The presentation in this novella is extremely surreal and disjointed. I recommend reading it all in one or two sittings rather than as I did: a half h...moreThe presentation in this novella is extremely surreal and disjointed. I recommend reading it all in one or two sittings rather than as I did: a half hour here, a half hour there over the course of four months. By the time I actually finished the story, I could hardly remember where it began. It is heavy in metaphor and theme that I wasn't able to connect up meaningfully because of my disjointed reading of it. However, I could still appreciate the quality writing, and the very cool concepts and technology. Silently and Very Fast doesn't contain much of a plot, but will definitely make you think and work for the underlying meaning. It definitely left me wanting more, like a fully fleshed out novel within this fascinating world that Valente has created. (less)
I was pretty disappointed in this one. Ready Player One does have a lot of potential, and from all the rave reviews it's been receiving perhaps I expe...moreI was pretty disappointed in this one. Ready Player One does have a lot of potential, and from all the rave reviews it's been receiving perhaps I expected too much.
Ernest Cline's debut novel takes place in a dystopian near-future where the planet's natural fuels have been depleted. The exorbitant price of fuel, caused by the energy crisis, has resulted in cars abandoned on the roadways. Citizens from the rural outskirts have flocked to the cities to escape frequent blackouts and widespread lawlessness, many living in stacks--trailer parks that have gone vertical with one trailer stacked haphazardly atop another using cranes that have become a part of the dilapidated landscape. Some drown their miseries in drug addiction, others to a virtual, online world called the OASIS.
Though the OASIS began as just another massively multi-player online game, it has evolved into much more than that. It is a world where one can find friendships that cross economic and racial differences, where one can escape into the bliss of '80s nerddome that is all the rage, where Wade (avatar name Parzival)--a parentless, antisocial highschooler--can harbor hope before the prospect of an otherwise bottom-feeding existence. That hope is a great hunt to win the billions of dollars left behind by the creator of the OASIS, in the form of a multi-part quest, within the virtual realm, involving classic arcade games, '80s cult classic movies, a wee bit of MMO-style action, and general geeky '80s trivia.
Did you think I took a long time summarizing this book? Try the first 75 pages, all in straight exposition. That is, unfortunately, the rocky start that will greet you when you crack open Ready Player One. The beginning reads like the backstory the author should have written for himself, as a reference, before writing the actual novel. Unfortunately, he decided to just plop it all right in there.
I had a lot of other qualms with the book as well. Here are just a few: The MMO lingo didn't feel authentic to me, although I understand that Cline is a gamer...It reads like someone who is not a gamer thoroughly researched the subject, so he has it almost right. But it reads like it's researched, not like he has actual experience using the terminology in a real MMO environment. The first half of the book also reads kind of like Mom's guide to the world of gaming, where things are explained so thoroughly (with exposition or exposition through dialogue) that it's not at all fun to read for someone who is actually a gamer--which I think would be a big target audience for the books. Being familiar with gaming and programming, I had a lot of little nitpicks about the physics and general details of the OASIS, but to each his own. I won't get into those specifics here. Again, just felt researched not understood from a place of personal experience or an understanding of where games are headed to make this future online world seem believable.
One qualm against the book that I've seen but don't necessarily agree with is the issue of race and white male privilege. It's possible that Cline missed an opportunity here, but I don't think he would have (view spoiler)[made Aech secretly an African American female masquerading in the OASIS as a white male (hide spoiler)] unless he was meaning to say something by it. This was Cline's one example of making a subtle point without actually spelling it out like he's writing for fourth graders.
In summary, Ready Player One has the cooky fun of the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a little bit of the movie Gamer (though I think Gamer pulls it off better), and the word-dumping, dirty-mouthed style of Chuck Palniuk--though in this instance, name-dropping everything '80s.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Rescued by the rebels in District 13 at the end of Catching Fire, Katniss Everdeen now struggles to define her role in the growing rebellion against P...moreRescued by the rebels in District 13 at the end of Catching Fire, Katniss Everdeen now struggles to define her role in the growing rebellion against Panem while others try to define it for her.
I was very pleased with Collins' conclusion to The Hunger Games trilogy. Mockingjay brought back the strongly sympathetic writing of the first book--the end, in particular, bringing me to tears. Leading up to Mockingjay, I was quite worried about how Collins would reconcile the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale (mostly because I rooted for Gale but was sure she would end up with Peeta). Despite my rooting for the underdog, I was absolutely satisfied with the way Collins wrapped up this tricky plot.(less)