Well, I, as a fiction reader, am not enough qualified to review this book. For, this is more than fiction. Exhilarating, complex, dense, and entertaining. Throughout, the books stays funny along with being serious.
Anathem is the second novel by Neal Stephenson which I read, third one Snow Crash in queue. First of all Anathem is written different languages, by different I mean it’s written in english and the language Neal Stephenson made up known as Orth. But the book is mostly written in english expect for some words he uses in many places which he made up. He also provided the glossary of the terms and entries from the Ortho dictionary speckled throughout the book which describes the meaning of those words in different contexts.
Anathem is huge novel with 931 pages (paperback edition) and bit slow in the beginning and it takes around 150+ pages to reach the core plot of the book but though it’s slow in the beginning but I never found it boring. The ideas presented in the book are really interesting and as well as complex and some ideas are explained in the separate supplements provided in the back of the book known as Calca (philosophical or mathematical discussion between two people of differing views). If mathematical or philosophical concepts make you crawl in fear, then you would probably not enjoy Anathem.
The ending in this novel is good compare to his previous novel which I read, Cryptonomicon whose ending was really disappointing. The character development in this novel is very good and I enjoyed the new languages and his ideas. Anathem moves into more theoretical areas by showing how the different ways in which we frame our thoughts have real and powerful impact on the world at large, even if it takes a very long time for those thoughts to produce concrete results/effects. The story is told from the perspective of Fraa Erasmas. I liked the writing style, the character development and characters in the book are really funny, charming, philosophical and I liked the protagonist, Fraa Erasmus, or Raz, Ala, Jesry, Lio and Orolo.
If you have a patience for side-discussions of theorotic/philosophical material, and enjoy theoretical fiction, then this novel is for you, go ahead and read it and damn sure you won’t regret it.