Customer Reviews for

Spook Country

Average Rating 3.5
( 63 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(23)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Great return to form

I have been a William Gibson fan for many years now, and 'Neuromancer' is quite likely my favorite book of all time. I cannot say that I have not enjoyed any of his works following that seminal cyberpunk novel -- far from it -- but despite the power of 'All Tomorrow's ...
I have been a William Gibson fan for many years now, and 'Neuromancer' is quite likely my favorite book of all time. I cannot say that I have not enjoyed any of his works following that seminal cyberpunk novel -- far from it -- but despite the power of 'All Tomorrow's Parties,' Gibson's 'Bridge trilogy' did not give me that same sense of awe and trepidatious excitement that the three books of his 'Sprawl trilogy,' especially 'Neuromancer,' did. While I got a good deal of that sense back, however, with 'Pattern Recognition,' its trite ending and annoying quirks, as seen in my B&N review of that novel, didn't satisfy my lofty expectations of the author, given his potential. However, 'Spook Country' now gives me that sense back fully. Gibson's prose has never been more quirky, more razor-sharp, and, again, each of his characters here ring true, behaving in ways that you to expect them to, and in such a way that you actually care about what happens to each. Hollis Henry becomes just as compelling a character as Case and Cayce Pollard and leaves you hoping for more news about what happens to her in Gibson's next tale. The use of an industrial railyard as a scene of climax is very strong...I have often gotten much of the same feelings when driving around Bayonne and Port Elizabeth in New Jersey. Some might question, in the end, the strength of the resolution of the plot -- as in, 'That was all about just that?' -- but this would be an unfair criticism of the book, especially in light of the theme lurking just under the surface of Gibson's plot...namely, that in spook country, nothing in the world can be considered trivial, especially when money is involved. Overall, to me, even with 'Pattern Recognition,' William Gibson has never 'lost it,' so that my title of this review as a 'return to form' really is a mistatement. Nevertheless, if you count 'Neuromancer' as his gold standard, so that through reading a Gibson novel you become thoroughly engrossed in a world which is only a little bit off-kilter but still recognizable as one just coming around the corner, then 'Spook Country' is a great return to form indeed.

posted by Anonymous on June 3, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Unable to complete book

I don't know when I have tried to read a book with a more disconnected storyline. Nothing seemed to tie together, and the whole scenario seemed to come from some sort of weird hallucination. I could not get more than 75 pages into the book before I gave up in disgust....
I don't know when I have tried to read a book with a more disconnected storyline. Nothing seemed to tie together, and the whole scenario seemed to come from some sort of weird hallucination. I could not get more than 75 pages into the book before I gave up in disgust.

posted by 1356026 on May 16, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2008

    Great return to form

    I have been a William Gibson fan for many years now, and 'Neuromancer' is quite likely my favorite book of all time. I cannot say that I have not enjoyed any of his works following that seminal cyberpunk novel -- far from it -- but despite the power of 'All Tomorrow's Parties,' Gibson's 'Bridge trilogy' did not give me that same sense of awe and trepidatious excitement that the three books of his 'Sprawl trilogy,' especially 'Neuromancer,' did. While I got a good deal of that sense back, however, with 'Pattern Recognition,' its trite ending and annoying quirks, as seen in my B&N review of that novel, didn't satisfy my lofty expectations of the author, given his potential. However, 'Spook Country' now gives me that sense back fully. Gibson's prose has never been more quirky, more razor-sharp, and, again, each of his characters here ring true, behaving in ways that you to expect them to, and in such a way that you actually care about what happens to each. Hollis Henry becomes just as compelling a character as Case and Cayce Pollard and leaves you hoping for more news about what happens to her in Gibson's next tale. The use of an industrial railyard as a scene of climax is very strong...I have often gotten much of the same feelings when driving around Bayonne and Port Elizabeth in New Jersey. Some might question, in the end, the strength of the resolution of the plot -- as in, 'That was all about just that?' -- but this would be an unfair criticism of the book, especially in light of the theme lurking just under the surface of Gibson's plot...namely, that in spook country, nothing in the world can be considered trivial, especially when money is involved. Overall, to me, even with 'Pattern Recognition,' William Gibson has never 'lost it,' so that my title of this review as a 'return to form' really is a mistatement. Nevertheless, if you count 'Neuromancer' as his gold standard, so that through reading a Gibson novel you become thoroughly engrossed in a world which is only a little bit off-kilter but still recognizable as one just coming around the corner, then 'Spook Country' is a great return to form indeed.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    Didn't grab me as much as _Pattern Recognition_, the first book

    Didn't grab me as much as _Pattern Recognition_, the first book in this series. I liked the Hollis Henry story line, but most of the other characters didn't really grab me, at least not until about halfway through.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2010

    Just plain awful.

    The book starts out interestingly enough, and you think you could be along for an interesting ride, but it evolves into sub-plots which end up going nowhere; involving characters you just don't care about. Frankly, I was annoyed by 90% of the characters and 90% of the situations in which they found themselves. You quickly come to a realization that no one would act as they do or care as much about what they are doing (if you're ever sure what it really is they are doing). It's all very unbelievable. I want to use the word arcane to describe the book's references to music, technology, martial arts, etc., but that implies that they are understood by few. Rather, I believe it's closer to the truth to say they are understood by none.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The intersection between sci-fi and contemporary.

    A powerful follow-up to Pattern Recognition, Spook Country deals with the unfolding of a strange plot through the merging points of view of three different groups of characters. Gibson is very comfortable with this kind of parallel storytelling, and pulls it off in a very digestible way this time. The characters are extremely unique and far more dimensional than the kind of people in his earlier cyberspace stuff. While Spook Country lacks the kind of violence of the cyberspace trilogy or the Masamune-esque philosophizing of Virtual Light/Idoru/All Tomorrow's Parties, we're seeing a more mature and strikingly contemporary writer in Gibson these days.
    As we now live in a world where many fragments of Gibsons's original cyberpunk visions are now commonplace, this author may be more cutting-edge than ever as a contemporary, non sci-fi writer. Gibson's major thematic engine is always the way technologies are used and abused by the deviants of society in strange and novel ways. In both Pattern Recognition and especially here in Spook Country, we see the same device used... but not to talk about humanity and technology, but to discuss our post-911 worldview on our collective psyche. Without taking a political stance, Gibson has conjured a powerful image of the world we now find ourselves in and portrays it in a manner that makes it feel entirely like the settings and troubles brought forth in novels like Neuromancer and Virtual Light.
    If you're not reading Gibson, you can't be completely in tune with how the maturing genre of science fiction is merging and integrating with modern contemporary literature, in my opinion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    this is not your father's William Gibson

    took me a few pages to get reacquainted with Gibson's writing style, but overall I enjoyed the book. My previous exposure to Gibson were his hard sci-fi classics. This was more of a suspense/spy novel. Very interesting characters. Plausible plot. Good solid read. Not his best, but well written. Granted my expectations were extremely high, as it was a "Gibson" novel. Enjoy.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Unique style, timely atmosphere.

    This is my first Gibson and, while I was uncertain for the first dozen chapters or so, I found the momentum of the story and the characters increasingly compelling. While the ending initially seems like a bit of a letdown, more consideration brought me to the conclusion that it's a perfect ending for our times. Build-up, paranoia, tech, shady characters, complicated plans...all for...THAT? Exactly. Can't say the majority of news stories these days don't have me feeling the same.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Promising start, bland ending.

    I am a long-time Gibson fan, but was disappointed when I got to the ending. Forget this book and re-read one of his earlier works.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2009

    Unable to complete book

    I don't know when I have tried to read a book with a more disconnected storyline. Nothing seemed to tie together, and the whole scenario seemed to come from some sort of weird hallucination. I could not get more than 75 pages into the book before I gave up in disgust.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2007

    Liked it

    It's an entertaining read.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2012

    Character-driven, "light" espionage

    Not quite as engaging as Pattern Recognition, but, in and of itself, a great character study, and often tongue-in-cheek, in regards to many issues of the modern age. Takes the continually-used themes of “people caught up in the schemes of people more rich and powerful than themselves”, and makes them interesting. From the man who dreamed of hyperspace, it's so great to see him still on the cutting edge of what's happening and what will happen, sooner than we think.

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    Posted October 4, 2010

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted December 24, 2008

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    Posted July 8, 2010

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    Posted April 14, 2013

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    Posted March 6, 2012

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    Posted April 1, 2011

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    Posted January 22, 2010

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    Posted November 24, 2012

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    Posted August 13, 2010

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