Reviews

The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson

aberdeenwaters's review

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3.0

It started out okay, then it got really good, then struggled to plow through the last little bit. And I'm not entirely sure why. I like Stephenson, and for the most part, I was drawn in. I just wasn't invested enough by the end and perhaps expected too much from the ending? I liked it and its meta fictional qualities, as well as Stephenson's predictions about the future, it just left me wanting a little more.

stephxsu's review

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The first third was incredible! Such stunningly detailed worldbuilding. Stephenson really pulled out all the stops in his reimagining of a future Shanghai. Everything he could have developed, was developed, a fact that I was truly appreciative of, in light of the dearth of well-developed YA dystopian lit being published lately to feed what appears to be simply the latest "hot trend" in YA publishing. How sad.

Unfortunately, like many other adult books I have had problems with, I felt like worldbuilding was great at the expense of other, equally important factors of a story, like characters and plot. I didn't connect to the characters, and furthermore, there was such a lack of engaging plot that it unfortunately made it all too easy for me to put the book down halfway through, just as the pace was (finally) starting to pick up, because the emergence of an actual plot felt so *weird* halfway through the book that I was extremely discomfited. Why aren't there more books that don't have fantastic worldbuilding / characters / plot at the expense of worldbuilding / characters / plot? Is it too much to ask for literature that doesn't scrimp on any of these essential literary elements?

taytergoose's review against another edition

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I've got to be honest I was expecting more Snow Crash but from what I gather, Snow Crash’s pace and more linear focus is the exception among Stephenson’s stories. 

World building is the name of the game here which is fine except every character through which we view this world seems to be boring. Or a prick. Or a boring prick. That might just be my experience but somehow this Incredible Technology that everyone is scrapping over just seems to be lost in the weeds of old dickheads appreciating each other’s vibe. Like OKAY I guess but is dull men gladhanding each other still going to be a thing in Crazy Nanotech Future because if so I gotta go.

Ultimately I got tired of the story flipping between multiple plots and characters that were failing to cement themselves in my heart or mind.

xispo's review against another edition

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4.0

Stephenson creates worlds I want to live in (or at least visit) - his attention to detail is a joy to absorb. The story itself meanders and gets lost in the scaffolding of all the world building, though.

I also wasn't a fan of the weird sex cult aspect of the end game. Not sure why it had to go there.

But, overall, a good read.

authoraugust's review against another edition

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4.0

If this book had been half its length and twice as emotional, I would have loved it. As is, it's a really fun read, and definitely has intense complexity that I could only dream of mimicking. Nell is a wonderful heroine (coincidence that the author's name is just one letter off?), and the concept of the Primer is fantastic. That said, I could have done with more dialogue, more actual emotion from the young protagonist, and less bulk.

julcoh's review

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4.0

Incredible world building, but the ending fizzled out (as it is wont to do with Stephenson).

duygusu's review

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3.0

The meticulous detail is extraordinary but the writing reads a bit shizoid. Also, that ending... why so rushed Mr. Stephenson?

flavoredcurry's review

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adventurous dark mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes

4.25

deadlight01's review

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adventurous mysterious medium-paced

4.25

molmcintosh's review against another edition

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adventurous funny slow-paced

3.75