Because I thought this was going to be a science fiction novel like Snow Crash (which I loved) I was all set to enter the virtual world of video games. Surprise Valz -- it's an action adventure with a whole slew of delightful protagonists. And to all those characters I say, the more the merrier! And happily, Stephenson's knack for creating wonderfully strong female characters remains intact.
This would make a great movie if it could be done right. What a fun read. Take this on an airplane.