supercheesegirl: (goth dolly)
Full title: The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer. Finished on 9/24/16.

I'm not even sure what to say about this. It took me about 200 pages (of the 900+ pages in the ebook edition I read) to get into the story - around when Nell's story got going, and Miranda came into it - but then it got good and I could see the shape of it. And I was drawn in and wanted to know what happened. But the ending just felt flat, as if Stephenson had explored all the concepts he wanted to explore and, having done so, didn't care to finish the STORY.

I wanted to see Nell and Miranda finally meet. Also, Nell arriving in Drummerland at the exact moment when Miranda needed rescuing was annoying. Also also, Nell ending up in Drummerland independently made Miranda's years of sacrifice there seem unnecessary (although there may have been a plot thread that made that make sense, where the fact of Miranda being a Drummer indirectly led Nell there, but it wasn't strong enough to propel that thread forward, I felt). There was just too much reliance on coincidence: how is it even possible that the story the Primer was telling when Nell was five years old matched up so perfectly with what actually happened, down to what happened to Nell's brother in the real world and the mouse army? How did the real mouse army KNOW that they were a mouse army and know about Nell? Was this hinted at when Hackworth adapted the Primer for cultural reasons, was he making the army's Primers related to/reliant on the three original ones? Why did we drop the plotlines of Elizabeth and Fiona so entirely? After being the impetus that set the development of the Primer in motion, do we just not care about them anymore? I wanted more Fiona. I wanted more of Hackworth at the end: did we see him walk back into the sea to rejoin the Drummers? Was that decision based on necessity (getting killed if he stayed in the city) or did he want to take up the work again?

This book gets three stars for keeping me interested for over 900 pages. It would've gotten more if it had had an actual ending. (I may come back and revise these comments after talking with my book club on Friday, we'll see.)

Date: 2016-10-06 01:45 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I adore this book and have read it multiple times, but as with the other Neal Stephenson books I love (Snowcrash and Cryptonomicon), yes, it ends very abruptly—if it can be said to end at all.

The fact that all three books have similarly sudden "endings" makes me think that he just has a very different idea of what an ending really is. It's been a while since I've reread any of them, but I think I'd like to, keeping the notion of traditional narrative and nontraditional ending in mind throughout each just to see if I gain any insight into what he was trying to do... or if I just conclude that he totally gets bored, abandons a book as quickly as possible, and moves on to the next.

Date: 2016-10-07 12:39 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
There was so much here that was good, and I really *wanted* to love it, but the lack of an ending was really disappointing. But then I've been known to dock points even from Diana Wynne Jones and Garth Nix for abrupt endings; I really like a big long warm fuzzy ending. So, glad to hear it wasn't just me on this one.

Also, nice to hear from you! I hope you're well.


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