It’s been a little while since I’ve read much science fiction, particularly any of the sort that Clarke is known for. Forget strong plot or characters and focus entirely around the big idea: In this case, the starship Rama is plenty large.
It starts off quickly, only a few chapters before you’re on the ship. From there, you have situation after situation, describing how interesting the world that Clarke has built is and how the explorers react to it. The lack of a more specific antagonist becomes more of a problem towards then end, in that the book just sort of ends. There are various problems throughout the book, but no sense of building. I’m still not entirely sure how much I like this style.
Overall though, I think it’s a cool world and I want to know more. Given that the sequels were written many years later and co-written by an author with a somewhat different style (based on the forward in Rama II), it will be interesting to see how different they are.