This novel is praised and highly recommended by a lot of people, but I do not agree with them. The story consists of three parts that were formerly written as separate short stories.
Part 1: interesting concept, some amusing scenes - 2 stars
Part 2: boring, nothing else - 1 star
Part 3: a glint of suspense and a moral dilemma - 3 stars
That makes an average of 2 stars.
Should you read this book? No. You can read about the same topics in other, and in my opinion, more interesting novels.
If you are interested in monks as scientists, or rather scientists as monks, please read "Anathem" by Neal Stephenson.
If you are interested in cyclic history, please read "Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell or "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" by Friedrich Nietzsche.