Customer Reviews for

Reamde

Average Rating 4
( 151 )
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5 Star

(75)

4 Star

(46)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Remember how some authors like to get paid for their work?

It's pretty crazy, but in this modern age some authors still expect to get money in exchange for writing a one thousand page book for you to enjoy. Scoundrels! Also, I'm about half way through the book and so far it's fantastic. Any Neal Stephenson fans reading this, ...
It's pretty crazy, but in this modern age some authors still expect to get money in exchange for writing a one thousand page book for you to enjoy. Scoundrels! Also, I'm about half way through the book and so far it's fantastic. Any Neal Stephenson fans reading this, it's well worth the 17 dollars(which is less then half the cover price and you can buy it from your couch at home without paying for shipping or having to wait for it to be shipped).

posted by 2345105 on September 23, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

A brick of machine code

REAMDE was a tipping point for me - I (finally) get the worth of ebooks - this 1000 page book is too heavy to comfortably hold and a bear to lug in a bookbag!

Stephenson, who has previously delighted with imaginative storytelling and enlightening, informative digres...
REAMDE was a tipping point for me - I (finally) get the worth of ebooks - this 1000 page book is too heavy to comfortably hold and a bear to lug in a bookbag!

Stephenson, who has previously delighted with imaginative storytelling and enlightening, informative digressions has phoned-in this slogging exercise written with machine code detail that hobbels the pacing of his story by highlighting every 'nail' that holds it together. This is a 400 page story suffering from egregious bloat. If you are imagining a parade of digressive delights bulk this story, like in CRYPTONOMICON, you will be disappointed.

In a story employing elements like a cuckoo Russian Mafia Lord, Jihadists, MMORPGs, a gang of Chinese computer virus-extortionists and a cute, punkish chinese street hustler, you might imagine this to be another of Stephenson's inspired romps. I did. Not this time.

I have one large bone to pick with his plotting. In the early pages of the story, a computer virus called REAMDE inadvertently fouls a sale of stolen financial computer files to a Russian Mobster. This is what sets the whole plot in motion. The Seller of the stolen info, his recent ex-Girlfriend and the go-between for the Mobster frantically try to pay the $73 USD ransom the REAMDE virus requires for it to supply a "key" to free-up the illicit files before the Mobster arrives from Canada.

So the plot hinges upon a $73 payoff to unlock precious data. But when the Mobster descends upon the trio, interrupting their efforts to acquire the REAMDE key, suddenly the payoff is forgotten in favor of everyone getting on a chartered jet to China to somehow find the malefactor who initiated the virus and kill him. So we're deciding here: do we pay the $73 or charter a jet and run off to China. Hummm...

Now in my mind, paying $73 bucks and waiting to see if they send a key that unlocks the virus is better than just running off to China to try and find some stranger running a low-ball viral shakedown. It's about getting the financial data unlocked - that's where the money is. While the Russian is painted as a bit unhinged, that doesn't cover "stupid," which, under these circumstances, seems like the pill we readers are being asked to swallow.

Think about it - if the virus-plotter didn't quickly release the keys to unlock the virus upon payment - THEN WHO WOULD PAY HIM? News that paying REAMDE's ransom didn't free virus-locked files would be posted on message boards and very quickly people would stop paying - so the efficient collection of ransom money and forwarding the "key" in return would be integral to the virus scheme's success.

Apart from this (and a few other insane co-incidences like an international terrorist cell living right upstairs from the REAMDE gang) Stephenson has meticulously worked out the details of his story. This novel is more Prius than Mini. Like a Prius, a lot of thought and intelligence has been focused on getting it all to work right, it's just the sum of all the effort is kind of dull.

posted by 5130059 on October 24, 2011

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  • Posted September 23, 2011

    Remember how some authors like to get paid for their work?

    It's pretty crazy, but in this modern age some authors still expect to get money in exchange for writing a one thousand page book for you to enjoy. Scoundrels! Also, I'm about half way through the book and so far it's fantastic. Any Neal Stephenson fans reading this, it's well worth the 17 dollars(which is less then half the cover price and you can buy it from your couch at home without paying for shipping or having to wait for it to be shipped).

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Worth the effort

    The size of this book is going to turn some people off. The depth of this book might do in some more, but it is exactly these things that keep Neal Stephenson fans coming back and spending a lot of time getting through them. When people see me carry this massive doorstop around (and seriously, this thing could be used as a murder weapon) they would inevitably ask me about it and the author. I would always start off by saying Stephenson writes science fiction, but then I would immediately backtrack. He writes fiction that is heavily involved with science, but not spaceships and aliens. Rather it is the cutting edge technology that infuses our lives today. But then he layers in history and philosophy in such fresh ways that it keeps me thinking about it for years to come.

    As for the size of the book, it includes every aspect of the narrative in such subtle layers the story just organically builds from one level to the next. The whole time it gentle ratchets up the tension to reach one thrilling climax. What is most enjoyable of his work is the sheer amount of knowledge he lays on the reader without once relying on gratuitous explanatory text, rather he just seamlessly blends in detail descriptions and factual references into the action. One character doesn't understand something and the expert character explains it in a very concise and clear manner. The opposite of most medical TV shows where one Doctor will explain the most basic things to another (really for the audience). Honestly I would really enjoy the other Doctor on the show to say something like "No shoot Sherlock, I went to medical school too."

    This book starts out as a family drama, moves to a Russian mob story, then to a computer hacker plot, then to a terrorist attack, all building to a showdown in the mountains. I really loved as I started getting to the end and all the main players, both good and bad, were all converging together from all possible angles for the showdown of all showdowns. You could sense it coming and the pages flew by until you get the gun battle. A lot of reviewers have focused on this 150 page plus scene but it is worth it as you get to see every character reach their story's conclusion. There is no I wonder what happened to moments at all; Stephenson covers it all.

    I am giving this 4.5 stars only because I accept this just won't be for all people. Generally 5 star means that I think if you do not like this book then there is something wrong with you. 4 stars mean I really love this book but get it that some people will not. Reamde is an amazing techno-thriller that is well worth your time investment. It is the only thing which holds me back, it is that time investment. Most books I read I know I could just gut it out and be done in a day, with Stephenson I have to accept that I cannot do this. I have to commit to several good days reading and accept all the other books I cannot read at the same time. Much like Phoebe making all the cookie varieties so they won't feel bad about being left out, Stephenson is committing to just the one variety once and a while.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is an exciting international thriller

    Peter saw an opportunity to make some fast cash. However, he handed the Russian mafia a virus infected thumb drive that was destroying their encrypted data base. Ivanov the customer is unhappy but wants more than just his money back and his files freed; he wants to scatter Peter's remains across the states before his comrades learn what happened and scatters his.

    His girlfriend Zula takes him from their home in Seattle to her black sheep Uncle Richard's farm in Iowa. When Nixon was president, Richard fled to British Columbia to avoid the draft; there he became a millionaire smuggling marijuana into Idaho. Years later with Carter amnesty, Richard used his money to create his remote "farm" in which his niece and her boyfriend visit him. However, his biggest success since he stopped trafficking is T'Rain multiplayer virtual game; that is until now, as hackers in China have deployed the REAMDE virus that encrypts a player's electronic files until remittance is made to release them.

    This is an exciting international thriller starring two black sheep and the woman who connects them. The story line travels the globe while containing engaging spins and a horde of characters from many points around the world. Although at times the subplots go seemingly forever nowhere, overall readers will enjoy the adventures of Zula and the two rogues in her life.

    Harriet Klausner

    10 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2011

    Best Action novel I've read

    Maybe less cerebral then his "Crytonomicon", but much more fun. Would great ensemble cast movie as the great characters scatter and re hook-up. Think of "24" type story, but instead of Jack Bauer you have a bunch of unique type characters that are just thrown together.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2011

    So good I ordered the hardback before I finished the Nook version!

    Not only did I order the hardback so I could lend it to people, I went back and started it over immediately after finishing it - something I've never done before. The time I've spent in EQ and WoW contributed a lot to my enjoyment of the in-game action and background, but the mix of action and insights into people and processes would have been enough to make it a great book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    It sucked me in right at the start

    I was very happy to hear about a Neal Stephenson book in the style of Snow Crash. At 160 pages in I find I can't sleep or do anything else but read this book. Enjoy.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    Why ebook price is high

    Ebook price is $s per kilogram of substance. Seriously, the price is high because the book is not yet available in paperback. When the paperback edition is published, the ebook price will probably come down. I'm tempted by the pricey ebook because... well it is Neal Stephenson's new book! And I cannot wait to read it. Publishers are not stupid.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2014

    Can a book that clocks in at just over 1000 pages be a riveting

    Can a book that clocks in at just over 1000 pages be a riveting page-turner? In this case, the answer is an emphatic "Yes!" Stephenson intertwines the sagas of several main players, all uniquely characterized, in a novel that spans the globe from the US to China. Drug smuggling, Russian mobsters, charismatic terrorists, virtual reality computer gaming, international spies, computer geeks, money-laundering - they're all there and they all combine to form this highly entertaining novel. Precise detail never detracts from the non-stop pacing of the story, and a book that at first looks to be a massive undertaking all to soon approaches an ending that is disappointing only because it means the end of this superlative accomplishement.

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  • Posted February 15, 2014

    Another great read by an author from whom I will now read everyt

    Another great read by an author from whom I will now read everything that they publish as soon as I get my hands on it.

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  • Posted November 8, 2013

    Don't let the 980 pages slow you down. Every one of them is fasc

    Don't let the 980 pages slow you down. Every one of them is fascinating. If this book has a flaw, it is that it is too short .  I could have enjoyed more elaboration as the various loose ends were set down like a neatly tied warp.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2013

    Fantastic summer read!

    This book is a fun read, not quite so burdened by description as some of his others as it is set in modern day USA (and China, and Canada). It's a fun, exciting read with characters that I really cared about, that still has the depth of ideas that make Stephenson a unique author. Give it a try!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    Complex but coherent and easily followed thriller

    I have to admit I'm only at page 378 of 1042, but I'm impressed by his ability to weave many threads together yet make it very plausible the no bizarre coincidences are required. Great characterizations too.

    I'm confident that Stephenson can keep up this level for the rest of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    Fun ride

    I enjoyed every page

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  • Posted January 14, 2013

    Reamde is a vastly entertaining blend of action, internet cultur

    Reamde is a vastly entertaining blend of action, internet culture, and Stephenson’s unique and at times cerebral humor. Careening from the US to China to the Philippines to Canada, with a multinational cast as diverse as they are endearing, the 900+ page story never languishes. Stephenson unites his group of unlikely heroes in a thoroughly imaginative globe-trotting adventure that somehow manages to tiptoe the line of credibility without ever staggering beyond. I rate this along Cryptonomicon as one of my favorite books. After 960 pages, I found myself wanting more of Zula and her determined group of rescuers!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012

    Fantastic literary thriller!

    Did Neal read all the criticism of the awful ANATHEMA and decide to make amends by writing a page turning thriller? It seems so. This action packed plot is easy to get enveloped in and yet still abounds with the fertile rich text for which I love this author. While fiction, the tale still rendered insight and knowledge on every page. I marvel at the wise, conservative philosophy in the story's heart. Guns, computer games, tech, spycraft, and true romance fill this book.

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  • Posted February 26, 2012

    Highly Recommended, you will not want to put it down!

    This book was recommended to me by a young assistant at B&N - thank-you! I took 3 months to get to it, then once I was into the story I found it a real page turner. It's good fiction with different threads, different characters who come together into a fire fight at the end. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.

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  • Posted February 8, 2012

    Great read

    If you're looking for a can't put it down read this is it. Well crafted as all Stephenson books keeps the story going from beginning to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    Thrill ride

    My first, but definately not my last Stephenson. A great novel, which while very long never ever lets the foot off the gas. Loved it!

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  • Posted January 21, 2012

    Exceptional Thill Ride

    I thouroughly enjoyed this book. I actually liked the way it tied 5 or 6 seemingly disjointed storylines togehter....and yes it was worth the 1000 pages it took to do it, too. You really were able to get to know, appreciate and identify with all the various characters (and there were certainly enough of them), from a multi-millionaire pot smuggler turned high-tech mogul, to his very interesting family, a former Russian intelligence operative, a young British spy, a couple of Chinese teenagers, and a Hungarian computer hacker, to name but a few.

    Great read....kept me engaged throughout it's considerable length.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2012

    A great read

    This is an outstanding book. Every time the action begins to die down it is ratcheted back up in a new direction. I had to plan my reading sessions as it was impossible to put down.

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