✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 5.0

(No spoilers in this review.)

A fast-paced political thriller, technically ambitious like one would expect from Stephenson, but also full of schemes and clever relationships. This is my second reading of the book (the first was in 2010), and I enjoyed both the feverishly building suspense and the relatively accurate political conclusions, far before our actual reality shift in 2016.

Interestingly, the two main narrative characters were both women: an upper-class white daughter of a governor who insists on putting in hard work as a doctor, and a middle-class-but-sliding Black woman who makes a hard distinction on values, and some good points along with it.

Incredibly nuanced sociology it is not, but it is a thoughtful and often cheeky commentary on American politics in the late-1990s era. I recommend it heartily.