Jenny (Reading Envy)'s Reviews > Reamde

Reamde by Neal Stephenson
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bookshelves: read2011, sword-and-laser, sci-fi-fantasy

I know, I know. When Stephenson writes really smart, I get annoyed while I force myself to finish the book (Quicksilver). When he writes a (sometimes) action-packed crime novel full of terrorists and international espionage and virtual worlds (Reamde), I get stuck near page 100 or 200 and allow myself to be talked into pushing onward, and start regretting it around page 700, and feel annoyed when I finally finish.

Here's the thing. I like a fun crime novel. I read all the Stieg Larsson books. I like books about virtual worlds. But longer does not make something better. In fact, stretching this story out into twice the length necessary just made half of it skim-worthy and tedious. The ending didn't even really have one of those really great pay-offs that make crime novels worth it.

I'm not sure I can articulate the magic of Stephenson that I know can be experienced (Snow Crash). I just haven't seen it since. This is really more of a two star book using my rating system, but a few things redeemed it slightly such as the female characters.

I blogged an even longer review here.
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Reading Progress

September 15, 2011 – Shelved
October 5, 2011 – Started Reading
October 5, 2011 –
page 60
5.75%
October 9, 2011 –
page 160
15.33% "I'm not sure finishing would be worth it. It already feels sluggish and I don't care. Give me reasons to carry on!"
October 17, 2011 –
page 318
30.46%
October 17, 2011 –
page 318
30.46% "And we're on to a completely new character, we'll just leave everyone dangling from that window...."
October 19, 2011 –
page 402
38.51% "Okay the last 100 pages were pretty action-packed. Definitely not sci-fi though."
October 23, 2011 –
page 750
71.84% "My wrists hurt...."
October 24, 2011 –
page 907
86.88% "Trying not to skim it just to get to the end more quickly. :)"
October 24, 2011 – Shelved as: read2011
October 24, 2011 – Shelved as: sword-and-laser
October 24, 2011 – Shelved as: sci-fi-fantasy
October 24, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-22 of 22 (22 new)

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message 1: by Judy (new)

Judy When I first saw the title I thought it said "readme". :-)


Jenny (Reading Envy) Judy wrote: "When I first saw the title I thought it said "readme". :-)"

That is an important plot point, actually. :)


message 3: by Judy (new)

Judy You've got to be kidding?! How?


Jenny (Reading Envy) Computer virus... MMORPG... Gold mining..... International espionage....


message 5: by Judy (new)

Judy That is an interesting array of subjects...look forward to your review to see how they all connect.


Jenny (Reading Envy) Me too, if I make it that far. I'm kind of stalled at 160 and it is 1000 pages.


message 7: by Judy (new)

Judy Jenny wrote: "Me too, if I make it that far. I'm kind of stalled at 160 and it is 1000 pages."

Whoa! 1000 pages. (That reminds me I need to read another chapter of my almost-1000 page chunkster....)


message 8: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome The Baroque Cycle gets better around page 2000. j/k


terpkristin I'm amused that this review is so similar to mine. I felt the same way but rated it 2 stars. :)


message 10: by Charles (last edited Oct 27, 2011 09:13AM) (new) - added it

Charles Baker @Jenny, did you like Anathem or Cryptonomicon? Those are the only two of his HUGE tomes that I've been able to really get lost in and not find tedious. I keep telling myself I'm going to read the three Baroque Cycle books, I even got Quicksilver as a Christmas gift from LEB and the kids when it came out but I've not yet read them.


Jenny (Reading Envy) @terpkristin - The good female characters were worth an extra star to me.

@Charles - I did like Anathem, and have yet to try Cryptonomicon, but intend to.


message 12: by Ed (new) - added it

Ed Jenny wrote: "I'm not sure I can articulate the magic of Stephenson that I know can be experienced (Snow Crash). I just haven't seen it since."

Provocative statement there. For my money The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer is even better than Snow Crash. I have yet to read Cryptonomicon, Anathem, and the Baroque Cycle.


terpkristin I have to agree with Ed, I found The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer to be one of Stephenson's strongest.

While I loved Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle, I recognize that those aren't for everybody...and they carry a different weight than Snow Crash and The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer. I personally loathed Anathem, but I think that if it had been written as two books, I might have enjoyed the first of the two..


Matthew Minier I am both relieved and sad to see your comments. I read Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle earlier this year, and couldn't wait to start another Neal Stephenson book. Initially I thought I was missing something, but the deeper I go into Reamde the more disappointed I get. Can't wait to start something else.


Jenny (Reading Envy) Matthew- please don't be sad. I can be a brat when I don't like something that I expect to love. Please read Snow Crash!


Megan Larson jenny, your first paragraph is *exactly* my experience with this book. only i stopped reading at page 726 & could go no further. snow crash is one of my favorite books of all time. i knew it wouldn't be another snow crash but wanted it to be another cryptonomicon; it wasn't.


Jenny (Reading Envy) Megan wrote: "jenny, your first paragraph is *exactly* my experience with this book. only i stopped reading at page 726 & could go no further. snow crash is one of my favorite books of all time. i knew it wouldn..."
I've been listening to the audio of Snow Crash lately just to make myself feel better. :)


Jenny (Reading Envy) It wasn't the accidentally shooting guns thing, it was that they were clever, problem-solving, and calm.


Ravenna Your experience sounds identical to mine.


Jeremy Ha, I thought Reamde blew Snow Crash out of the water. Reamde's ending was imperfect, but Snow Crash's ending (i.e. the last 2/3 of the book) was godawful and such a letdown from the book promised by the first few chapters. It took me years to give Stephenson another chance with Anathem, which ended up being one of my all time favorites.


Jenny (Reading Envy) Jeremy wrote: "Ha, I thought Reamde blew Snow Crash out of the water. Reamde's ending was imperfect, but Snow Crash's ending (i.e. the last 2/3 of the book) was godawful and such a letdown from the book promised ..."
Funny how much opinions can differ. I did really enjoy Anathem, which I feel is underrated.


message 22: by Eden (new)

Eden Cane I agree with you Jenny. This book was a real test of persistence. I guess I can measure a book by how many times I zoned out during reading... in this book a lot (and hence a lot of backtracking) ... what a waste of time!


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