Anathem was a complete surprise to me. I had deliberately avoided reading
anything about the book before I bought it, willing to trust the author to come
up with another excellent novel comparable to Snow Crash, The Diamond Age or
After reading the first 50 or 60 pages, I was wondering
if I’d wasted my money. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this.
The many invented words peppered throughout the text didn’t help either – you
can immediately decipher many of them from context they’re used in, but it is
annoying to do it as often as Anathem requires.
However, I kept going,
and by the time I’d gotten through the first 100 pages or so I found myself
quite enjoying it. After another couple of hundred pages I was reluctant to put
it down, and eventually ended up reading the last third of the book in a single
What I would say is that once you become familiar with the
dialect used by the characters and get past the relatively slow opening
chapters, Anathem becomes a far more engaging and interesting book. Sci-fi
action sequences are interspersed with frequent philosophical or metaphysical
discussions between various characters, which may of course not be to the liking
of every reader, but I found it both interesting and entertaining.
that I’ve finished the book I am planning to wait a few weeks and then read it
again, as I suspect that reading the opening chapters will be a far better
experience the second time around.