I really wanted to like this book, but it didn’t quite work for me. It garnered glittering reviews, and the few that didn’t appreciate the novel seemed to focus on the difficulty of unexplained jargon in the first third of the story
[There is a plethora of undefined, eccentric terms tossed into the story at the beginning, but things sorted themselves out quite nicely as I kept reading. A glossary would have been a nice addition; and, in case you plan on reading The Quantum Thief, there is a glossary at Wikipedia]
The problems I had were more related to character and story: I prefer characters to be more fully developed than they are in this novel, and the story, though at times interesting, didn’t have enough depth to carry the novel.
The novel was plot driven, which, for a light-reading experience, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There were some interesting flourishes — for example, the gogols, alluding to Dead Souls, by Nikolai Gogol — but the plot was filled with resolutions that depended on various forms of deus ex machina: it seemed more like the running commentary of a computer game than a novel. I think the book would appeal to MMRPG (massively multiplayer role playing game) enthusiasts who enjoy reading.
The author, Hannu Rajaniemi, has a PhD in String Theory and has created an interesting phantasmagoria within (I assume) a realistic depiction of theoretical physics. The story delves far beyond cyber-punk; it is set in a future that has left humanity behind, where the synthesis of human and machine has spawned a solar system filled with god-like beings, incredible possibilities, and deadly weapons.
The story moved along at a quick pace, and I enjoyed the imaginative architecture of the author’s world-building; but, as a novel, it wasn’t quite my cup of tea.