I'm one of those readers who believes that Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle was absolutely brilliant. As such, it comes as no surprise that I purchased every other book the guy wrote prior to Quicksilver.
I was leaving for a week in NYC, and an eco-thriller like Zodiac appeared to be just what the doctor ordered. You can usually tell how great my vacations are by the amount of reading I get done. The more I read, the crappier my vacation is. This time around, I barely made it past page 100. And the only reason I made it that far is because our American Airlines plane had a data-downloading glitch which prevented us from flying off. So I was forced to spend that hour-long delay reading. While in the Big Apple I must have read all of one chapter on the rooftop terrace of my hostel. And the rest I read while our plane was being inspected due to a "suspect" odor emanating from the cockpit. Wasted, with a maximum of three hours of sleep in me from my last night in NYC, I could have done without the delay. Mercifully, for the first time in my life I was seated next to a gorgeous and interesting young lady on the way home. Too bad the flight lasted less than an hour!;-)
In Zodiac, Neal Stephenson does what he does best. First of all, his witty narrative is a joy in and of itself. This author's sense of humor is such that I would likely read a cook book, if he ever decided to write one.
One of the aspects of Stephenson's writing which makes him a genius in my book is his uncanny ability to take notions that are intrinsically complicated, and to make them into something simple enough for his readers to understand. This time, he "educates" us about various chemicals and PCBs.
Neal Stephenson is also a master when it comes to characterization. He's probably the only writer out there who could make an environmentalist like Sangamon Taylor such a likeable character.
This is not your typical "save the whales" Greenpeace kind of crap. Zodiac is a fast-paced and entertaining read. Certainly not as grand as his latest works, I nevertheless encourage you all to pick up a copy of this novel. Indeed, Zodiac makes for a perfect summer vacation read.
The final verdict: 8/10
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