Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review of Anathem

It was mesmerizing to read Anathem.
I suffered from a little anxiety picking this one up, since it's filled with physics, math, science,.. And even though I'm an experienced reader of average education I thought I wouldn't cope well if I couldn't "get" this novel.
Boy, was I wrong. I'll admit I didn't get every little thing discussed here, but overall the story was mindblowingly awesome. It's what SF should be, but almost never accomplished.

The story revolves around a young avout (can be compared to a scholar living his whole life between fixed walls and spending his life learning),Erasmaz, who learns a terrifying truth and is set on a path that will take him to several places he would have never thought of have visited.
'Arbre' (a world like Earth but not alltogether the same) is being visited by beings from another world. The reigning power in Arbre doesn't quite know what to make of it, so they call in the help of the avouts. A lot of them are being pulled out of their respective cloisters and have to work together to find out who the aliens are and what they want.
Erasmaz goes and finds answers in a remote section of the world and finds it at a terrible cost. It sets him on a journey far beyond the boundaries of Arbre.

In a way it's daunting to summarize a novel of this grandeur. It's touching the 1000page marker, and it's so detailed in everything, you really get sucked in that world.
You get to learn a bunch of new words, get insight in many laws of nature, better insight that I ever got during school.
Neal Stephenson has accomplished a novel so highly packed with information and still make it accessible and fun to read. I didn't want it to finish, but managed to close the book in little over 2 weeks which is very fast for me at this time.
It isn't easy to conjure up a consistent review of one of the novels I read, my mind shoots in so many directions at once, but talking about Anathem is satisfying in a way. I just want to repeat over and over again how I loved it and to ensure anyone who's willing to read it and finds it a little bit scary to just begin reading. You'll see that you've been scared for nothing. And enjoy. You'll enjoy it very much.

Personal rating: 5 stars