David's Reviews > Rainbows End

Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge
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's review
Aug 24, 2013

it was ok
bookshelves: science-fiction

This was a tough book to finish. I had to stop reading it for awhile and go to other books. I was that bored with it. If I didn't take a break, I would've just dropped it altogether.

So hear are some reasons why: First off, it got off to a slow start and plodded along for 250 pages before the plot really came together. Along the way, there were many technical bits Vinge threw at the reader that I didn't know if they were pertinent for the story or just window dressing. And the jargon he created didn't help to clarify matters at all.

The worst part was the characters. The protagonist was a JERK. He wasn't even a jerk you love to hate. He was a pompous jerk who was mean to his granddaughter. As much as the granddaughter was unlikable, I couldn't help but feel bad for her for the way he treated her. I suppose part of the reason why I came back to the book was to find out if the protagonist was going to redeem himself (I also wanted to find out who "rabbit"--probably the only intriguing character--was).

The book had a lot of minor characters who led us astray with all of their pieces of the plot, or subplots, that I had a difficult time figuring out who was worth paying attention to and who was just a sidekick.

So if you make it through those 250 pages, the story picks up as all the elements finally come together. But in the end, I couldn't tell you definitively what they were battling for. The sub-plot involving the SDSU library overshadowed the main plot! Vinge spent more time laying out the battle for control of the library (which was intended as a ruse) than he did for the reveal. After the climax, Vinge ties up a few loose ends but leaves the fate of the villain vague.

I'll give Vinge credit for fleshing out this near future version of our world. Plenty of the advances and cultural changes he brought up are plausible. But I think he overdid it. I think he created a story to fit the tech/culture change rather than the other way around. That doesn't make for enjoyable reading to me.

I really enjoyed reading A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky. After reading Rainbows End, I'm reluctant to delve into anything else by him for awhile.
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Reading Progress

August 24, 2013 – Shelved
August 24, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
December 17, 2013 – Started Reading
January 2, 2014 –
page 88
23.1% "Gee, this Robert Gu character is a jerk. And he's the protagonist?"
January 6, 2014 –
page 110
28.87%
January 14, 2014 –
page 138
36.22%
January 20, 2014 –
page 156
40.94%
January 26, 2014 –
page 171
44.88%
February 19, 2014 –
page 175
45.93%
March 5, 2014 –
page 178
46.72%
April 3, 2014 –
page 192
50.39%
April 4, 2014 –
page 208
54.59%
July 23, 2014 –
page 300
78.74%
July 28, 2014 – Finished Reading
July 30, 2014 – Shelved as: science-fiction

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