To me, book one and two should be read at the same time. It's only one book, broken into student-sized chunks. Please read my review of book one, my r...moreTo me, book one and two should be read at the same time. It's only one book, broken into student-sized chunks. Please read my review of book one, my recommendations are the same for both. Buy one, buy both. They belong in school libraries for all ages. (less)
An interesting idea. There is a book, divided into the narrative of an interrogation and and appendix of evidence in the back. It's a little hard to f...moreAn interesting idea. There is a book, divided into the narrative of an interrogation and and appendix of evidence in the back. It's a little hard to flip back and forth, but worth it.
Adam is an extraordinary computer hacker, but he's only fourteen and also completely socially inept. He gains a few friends and becomes embroiled in a web of mystery surrounding on-line information. Readers don't have any more information than the interrogator. As we read, we see how events played out and who was pulling the strings.
It is a well written story and intriguing plot, but the characters are a bit flat and the setting is a thin, too. I think it is modern day, but it may be near future due to the high-tech nature of the equipment available. There are mentions of other people and places, but nothing is very well defined outside the characters three main locations.
LIBRARIAN RECOMMENDATION: Good for all levels of school libraries. There is little violence, no sexual content, no drugs or other 'issues'. It's a simple story of a few friends getting deeper and deeper into a hole in the Internet. There are many things that will keep most boys reading, and enough grit to keep the story tense. I think it's aimed at middle school, but high school students will get something out of it as well, just from a different angle. 5th and 6th graders will be able to read and understand it as well, but the moral discussions may be less in-depth.
An excellent choice for a book club as well. Many discussion points and learning moments for the characters that could be interesting in a 'what would you have done' discussion. (less)
I enjoyed this book, even though it had it's flaws.
It's a story that's been done...and done...and done. And, yet, I found myself wanting to know how...moreI enjoyed this book, even though it had it's flaws.
It's a story that's been done...and done...and done. And, yet, I found myself wanting to know how it ended. He's put a new twist on the 'fight to the death between random contestants who can't escape from the maze unless they are the last man standing' plot. He's added to it with various details that really make to book feel unique. It takes place in the New York Public Library - cool. It has unique alien races - the details of which were well thought out. It adds an element of danger to anyone exiting the maze - well-written. He's thrown in an innocent contestant...and his child - great way to ratchet up the tension!
What didn't I like: - The idea that it was an unknown alien race who knows all about humans, but we don't know anything about them...and then they put the contest on Earth - why would anyone whose been so secretive up to this point risk their secret by going to Earth? - The child is innocent...and very young...and yet it is her actions that lead to some crucial discoveries. - The 'coincidental' actions that lead to actions or thoughts or 'keys' that the characters need was just too pat in a few cases.
I did like this book; however, there were some glaring plot points that yanked me out of the story and reminded me that I've read this plot before. He did an excellent job with some things...some less than stellar work in others. I understand that this is his first book; and because of that, I will read more by this author. I was greatly entertained! (less)
I listened to the audio book of this title and found myself constantly being pulled into other novels that the narrator had read before. Her character...moreI listened to the audio book of this title and found myself constantly being pulled into other novels that the narrator had read before. Her character voices, while distinct from each other within this book, were very similar to the characters she had used in other novels. I found that very frustrating, and so perhaps my review of the novel is shaded by my review of the narrator; however, I can't go back in time and remove her voice from my mind.
An interesting world and some good characters, but overall this book was flat. I felt that the story was plodding, and the climax was obvious. I kept thinking to myself, "This is a YA novel, so this is what has to happen next..." and then it did. Who lives, who dies, who betrays whom and how the ending plays out were in my mind well before the halfway point of the novel. It just had no zing to it...no surprises.
Now, I wonder if it is just me as a jaded adult who has read a lot of YA. I've seen this storyline before, and done better. But kids may truly enjoy this book if they have not read as much as I have. This may be their first introduction to this storyline - and it may encourage them to read more. For that reason alone, I would put this book in any middle or high school library. It raises important questions, calls on the reader to think, and encourages students to learn for the sake of learning.(less)
PERSONAL REVIEW: I liked this book, despite it's faults. I enjoyed the storyline. Although there were times when I though it was a bit obvious what wa...morePERSONAL REVIEW: I liked this book, despite it's faults. I enjoyed the storyline. Although there were times when I though it was a bit obvious what was happening, I was still surprised when the 'reveal' happened. Not because I hadn't picked in advance what was going to happen and why...but because the timing and the fall out of the reveal were well planned and written. It's not a masterpiece of literature, but it achieved its aim of telling and interesting story in an entertaining way. I will read the next book...simply because I want to know what is going to happen next.
LIBRARIANS REVIEW: It's a good addition to a middle or high-school library. There's a little graphic violence, a few kissing scenes and a whole lot of 'thinking' and 'reasoning' going on as readers try to figure out what's happening in the school. There are wonderful opportunities for discussion and debate and it hints at great topics in education that teachers can pull out of the text to tie into many different subjects. (less)
I listened to this on audio...and it was really fun. First off, it's read by Wil Wheaton - which is perfect! There are not many things that make me la...moreI listened to this on audio...and it was really fun. First off, it's read by Wil Wheaton - which is perfect! There are not many things that make me laugh out loud, but this book had me laughing at several points. I'm not sure it would have if I hadn't had Wil talking it through.
I tagged this book as fantasy only because it had fantasy role play inside the OASIS. There are no fantasy elements in the 'real world' of this novel - it's strictly sci-fi.
I learned to code in BASIC, I played MUD's and had some limited amount of video game experience. I understood what was being said...and I loved it. But, I am not sure that younger readers would really get that much out of this book. It might read more as historical fiction to those who were born in this century. I'd be interested in hearing what younger readers have to say about it.
LIBRARIAN REVIEW: I would recommend this to students. Admittedly, there are a few places where I thought to myself, "I'm not sure I'd want that in my library," but by the time I finished the book I was willing to defend it. There is far more positive than negative in this book and I think any high-school student who ready it would get something out of it. The final chapter alone made me want to hand it to half the high school boys I'd met. (less)
Wow, how do you review a classic? Everyone's already said what there is to be said about it, right? So here's my opinion.
First off - I liked the under...moreWow, how do you review a classic? Everyone's already said what there is to be said about it, right? So here's my opinion.
First off - I liked the underlying plot. I enjoyed the characters and their struggle. I wanted to know what would happen to them. But, and this is a big 'but', you have to be able to read all the propaganda and philosophy to get to the story. I knew that was true before I began it, and I'd given myself permission to quit at any time...how did I get through it? I listened to this on audio. There's no way I could have gotten through this book if I hadn't been able to do something useful at the same time.
Second - I felt energized while reading it, like I'm wasting my life and need to get going. Had I read the speeches that made up a great portion of this book I would have likely set it aside to do something, lost the thread, and then disliked the book because it was disjointed. But again, listening to it on audio was a lifesaver.
Third - This book was way too long. I think about 25% of it should have been edited out...just cleaned up, not changed. Repetitively stated ideas were obviously important, but I was frustrated that I got the idea the first time, understood it, often even agreed with it...and yet I was forced to read it again two or three or four more times. And, later there were three hours devoted to one speech in Part Three. I can't imaging that I'd be able to read through the whole thing, especially because it had been stated by other characters before. It was an inspiring speech, granted, but I wonder if it could have been stronger had the ideas not already been beat into my head.
Did I mention that I have twin 4-year-olds? No way would I have been able to read this in book form! I love audio!
Fourth - I really found it interesting to read a book that was written in the 1950's and looked into what the author thought to be a possible future. I was quite a way into it before I realized why I felt so disconnected - it was because the characters were limited by the norms - and even more, the technology - of the authors lifetime. At one point the characters went in search of employment records for a worker. They were devastated that the papers had all been destroyed. The idea that the looted had burned the papers or used them for other things put an end to their search. I suffered a momentary vertigo as I wondered why they didn't just find a computer...oh wait, they don't exist...but why not? This is their future, computers would exist by then...oh wait - Ayn Rand didn't know about computers, so her characters wouldn't have any knowledge fo them either, no matter how far into the future her story reached, they would never know about computers. I seemed to be caught in a sort of intellectual vortex. Later the character had to find a pay phone and I was again struck by how our world would look to someone from the 1950's. We don't have flying cars, but wow - we have a world that they wouldn't recognize if they jumped here directly from there.
It was interesting, but really seemed disjointed and...simple. I'm pretty sure the author didn't start out trying to rewrite His Dark Materials series...moreIt was interesting, but really seemed disjointed and...simple. I'm pretty sure the author didn't start out trying to rewrite His Dark Materials series, but there were a lot of similarities. As with that series, this book ended with a simper instead of a bang. Good build up - then...nothing. Bleh. Frustrating.(less)
The original books were a good read, although the first novel was better than the second, which was a lot better than the third. I enjoyed the series...moreThe original books were a good read, although the first novel was better than the second, which was a lot better than the third. I enjoyed the series as a whole and found the character of Hatter Madigan simply wonderful. I am a fan of the medium of graphic novels, and looked forward to these with great anticipation because they were written by the original author, not another person's imagining of someone else character.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed with both the story and, even more so, the art. A lot of the story was an exact retelling of how Hatter got to this world. I understand it's needed for anyone who hadn't read the novels, but I had been hoping for a bit more...I don't know, additional information or maybe a little more drama. Instead we are told exactly what was said in the novel, now with pictures.
That leads me to the art...it's wispy, blurry, unfocused. That's the way Redd was described...and I find it annoying that the image they created of Hatter is not the focused, dark, rules-following cut and dried image that he was build up to be in the book. I was expecting something more realistic, dark and brooding, a real world feel, where the character of Hatter was thrown into the unexpected. I wanted to see how he reacted in 'our world'. Instead we got a glimpse of a fantastical world with little to tie its pieces together.
The characters Hatter meets are mostly tied to the story of Alyss, but what are the chances in a world this size they would end up meeting exactly the same set of bad guys? This graphic novel seemed disconnected, the bits fo story had little to tie them together and the story - right...what story. Hatter wonders into our world, then searches for Alyss. I guess he figures out how to navigate the portals, but that's not discussed, how else would he have been able to get from Europe to China in one page? From the story I had the image of a nomadic sort of search that took years at a time to complete. Instead we have a few moments of adventure barely tied together by the main character. He seems to have no specific plan, no real direction.
Anyhow - I ramble. The art does not suit the character. The story does not live up to its original medium. (less)
I picked this up as a FirstRead, and was under the impression that it was a graphic novel. It was not, there were black and white drawings thrown in t...moreI picked this up as a FirstRead, and was under the impression that it was a graphic novel. It was not, there were black and white drawings thrown in throughout the book, but it was a novel with some illustrations - not a graphic novel.
It takes place in a futuristic New York with a lot of technology embedded into humans, much of it illegally. There is also a 'race' of people created in laboratories. The Pleasure Model is allowed extremely limited intelligence, but more than normal sex appeal and physical attributes. One of these is some of the evidence found at a crime scene.
A human dominatrix with personality modifications was also a witness, but she has fled the scene and doesn't really get involved until late in the book.
Plot - Interesting, but it could have been equally successful without the sexual aspects.
Setting - The best part of this novel. There was great descriptions of the city, the history and the tech/mech aspects.
Characters - Thin. Sometimes they were a bit silly, even. I liked Julia, the dominatrix side of the human woman. I thought a lot more could have been done with Rook. He seemed a really caring sort of guy, but he was in a world in which he seemed just ridiculously 'nice' compared to the overwhelmingly evil masses.
Pros: Fast read, entertaining, I do think the art adds to the story, but it was a turn-off for me as much of it was cheesecake and I'm a heterosexual female. I'm not the target audience.
Cons: I understand it wasn't meant to be high literature, but some of the writing was just...too simple. If the audience is young boys, then the writing is okay, but the subject matter is too mature. IF the audience is mature, then the writing is too juvenile...
Overall: I'm not the target audience, but I was able to get through the book without throwing it across the room. I almost didn't make it past the first scene with Plesur, but I liked the opening scene well enough to give it a chance. I will not be reading the second book in the series; although, The ending of this book makes it clear that Plesur has a very interesting future ahead of her...(less)
The first two books of the series revolved around the characters of Alyss and Redd, this book detours more into the characters of Arch and the caterpi...moreThe first two books of the series revolved around the characters of Alyss and Redd, this book detours more into the characters of Arch and the caterpillars and I was left feeling that the ending that could-have-been would have been better if the author had stayed with Alyss and Redd.
I loved the first two books, but this one just fell flat. I never got into the character of Arch, so when he took over the plot line I sort of lost interest. I kept reading because I wanted to know that the rest of the characters were doing, but the more I read the less connected to the book I felt. The worms...well, they just drained the life out of the novel. I was curious about them, but in the end...they didn't do anything. They were flat and boring and their purpose made the ending of the book seem...flat.
Also, there was the budding romance with Alyss and Dodge...I expected it to be fleshed out in this novel, but instead it was pushed to the back burner until the very end when a bow was nicely placed around all those nagging loose ends. I loved the first two books and was hoping the third book would build on what was created, instead it tore it all apart and rebuilt it on a weak foundation. I was disappointed in this book, but I do look forward to reading the graphic novel, Hatter M.(less)
What a fun and entertaining book. It took a while to 'get' the world, but once I got comfortable with the oddity of the setting I was able to enjoy th...moreWhat a fun and entertaining book. It took a while to 'get' the world, but once I got comfortable with the oddity of the setting I was able to enjoy the story. I read the book Wuthering High a while back and was sorely disappointed. I had thought it much be a gateway for youth into classic literature...bah. I was venting my disgust with that book to my friend Lisa and she suggested I read this one, instead. Thank you Lisa...this is SO much better. I will continue this series, and many of his other books look interesting as well. (less)