Katie M.'s Reviews > The Diamond Age

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
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's review
Feb 01, 09

bookshelves: steampunk, science-fiction
Recommended for: steampunks, sci-fi fans, humans
Read in January, 2009

This book is magnificent! Stephenson creates a richly developed future world, exploring both the scientific (nanotechnology) and social sides of things. There's a cool steampunk aesthetic from the substantial subset of society that has self-consciously adopted many of the trappings of the Victorian era. All of the worldbuilding could lead to an excess of dull explication, but Stephenson pulls it off with aplomb (it doesn't hurt that I, raised on Tolkien, always have a strong appetite for details of imaginary worlds.)

The Diamond Age is a complex yarn following a large cast over many years, with a book within the book (and further stories within that inner book). Make no mistake, though: for all its density, this is a page-turner! I found myself fretting about what was going to happen to the characters whenever I was away from the book. It's a story about how to raise extraordinary children, about crossing the boundaries of society, about overcoming hardship, about the interface between Western and Eastern cultures, about what it means to be a child's mother, and above all it's a coming of age story. Just about my only criticism is that I didn't feel the ending worked quite as well as the early and middle parts of the book. Overall, though, I highly recommend this book. I fully anticipate reading it again in a few years.
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