The Confusion, Part I by Neal Stephenson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Now, I admit to being a huge fanboy of Stephenson in general, but unfortunately, I wasn't horribly thrilled about this book.
That's not to say that it didn't have some really fascinating bits and sequences... because it did. And I had no problems with the jumping between different times in the Baroque period, the admittedly rather heavy explorations of period economics, of political intrigues, or any of the like. Even the main characters, Eliza and Jack, are rather interesting when they're in the very heart of things, but the rest of the time, there was a lot of what might be called filler.
It's great if you're reading the book for the history, for the feel of the late 1600's and early 1700's Greater Europe (and eventually elsewhere), or just reading it for the unique mix of vagabondry and high-court intrigue with silver and gold heists, revenge, and the language.
Best of all, however, was the alchemy. There's a lot less science in this than in the first volume, unfortunately, but what there is, is really fascinating. Solomon's gold is a special kind of gold that's heavier than regular gold... but throw that into the mix of a gigantic heist and attempted unloading of said heist and the impact that it would have on whole economies, witting or unwitting... and we've got a huge Con... with a Fusion of different alchemies. :) Of course, there's also the combining of different economies in the mix, too, but no matter how clever this book might be when we dig deeper into it, the entire thing does rather fall into the plain old other kinds of confusion.
I'm going to continue because I do have a bit of fondness for Jack and Eliza, but I'm mainly sticking with it because it is, after all, Stephenson.
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