I just got done reading Rainbows End.
I think I'm going to buy a voting-only membership to WorldCon, just so's I can vote for it for the Hugos.
It's Vinge as he always was, only more so, more refined, and better.
The SF was crystal hard.
The characterizations and voices were perfect.
He reprises some of his familiar tropes, but does them very extremely well. His grasp of villany is utterly realistic, and even more subtle. (Great Villains are always Heros in their own mind, regretfully Doing What Must Be Done, with the Best of Intentions.)
Again, his protagonists are not Great Heros, but just ordinary flawed people, all trying in their own sphere to do what is right (for them), who are just sometimes lucky (and sometimes not).
The world does not start out a utopia, nor does it end as so. Saving The World for Freedom does not immediately make every thing All Right, and might not ever do.
And then I could go on and on and on about the wonderfully reflexive injokes and references, opportunities that are served up in multitudes by virtue of being a SF novel set in a world were there are novels, novelists, and where nearly everyone realizes they are living in a SFnal world, and have to and get to live with it. (And if Pratchet does write The Firey Crow in the early `teens, it will be wonderfully appropriate...)