Author: Neal Stephenson
Rating: 5 Stars
Review By: Shana
Wow, that was one of a kind. I adored this book, but it is not for everyone (nor for those who don’t enjoy books heavy enough to count as an upper body workout). I come away from this novel simultaneously loving it and realizing that others might hate it, and oddly enough thinking those in both camps might be right.
I’ll admit that Stephenson can sometimes be an acquired taste, and that his books for me can be hit or miss. This book meanders and wanders. It strays and entertains multiple tangents and many twists and turns, utilizes a wide cast of characters, and skips around myriad events, jumping from WWII to the late 90s and back multiple times.
The stories are rife with asides, sly jokes, word play, and abundant fact mixed in with the fiction. I found myself online more than once to sift the historical actualities from Stephenson's imaginative story, and I found myself utterly captivated. The book frequently forced sharp laughs from me and was incredibly clever.
But for those who don't share the same sense of humor, or who like a little more directness and a little less wordplay and sightseeing, this book may miss the mark. That said, if looking for a quirky take on cryptography, WWII, Alan Turing, Axis power gold, prevention of future genocides, geekdom, adventure on the high seas, cannibals, and just a hint of romance, this might be the (incredibly long) book for you.
My love of reading was sparked in 3rd grade by the promise of personal pan pizzas via the BOOK IT! Program. Hmmmm... any chance that someone might give adults free food for reading? Asking for a friend...