me engaged and hooked throughout. I recognize and acknowledge the problems other readers have with the book, but I don't care: I loved it.
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