September 20, 2011
Some books are sprints, quick easy reads that take the breath away. Others are long distant runs; more complicated, with timing, spacing and strategy integral to crossing the finish line with a specific goal in mind. Reamde by Neal Stephenson is a true long-distance marathon. It is a performance, obviously backed by long practice and training. It is gut wrenching, breath-taking, and ultimately exhilarating. While it is not Science-Fiction in the traditional sense, Reamde is more of a thriller, it tackles elements of near-future business, social media, and Internet gaming aspects and manages to add elements of an international thriller that spans the globe and includes kidnapping, hackers, Islamic extremists, Russian Mafia, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMO), murder, spies, action, adventure, and intrigue. While not his normal bill-of-fare Reamde is still a very accessible read and should be enjoyed by present fans as well as action-adventure, tech thriller, and murder mystery enthusiasts. With Reamde Stephenson should gather in an entirely new and pleased audience. I wish him well.
Many established fans may not enjoy this work as well as some of Stephenson’s others but Reamde is a high-quality novel. Strong characters, a good plot, interesting locations, and pages of tense action make this a very enjoyable read.
4 stars out of 5