This is a spoiler-free book review of The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: a novel by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland. This is just a rough draft; a more complete version will be coming soon.
Warning: There is colorful language in this book, and it gets racy and saucy at times, and has scenes of an intimate nature that are graphically described in this book. If you have delicate sensibilities or are easily offended, I suggest skipping this book.
Having said that, what a well—written book! It’s made a believer out of me as far as co-writing goes. This is one of the most well—written books I’ve ever read, especially for one of its length (742 pages!). Lengthier books that I have read usually leave something to be desired at some point. Not so this book. It was full of lively humor and verve, and moved along nicely, with a plot (and plot points) that I was never entirely sure if I guessed right on. I didn’t see with 100% accuracy and certainty where it was going, other than in a more general sense (possibly, anyway). The book always had something happening all along the way that kept me engrossed. As one of the main characters, Melisande says, “Reader . . .,” I was spellbound, I was enchanted, I was mesmerized, I was engrossed. I didn’t expect it to end that way!
Magic. Science. Technology. Alternate universes. Time travel. Love. Constructs of the modern and ancient world, stemming from ourselves. Mysteries worth delving into. The mysteries and vagaries of the human heart, human nature, and everything in the aforementioned sentence fragments at the beginning of this paragraph.
The characters are too numerous to mention, but two of (and perhaps) the main protagonists are Tristan Lyons and Melisande Stokes.
Boy meets girl, and boy accidently knocks her down. The boy, Tristan, and girl seemingly fall in love, but don’t act on it (or do they?) generating romantic tension throughout the book. The girl, one Melisande, no girl Friday, but a strong, accomplished, capable woman in her own right, holds her own.
It was well-plotted and well-executed book, full of rich character development and story arcs. Enough to keep me on the edge of my seat while I wondered what happened, and what was going to happen, to our erstwhile heroes. (This to me suggests that they plotted everything out to a T beforehand. (And hopefully for the entire arc(s) of the entire series!) While I don't know for sure, I do believe that it's possible (probable) that there will be more (books in the series). After all, I've (we've) got the time (for good books), right?
I prefer to write alone; this book has made me a believer in co-writing.
The writing on this book is sumptuous, in my opinion, and with lines like ““You ordered that to try to throw me off the scent, in case I was doing some sort of ninja psych-eval of you,” he said casually, as if just trying the idea on for size. “Ironically, that tells me more about you than if you’d just ordered your usual.”” how could it not be?
A nice feature that I haven’t seen, not in quite this way, is to have a cast of characters and a list of terms included in the book. What makes this different, and provides variety, is that they are organized by a timeline, and contain spoilers. Both of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.
I would say this book belongs in the Urban and Historical Fantasy genres.
I strongly suggest this book, if you like, or are intrigued by what you’ve read here; as Melisande would say, “Reader . . .,” you may not be disappointed.
P.S. In February, I will have a guest blogger—my first!—who will be writing on the topic of: drum roll please (brrrrrgggggggggtscch!) co-writing. Synchronicity is a wonderful thing, as that came about just as I was getting into the book. Please join us then, won’t you?