Neal Stephenson writes enormous, complicated, and tightly packed stories. This one is 752 pages, but he sometimes passes 1,000. It’s pretty impressive how much plot he packs into several hundred pages–and more impressive that he writes series. He’s definitely not for everyone, but I adore his writing!
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O is an epistolary story, packed full of reports, emails, and messages, etc. But it’s told mostly in one long diary by one of the main characters, so it doesn’t feel like it jumps around. Less important or interesting sections are summarized to keep the story from dragging.(Yes, the story could be even longer! But then it wouldn’t be as good.) There’s also some hints about what’s coming, as the diary is recounting events some time after they have passed.
So what’s it about?
Melisande Stokes, language expert, runs into Tristan Lyons, who offers her a job translating ancient documents–and then she ends up working for the same shadowy government agency as him. The documents reveal that magic used to exist, but died as technology rose. Their next task is figuring out why, which is made a lot tougher because their goals are in conflict to other people’s. And that’s about all I can say without spoilers. But it’s quite a roller coaster!
Packed full of adventure, history, language, paradox, magic, and a smidge of romance, it’s an engaging read. I’d highly recommend it.