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Book Review: Quicksilver

★★★☆☆ 3 / 5

I was a big fan of Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon, and in comparison this one is a bit of a let down.

You can tell that the author is really passionate about the time period (1666-1688 England and Europe). The subject matter is fascinating, and really up my alley. The characters are really interesting and very well developed. Daniel Waterhouse in particular is such an interesting protagonist: seems he excels at only one thing: being mediocre in all other things.

There’s really only one problem with this book: it’s too damn long. This thing is over 900 pages long, and only the first volume of a larger trilogy. It’s just full of very lengthy descriptions of 17th century Europe and travelling sequences where nothing of interest really happens. It’s like Stephenson, so fired up about the subject, just couldn’t stop writing, and could not bring himself to cut anything during the editing phase.

Condensed to a more focused 500-page novel like Snow Crash, it would’ve gotten a 5 star from me. As it stands now, I’m not sure I’ll have the heart to continue on to the other volumes in the cycle. Maybe next year…

Fact Sheet

  • Author: Neal Stephenson
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN: 0060593083