Book Reviews of The Years of Rice and Salt

The Years of Rice and Salt
The Years of Rice and Salt
Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
ISBN-13: 9780553109207
ISBN-10: 0553109200
Publication Date: 2/26/2002
Pages: 672
Rating:
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 21

3.3 stars, based on 21 ratings
Publisher: Bantam
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

24 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 200 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
I love alternative history and looked forward to reading this book, but I was greatly disappointed. It is a disjointed set of stories about a small group of people who keep being reincarnated, coming back in different forms, different lives, different genders, even as a tiger once. While this would sound, at face value, to be interesting, it was too jumbled up to be so. As for the alternative history part, the main problem is that the author did his research too well -- I consider myself fairly well educated, but not well educated enough to recognize some of the more subtle historical details that were changed or "alternative". I really struggled, wanting to like this book, but I cannot recommend it.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I finally finished the book. I won't say it was the most wonderful book I ever read, but I can say that it was 'good' - not great, but good. There were so many good parts separated by so many boring parts! I think this book could easily have been 200 pages shorter and be a much better read.

After slogging through the first 150 pages very slowly, it finally got very interesting at about page 250. The whole middle was quite good, then during the story of the Long War, it got boring again. Then the last section got interesting again.

This is not a book I would recommend to anyone in general. If you are really into reincarnation stories and have a lot of patience, go for it. If you have ANY kind of vision problems at all, get the hardback, or LP versions. The MMPB type is *really* tiny, IMO.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 192 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This is a weird book, it starts a little slow, but once you get the idea of it, it is very entertaining. It deals extensively with the idea of a group of souls who are re-incarnated for better or worse over and over again. I didn't think I would like this book, but I did. Be prepared to have a full weekend to read this book.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 5602 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
I struggled through 300 pages, but it never really held my interest. It's like 10 stories in one book, although they are loosely tied together. The premise is interesting (see the book description, above), but nothing much seems to happen in the stories. Call me hard to please, but if I'm going to spend my time reading alternate history, I want some really gory earthshattering wars, or at least some seriously dysfunctional people to waste my time with, not some nice guys floating through imaginary societies.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 155 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Much as I love KSR (& historical fiction/alternate timelines) I just couldn't get into this one. His strength lies in character development, and this story line flows through hundreds of years, with little continuity from time to time.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 204 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This is a fairly long book, but if you're a fan of Kim Stanley Robinson, it is worth the time and effort. Takes a bit to get past the first few chapters, but worth it. It is an epic alternate history that spans centuries. Very interesting, especially if you are interested in history and reincarnation. I know it is not the easiest read, but I can say that lots of it stuck with me a long time after.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 78 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I really tried to get into this one, as I'm a huge fan of alternative history, but nothing ever really seemed to happen. The stories (for rather than a novel, it seems to consist of several different interrelated stories jumbled together)just didnt have any excitement to them. I finally admitted defeat around the time the characters were reincarnated in Spain and put the book down.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I really liked this book even though it is confusing keeping track of who becomes whom. The second time I read it I made myself a chart of the characters. I never did figure out the meaning of the title. Anybody have any ideas?
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Interesting concept, but just when you get to know the caracters and th plot get isnteresting, they die in ways that are pretty irrelevent. Kim could have made seven good books out of this instead of one lame one. I wasn't able to finish this book.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 195 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
imagine the last 700 years if the christians were decimated by plague
and the world was run by china and india..interesting premise and well
written sci fi
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 141 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
You know, I'm in love with this author's work, but this was a *very* difficult book.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 204 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a wonderfully creative and complex alternate history of the world. It's starts with the premise that the plague killed 99% of the population of Europe, a much higher percentage that it actually did. Robinson shows his view of how that might have dramatically changed history. This is a look at the history that could have beena history that stretches across centuries, a history that sees dynasties and nations rise and crumble, a history that spans horrible famine and magnificent innovation. This is a fascination story -- the first few chapters, at least, are a bit hard to get through, but you are rewarded for your tenacity later.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 49 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is, by far, the best "Alternative History" novel I have read.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 293 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I didn't LOVE the book, I think mainly because of the size of it, 763 little pages, but it is an interesting alternate view of human histories. In this view, The Black Death, the plague in Europe that killed a third of the population, kills 99 percent of the population. This looks at how the world would have changed. This crosses decades, centuries, the world. I could not read this all at once; I read other things in between. It is that kind of book. Read some, digest what you read, read some more. It really is an interesting take on what the world might have been like.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A facinating book that's caused me to seek out the rest of his writing.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on
Helpful Score: 1
Robinson rewrites history in a most imaginative way. His fiction also includes some real history that spurred me to further reading of the time period.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on
Helpful Score: 1
This is a fascinating alternate history, as seen through the eyes of 3 main characters who are reincarnated throughout the book. Each character learns valuable lessons to carry them through the next "life". Just as interesting are the brief times their souls wait for the next round of incarnations... this book makes you wonder what if??
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on
As has been mentioned several times, this book felt very disjointed. Following multiple characters through multiple lives was difficult at first, but I got used to that. However, the story got less and less interesting as it approached modern times.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 21 more book reviews
Great idea, so I thought I'd like this book. However, I gave up on it before 100 pages. For me it's very heavy reading, not close to being easy reading.
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 4 more book reviews
2nd time reading this - wonderful concept & story
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 146 more book reviews
Intersting look at a possible history through time and reincarnation
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 384 more book reviews
i just received this and when i saw it i knew that i had alread read this several years ago.
a very different book but if you like this author you will enjoy this one too
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 11 more book reviews
PLEASE NOTE - IMPORTANT This book is in almost new condition, EXCEPT someone has written on some of the pages in the book, starting with the first page. The writing is small and neat, no writing over the book print at all. May have been a students book. If the book was not otherwise in such perfect condition I would not list it, had no problem reading the book. Please do not order if this will be a problem
reviewed The Years of Rice and Salt on + 91 more book reviews
Excellent Historical Fiction --- what if??