Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Brief Book Review: Anathem by Neal Stephenson

As noted in some of my older posts I like the idea of doing book reviews but I am terrible at them. It is hard to really talk about a book and say how you felt about it with out delving into the plot. I don't want to delve into the plot because the whole point of a review is to say whether I think it is worth a read or not. In this case I definitely think it is and I wouldn't want to give away what the story is about.
But I really enjoyed this book. I thought the world building that was done in it was absolutely fantastic. Its a really clever idea that was well executed. The characters were well developed as well. It was interesting in a way because a lot of books that take place from a first person perspective always have the main character at the forefront of the action. This wasn't necessarily the case in this book.

Because that is the case it is not a quick paced book. It just treads steadfastly forward. At no points is it what I would consider slow though because you are always learning new things about the world, the characters, and the history. It was almost frustrating at first not knowing what they were talking about but I began to realize if something was mentioned you would get an actual explanation somewhere down the road. All part of that world building process.

On top of all of that the book makes you think. It actually delves into a lot of philosophical issues, various mathematical and physics theories, and does a pretty good job of helping you understand what they are talking about. I enjoyed looking up more about the various topics it broaches after the fact and will probably continue to do so. The author Neal Stephenson has a link to references in the back of the book to allow you to read further on the them.

So there you go, a review where I say almost nothing about what the book is about, and tell you why I like it. No idea if this is helpful or not, but suffice it to say if you have any interest in philosophy, physics, math, and don't mind lots of detail, this book is for you.

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