I've heard alot about Vernor Vinge before, he's a leading voice in futurism and singularity discussions, but I've never read any of his books before this.
Synopsis: Robert Gu was America's best loved poet before he developed Alzheimers (also a total asshole), but when future medicine brings him and his mental faculties back he becomes embroiled in a plot involving a traitorous intelligence officer, a group of printed book enthusiasts (most books in this future are of a virtual sort), and a mysterious and extremely manipulative entity, known as Rabbit, puppetering events throughout the story.
Rainbows End offers a fascinating glimpse of the future, but unlike so many others like it it offers little in the way of social commentary on that future. There is little said of the state of privacy (there doesn't look to be a whole lot of it) and the book speaks little of human rights or any other issue. Your pretty much left to figure the future out for yourself.
I found much of the story to be fairly boring. Events are manipulated and people are manuevered into place and this takes up the majority of the story. About 75% of the way through it picks up and becomes fairly engaging, but until then it was a bit of a slog.
My biggest gripe with this book were the loose ends Vinge left hanging. There were a couple questions I really wanted to see answered which were not. Even a large headscratching red herring.
I cant say it was badass or epic either unless you think Machiavellian style manuevering counts, in which case I don't think the book pushed it far enough anyway for it to be considered.
3 1/2 stars general
1 1/2 epic rating