I enjoyed Stephenson's voice, which is subtly funny, sprinkled with little pokes at the world of fantasy fiction and online gaming. My only previous experience with his writing was Snow Crash, so I don't have much basis for comparison to his other novels. This modern techological thriller is accessible to non-computer-geeks (me). Most of the explanations are clear and concise, only delving far enough into parts & processes to move the story along. I put the book down after 50 pages but was prodded by a friend to pick it up again. The huge web of characters & situations and complex plot took a while to get moving, but after 250 pages (out of 1042) I was completely immersed and had a very hard time putting it down. My bus arrived too soon, my breaks at work were too short, and I stayed up hours past my bedtime, getting knots in my neck from lying on the couch too long. I kept thinking, "I'll just finish this paragraph," but I'd end up reading for a few more minutes.Beyond the fact that it took me far too long to feel invested in the characters, my only other complaint would be with the ending. Everything wound up very neatly, but there wasn't enough resolution. Many of the characters spend a lot of time breaking rules even though they're well aware that this will probably come back to haunt them. These looming consequences are left dangling. On the other hand, the action is intense right up until the last few pages of the book, which sort of makes up for its long, slow start.