The Years of Rice and Salt

By Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson has been sort of hit or miss with me before. Some of his books keep me up reading into the wee hours of the morning. Some are a struggle. This book was kind of both for me. The idea of the book--what the world might have been like if Europe had been completely wiped out by the Black Plague--fascinated me. Robinson has a real gift for alternate timelines, as evidenced by his Three Californias series. The problem is that the scope of the book is so sweeping that it's a little difficult to get involved with the characters. When the story arc covers multiple centuries, individual lives tend to become a little less important. So it was hard for me to really connect with the book. On top of that, much of the book involves long discussions of the nature of history, and while the ideas were interesting, it didn't make for an exciting read. Fortunately, something about the ending resonated with me, so I walked away from this book with a good feeling.

Started: 1/3/2004 | Finished: 2/14/2004

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