Author: Neal Stephenson
Recommend: Not worth the time it takes to get through.
I had been very interested to read something by this author. The size of his books and the relative popularity in the science fiction/fantasy world had made me want to pick up one of his books but had never gotten there until I saw this one sitting on the new reads shelf at the library.
This book tells the story of how a computer virus can go completely wrong and spiral into an international incident. Zula’s boyfriend Peter gets mixed up in credit card fraud and sells some credit card numbers and information to the Russian mafia. However, information gets highjacked by a very intelligent kid in a computer game called T’rain, something similar to World of Warcraft. The mafia takes Zula and her boyfriend to China to retrieve the stolen data and attack the hacker. They accidentally attack the wrong apartment, filled with Muslim extremists. The Muslim extremists kidnap Zula and take her from China back to Canada, where they decide to hold her as bait for her uncle, the creator of T’rain and a former drug smuggler. Instead of the paragraph I used, the author took over 1000 pages to tell the story.
I normally have no problem reading long books. I like a good story with complex characters and story lines. This book however was just far too long drawn out for the story it told. The story was, at it’s heart rather simple and the amount of time the author took to tell it was far too long. There were so many points where the action just stopped as the author gave the reader trivial information that did little to enhance the storyline or give interesting background information. Even the climax of the book lost integrity because it was lasting just far too long and coming from too many perspectives. Normally I’m all for giving lots of points of view and telling the story completely but this was too much to keep track of and keep it moving. It took me almost a week to get through this one simply because I found reading it extremely dull.
I think if the author had taken 300-500 pages to write this story it would have been much more interesting and engaging. The extreme length of this book made it not worth the effort it took to get through it. I would not recommend wasting your time on something this long and poorly executed.