Customer Reviews for

Quicksilver (Baroque Cycle Series #1)

Average Rating 4
( 129 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(67)

4 Star

(31)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(10)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

people who rate this below a 4 don't get it.

Thusfar all the 'complaints' regarding this book are that it's too long, the dialog is too stiff, and that there's no plot. History doesn't have a plot. Life doesn't have a plot. This book is a portrait of what life was like in the 1600's. It's not a neatly packaged ...
Thusfar all the 'complaints' regarding this book are that it's too long, the dialog is too stiff, and that there's no plot. History doesn't have a plot. Life doesn't have a plot. This book is a portrait of what life was like in the 1600's. It's not a neatly packaged story with a clear beginning and ending. Think of the Baroque Cycle books as a history lesson with personality. If you don't like history, or don't care about how aspects of our lives came to pass, then this isn't the book for you. As for the 'passivity' of the characters in the story... in order to maintain the historical integrity of real world events the *fictional characters* kinda need to be passive. Daniel Waterhouse doesn't do anything of consequence because Daniel Waterhouse didn't really exist... what would you have him do? Invent something? Cure something? Kill someone? Daniel Waterhouse is the camera-man through which we can watch Neal Stephenson's retelling of real-world history. If you want pure fiction, look elsewhere. This is a masterfully disguised history lesson.

posted by Anonymous on December 1, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Stephenson has done much better

As a Stephenson fan, I opened this book with high hopes. Alas, they were quickly dashed. He shovels up mountainous descriptions of landscapes and architecture and period costumery, religious and political and scientific intrigues, but all to no purpose in advancing th...
As a Stephenson fan, I opened this book with high hopes. Alas, they were quickly dashed. He shovels up mountainous descriptions of landscapes and architecture and period costumery, religious and political and scientific intrigues, but all to no purpose in advancing the action. A second flaw is that he pastes much of this description into dialogue form, making conversations between the characters stilted and artificial. Stephenson is undeniably brilliant; but he needs to cut more and write tighter. What might have been a decent 400-page story unfortunately balloons to 900+ pages.

posted by Anonymous on February 28, 2005

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2006

    people who rate this below a 4 don't get it.

    Thusfar all the 'complaints' regarding this book are that it's too long, the dialog is too stiff, and that there's no plot. History doesn't have a plot. Life doesn't have a plot. This book is a portrait of what life was like in the 1600's. It's not a neatly packaged story with a clear beginning and ending. Think of the Baroque Cycle books as a history lesson with personality. If you don't like history, or don't care about how aspects of our lives came to pass, then this isn't the book for you. As for the 'passivity' of the characters in the story... in order to maintain the historical integrity of real world events the *fictional characters* kinda need to be passive. Daniel Waterhouse doesn't do anything of consequence because Daniel Waterhouse didn't really exist... what would you have him do? Invent something? Cure something? Kill someone? Daniel Waterhouse is the camera-man through which we can watch Neal Stephenson's retelling of real-world history. If you want pure fiction, look elsewhere. This is a masterfully disguised history lesson.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    On my all-time top 10 list

    Although this is fictional and staged during one of the greatest periods of scienctific discovery, it is not science fiction. The many historical characters act and perform as they did in their exciting times. Questioning everything, from science to religion to financial systems to governmental forms, the delightfully real and fictional characters live each day to learn, educating the reader at the same time. Lest this 1000 page volume 1 of the Baroque Trilogy sound daunting, rest assured that the creative inclusion of lovable scoundrels keep you laughing and wondering what mess is around the next corner. A sure bet for avid readers with scientific, financial, historical, or philosophical interests.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2011

    inflappably incredible

    this and its two sequels are the a great way to escape into a past that might have been with a touch here and there of 'hmmm' and a lot more hilarity. Go Neal Go

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2005

    Stephenson has done much better

    As a Stephenson fan, I opened this book with high hopes. Alas, they were quickly dashed. He shovels up mountainous descriptions of landscapes and architecture and period costumery, religious and political and scientific intrigues, but all to no purpose in advancing the action. A second flaw is that he pastes much of this description into dialogue form, making conversations between the characters stilted and artificial. Stephenson is undeniably brilliant; but he needs to cut more and write tighter. What might have been a decent 400-page story unfortunately balloons to 900+ pages.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 6, 2013

    WoW!

    I'm floored! At my age, I'm learning new vocabulary, more about the 1600's than I can believe, and can put down my Nook.

    Neal Stephenson will have my attention while I read all he has written.

    I recommend this book to all my friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    Wordy and boring

    This book is an utter waste of time for anyone wanting to read anything even slightly more interesting than a child's book of fables. An absolute waste of money; I wish I had bought the hard copy so I could at least have used it as a door stop or kindling.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    LIBRARY

    Here. Get a book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2013

    I will admit, the book starts slowly and it took me some time to

    I will admit, the book starts slowly and it took me some time to get into it.  Once I did, I was hooked.  This book was the first time I was so engrossed in my reading that I missed my stop on the bus.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    A very detailed work that accurately depicts life in 17th centur

    A very detailed work that accurately depicts life in 17th century Europe and North America. At times hard to follow as there seems to be no central story line other than following a variety of characters through a series of events. Regardless, Stephenson has put tremendous care and vividness to this book and time period.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2012

    A great read, although dense to get through, but incredibly accu

    A great read, although dense to get through, but incredibly accurate in its portrayal of society and life in Europe the 17th and 18th century.

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  • Posted July 5, 2012

    the story line follows a complete loser !!!

    the main story is about a man who roames around the earth, makes all the wrong decisions and he has no dick because of a veneral disease, this book sucks !

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2012

    Startling

    The author brings to life what may well be the most important decades of western civilisation

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2011

    Wow

    A must read!

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Warning

    If you're not into 17th century European history, this may not be for you.It took me a couple weeks to wade through this monster,and to what end? This is time I will not get back. Parts of it were humorous and interesting, but too many of its 1093 pages were just boring. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2011

    Gives me a headache just looking at the cover.

    I tried to read this book many years ago. As much as I loved Cryptonomicon I did not like Quicksilver. I finally had to give up. Years later it still bothers me. I am, however, going to put "REAMDE" on my wish list and give Neal Stephenson another try. Cryptonomicon was that good.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2009

    Not that good

    I read to about pg 700 and decided that there wasnt much story to it. I dont recommend it to anyone that wants and interesting, climatic book. The characters aren't that great and are forced into just about everything, even though it is historically accurate.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2008

    Interesting alternate to alternate history

    Modification to actual events in the process of delivering a subtle message about current events is difficult writing. Stephenson seems to be able to do this without much effort-thought provoking, but not a hard sell.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2005

    A Fantastic Epic

    It seems fair to say that this book would not have made a good movie. The plot has an infinite number of tangents, the pacing is meticulous, the dialogue and descriptions are mercilessly overwhelming, and the multitudes of characters, family trees, and titles of nobility are so extensive could easily go mad, or at least frustrated. That said, as a book¿no, as a novel¿better yet, as an epic, this is easily one of the greatest and most entertaining pieces of historical literature ever written. Far from being just a instructive illustration on seventeenth century Europe (a task which it fulfills accurately and entirely), this first volume of the Baroque Cycle is infused with the type of humor and wit that manages to poke fun at every misfortune of the social lives of its subjects, from the failures and absurdities of government, to the trials on the quest for knowledge, even to the universal paradox of dealing with women (especially concerning Shaftoe¿s infatuation with Eliza). While at times it can feel a little heavy and even mentally draining, Stephenson¿s prose presents even familiar subjects in a surprisingly inventive manner, managing to depict the times with instances of jargon and empiricism without losing the author¿s colloquial and always humorous tone. Be warned, this is no light read. Not to say that it is boring, for it is far from it. Rather, the book is so incredibly dense that even at their vast length, cramming close to a century¿s worth of European history into each volume must¿ve been a daunting task. For those who wish for a standard novel, complete with its formulaic plot, conflicts, climax, solution, etc., stay away. This book isn¿t that. It¿s more than that. Each of it¿s close to 1,000 pages is rich in humor, most of which is so subtle that failing to notice defeats the author¿s purpose: to present a single yet interesting period in history in the most entertaining and enjoyable fashion. You may feel intimidated and overwhelmed at first, but stay with it. Your high school history class was never this exciting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2004

    Alright

    This was okay...it gets kind of tedious but it is ok if you have a lot of free time. I think it isn't a complete waste of time, but it isn't all that great. I think all of N. Stephenson's other books were really good, though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2004

    i'm cycling away!

    never have i struggled so long and so fruitlessly to finish any book. the thought of two more to go makes my blood run cold. how can someone write over 2700 pages in which nothing exactly happens? the main character wanders through his scenes, observing and reporting on the action, but never exactly participating in anything that's going on. he's present at some remarkable events, but none of them seem to make any particular impression on him, or us. people spend pages telling you what happened elsewhere, although we don't get to go there to actually see for ourselves. if daniel waterhouse gets any more passive he won't have the energy to breathe. eliza is completely unbelievable. jack shaftoe, for whom i harbored hopes, as he at least seemed to have some energy beyond talking, talking, talking is irrational. i loved cryptonomicon, and i looked forward so eagerly to this trilogy. yes, it was an interesting time in history - if you like long discussions on obscure scientific topics and lots of stuffy englishmen jockeying for positions that don't seem to have much worth. do we ever get to know any of the great scientific minds that are supposedly the focus? well, no. why, why, why? i have to give up - there are books out there where things actually happen, they happen to the characters in the book, who are involving and interesting. it's like being locked in a room with zelig!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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