ironphoenix (ironphoenix) wrote,

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Book 2

The second volume of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle is, in my view at least, superior to the first. Despite being titled The Confusion, I found it easier to fit together as a coherent whole than Quicksilver. The volume is so named because it consists essentially of two books (Book IV, "The Juncto," and Book V, "Bonanza"), between which Stephenson alternates. The characters are more fully fleshed out, and the story seems to have found its direction. I'm actually looking forward to reading the last volume of the trilogy, The System of the World, since the first two volumes taken together have gelled into a single story which started a bit slowly, but is now picking up steam and shows the promise of a resounding climax.

Of particular interest is the voyage described in "Bonanza," which broadens the work's scope considerably from the Eurocentricity which dominated the first volume. A great deal of research obviously went into this, and the results are excellent.

My only criticism of the book is that the flow of time is not always easy to follow, due to the variation in pacing. Some of this is unavoidable in a work covering such a long period, but more intuitive pacing might make the work easier to absorb.
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