This is a great continuation to Sword Art Online, the killer VRMMO which was cleared in volume 1 by Kirito the Black Swordsman and Asuna the Flash. Ho...moreThis is a great continuation to Sword Art Online, the killer VRMMO which was cleared in volume 1 by Kirito the Black Swordsman and Asuna the Flash. However, two months after the servers of SAO went down, Asuna still has not revived. Kirito wallows in despair until he is contacted by Egil, who showed him a screenshot of a girl uncannily resembling Asuna except her avatar looks like that of a winged fairy. Furthermore, Asuna-fairy is held in a cage hanging from the lower branches of the World Tree, the ultimate objective of the new Full-Dive VRMMO, ALfheim Online.
So off Kirito went to create a character in this new world, where he meets Yui, his and Asuna's "offspring" from volume 2 and the Sylph swordswoman, Lyfa, who is much closer to Kirito in the real world than either of them realize.
The first few chapters of this new volume almost felt like they dragged on a bit too much, but that's understandable as the author lays in the foundations--characters, settings, new rules, and all--of this new game called ALO. Soon, however, the pace quickens as Kirito logs into ALO and begins his journey towards the massive World Tree that dominates the center of the world.
The books ends abruptly though, so make sure you have volume 4 ready to read as soon as you finish!
A must-read for fans of SAO, fantasy and massively multiplayer online roleplaying games.(less)
Volume 2 of Sword Art Online is set before the end of Volume 1 (which had Kirito clearing the game). This volume featured four short stories, each one...moreVolume 2 of Sword Art Online is set before the end of Volume 1 (which had Kirito clearing the game). This volume featured four short stories, each one pairing Kirito with a different girl he met during his two years in SAO.
The first story, The Black Swordsman (Aincrad 35th floor, February 2024), features the beast tamer Scilica, and how Kirito helped her restore life to her dragon pet, as well as hunting down some player-killers.
The second story, Warmth of the Heart (Aincrad 48th floor, June 2024), features the blacksmith Lizbeth who forged Kirito's white blade, Dark Repulser.
The third story, Morning Dew Girl (Aincrad 22nd floor, October 2024), features Yui, a strange "girl" who becomes Kirito and Asuna's "offspring" in SAO.
Finally, the last story, Red-nosed Reindeer (Aincrad 46th floor, December 2023), expounds on Kirito's first ill-fated guild, The Black Cats of the Full Moon, and his quest for redemption after the TPK of the said guild.
The stories are top-notch, so if you liked Volume 1, this volume is a must-read. A couple of the stories, particularly the ending of Warmth of the Heart as well as the Rudolph song sequence in Red-nosed Reindeer, are definite tear-jerkers, underlining just how much sadness there can be in this life and death VMMORPG.(less)
Finished this during traffic on the bus. It's a very quick read.
This first volume covers the launch of the first Virtual Reality MMO where players us...moreFinished this during traffic on the bus. It's a very quick read.
This first volume covers the launch of the first Virtual Reality MMO where players use NervGear helmets to achieve "deep dive," a state that allows full immersion in the game. About two hours into the launch, the creator of Sword World Online announces that everyone is now trapped in the game with no way to logout. This taking of the players hostage is achieved via the specifics of the NervGear interface which basically cuts off all of the brain's signals so that they translate to actions in game rather than as instructions to one's body. Death in the game also results in the NervGear electrocuting (or microwaving; the translation is hazy) the player's brain, killing the in the real world as well.
Sword Art Online is set on the huge floating "castle" called Aincrad which is itself divided into 100 floors. Players start on Floor 1 and negotiate the maze there until they come upon and defeat the floor's boss, in which case access to the next floor is granted.
As I've said, this novel is a very quick read, not just because it is relatively short at less than 400 pages. The pacing is fast, often jumping months, and years to follow the main character. By the time the game is cleared at the end of this volume, two years have already passed in the story, and the main characters are at a supposedly high level, and the frontier of exploration has moved to the 75th floor.
Those who have played MMORPGs before (and have been hooked) will definitely find something to like in this action-adventure/love story. Even without NervGear, the experience we players had with the current MMOs are comparable: sometimes, the difference between the real and the virtual worlds blur, get confused. And you're left with the feeling that one is better than the other.
I'm looking forward to reading through Volume 2 which are side-stories set parallel to the main storyline of Volume 1. In the anime adaptation, these stories have been inserted into the episode order, mainly as padding to complete at least 13, or maybe 26 episodes (a season length to which some anime should definitely adhere).(less)
Old-school dungeon delving with a shiny new ruleset! I've just stumbled into this gem fairly recently and loving what I'm reading. I've taken a look a...moreOld-school dungeon delving with a shiny new ruleset! I've just stumbled into this gem fairly recently and loving what I'm reading. I've taken a look at Apocalypse World before, but my eyes glazed over before I could grok the rules. Dungeon World grounded Apocalypse World's rules for me. Who doesn't like a dungeon crawl?
This one's different though, enough to make me feel like that time I got my grubby little hands on the 1e Dungeon Master's Guide.
Can't wait to unleash this on my players.
The game is rooted in the story, so specific game actions ("moves") will not be performed by the characters until they take the action in the fiction. It's a pretty simple distinction that makes the game play a bit differently than other "traditional" RPGs. I hope I don't freeze up when I run this. Still excited though.(less)
This isn't a thick book, unlike most sagas these days that run upwards of 500 pages. Ursula K. Le Guin elegantly presents the early days of a student...moreThis isn't a thick book, unlike most sagas these days that run upwards of 500 pages. Ursula K. Le Guin elegantly presents the early days of a student learning the arcane arts of magic, on his way to becoming the greatest archmage of the world. A magical coming-of-age tale that presents the power of Naming things, this fantasy classic should be read by lovers of magic and lore.(less)
Fantastic story. Furious action scenes and a fast-developing plot, along with Poul Anderson's prose make this a fantasy epic worth reading. Read this...moreFantastic story. Furious action scenes and a fast-developing plot, along with Poul Anderson's prose make this a fantasy epic worth reading. Read this because of the AD&D (1st Edition) Dungeon Master's Guide's Appendix N (Inspirational and Educational Reading). Elves, trolls, demi-gods, cursed swords--this is one of Gary Gygax's many literary inspirations from which pages the now-classic D&D tropes would evolve.(less)
Had a crazy fun time reading this chaotic/demented horror story. The humor was great as well as the pacing of the storytelling. The whole thing feels...moreHad a crazy fun time reading this chaotic/demented horror story. The humor was great as well as the pacing of the storytelling. The whole thing feels like a modern-day reboot/reimagining of the Cthulhu mythos, replete with near-omnipotent beings from another dimension and an invasion that is slowly taking over the world, one dark corner at a time. Good things to look forward to this year is the book's movie version (which, based on the online trailers, would be equally as awesome as the book) as well as the sequel, This Book is Full Spiders, Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It (which will get released October 2012).(less)
This is my second Bob Ong book right after Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin, and while that other book was fun while it lasted, Ang Mga Kaibigan Ni Mama Susan wa...moreThis is my second Bob Ong book right after Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin, and while that other book was fun while it lasted, Ang Mga Kaibigan Ni Mama Susan was a thoroughly shitty experience. Bob Ong, last horror mo na 'to, ha?
The man should just stick to pop culture comedy instead of wasting his time, and more importantly, my time with this annoying sorry-excuse-for-a-novel that highlights what can only be called the cliched backward and barbaric mentality of remotely rural Filipinos: trusting in faith healing instead of modern medical science, listening to the inane ramblings of elder pieces of excrement, and believing in weird and outdated occult phenomenon.
All the complications in this book could have been avoided if the hero was man enough to hack his way through the members of the Kapatiran (Ooh, I'm soo scared--NOT!). Seriously, the moral lesson of this story is that you should not be a wimp when confronting the supernatural. That undead abomination that he calls his grandmother, a.k.a. Mama Susan? I would have smashed her with the gas lamp, laughing through the smoke as she and her so-called "friends" burned to oblivion. Oh yeah, I would have set that backward subhuman lost town right.
Maybe Bob Ong wasn't really trying to write horror with this one. With something this annoying, the man was definitely trolling. And, obviously, selling off bullshit to make his rent.
The only good thing about this book is that, thankfully, it is short: only a hundred and twenty odd pages. Because apparently that's the limit of his attention span, his intelligence, and his talent.(less)
I've known about Bob Ong for a long time now, but this is the first book I've read. Part of it is due to sudden onset free time, but mostly it's becau...moreI've known about Bob Ong for a long time now, but this is the first book I've read. Part of it is due to sudden onset free time, but mostly it's because my girlfriend loves them. So, right after she's done reading (during the course of just one day!), I borrowed the book to see for myself just what this Bob Ong thing is all about.
This particular book is divided into three different parts, each substory spoofing a popular Filipino film genre. It's even written in script form, and you're prompted to put on your 3D glasses when it begins. The first movie, "Bala sa Bala, Kamao sa Kamao, Satsat sa Satsat", lampoons Filipino action movies; the second, "Shake, Shaker, Shakest", is a spoof of Filipino horror films; and the third, "Asawa ni Marie", seems to be confused as to whether it's a movie or a telenovela (which is what soap operas are called locally), poking fun at the silly genre conventions intrinsic within Pinoy drama.
All three stories are a fun and entertaining (and quick) read, full of the author's signature commentary on the Filipino society, wrapped up in humor. True-blooded Pinoys would recognize the many pop culture references. This is part of Bob Ong's charm, I've been told, and it works for the most part, but there were some instances, particularly in "Shake, Shaker, Shakest" were the humor was thin and the dialogue was just... preachy.
Still, overall, reading this has been worth my time, and I will definitely be reading Bob Ong's other books, starting with "Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan", which I have also borrowed from my girlfriend. (less)
This book provides valuable prompts from when you really need to fire off a good old rant but you're too foaming at the mouth with rage to focus on a...moreThis book provides valuable prompts from when you really need to fire off a good old rant but you're too foaming at the mouth with rage to focus on a single topic that ticks you off. From "Mondays" to "screaming babies" (and probably even "run-on sentences" :P), this book provides both writing prompts as well as space for smashing your words together.(less)
Took some time but I finally finished this today! This is a refreshing take on the epic fantasy. The author fast-tracks through map travel, magic stud...moreTook some time but I finally finished this today! This is a refreshing take on the epic fantasy. The author fast-tracks through map travel, magic studying and sword training, in fantastic package for the people with not too high attention spans. This reader, for one, appreciates this effort. The "slow burn" present in too many fantasy classics is eschewed to ensure a book that throws twists and new plot points every other page, rather than every other volume. The unsubtle presence of magic also cannot be present in too many fantasy novels, and its frequent use here should put books like The Lord of the Rings to shame.(less)
Started reading this yesterday a few hours after I started playing Dragon Age: Origins. The world feels fresh and yet old-school enough, with that won...moreStarted reading this yesterday a few hours after I started playing Dragon Age: Origins. The world feels fresh and yet old-school enough, with that wonderful promise of a good old fantasy adventure. More later :)
Update: Well, I managed to finish it. It was nice knowing what happened before Dragon Age: Origins began. I still haven't finished DA:O as of this time (I'm about to enter the Elven Alienage in Denerim and the Landsmeet imminent). The world is steeped in lore, and it's good seeing them in a novel like this.
David Gaider's writing style is evocative and to the point, making this an easy and enjoyable read, especially if you're a fan of the game. Otherwise, it's still a good time sink. I love the feel of the world--a little dark like A Game of Thrones except it's more magical and game-able.
A good compilation of the best articles from cracked.com as well as a few new ones. Had fun reading this book. You can tell by how fast I finished it...moreA good compilation of the best articles from cracked.com as well as a few new ones. Had fun reading this book. You can tell by how fast I finished it XD(less)
**spoiler alert** I'm glad Garrett finally returned. Once again there's a mystery that catches the attention of Mama Garrett's favorite blue-eyed ex-m...more**spoiler alert** I'm glad Garrett finally returned. Once again there's a mystery that catches the attention of Mama Garrett's favorite blue-eyed ex-marine. The city of TunFaire is changing, for better or for worse, and those changes are highlighted in this latest installment, as Garrett copes with similar changes in his life. Friends grow old, flames die, and even ex-marines can still grow up.
I loved Furious Tide of Light in this book. She reminds me a lot of The Lady in the Black Company books for some reason. I hope she and Garrett does stay together in the succeeding books, as they make not only a great team, but an even greater couple. I was getting tired of Tinnie's bitching anyway.
Finally read what all the Crisis on Infinite Earth's is about. I could never get through the comics version of this story and was overjoyed that a nov...moreFinally read what all the Crisis on Infinite Earth's is about. I could never get through the comics version of this story and was overjoyed that a novelization has been written. I picked this up after I bought Infinite Crisis, and read this first. It was a fun read, though severely limited by using Barry Allen's POV, and also a nice lead-in to Infinite Crisis, which actually undoes what has been established in this book.
Fans of the superhero genre, especially those like me who love novelizations, should not miss this.(less)
Not the best of the GrailQuests, but Merlin's store of magical items sure was interesting. There are some parts of this book that could use some editi...moreNot the best of the GrailQuests, but Merlin's store of magical items sure was interesting. There are some parts of this book that could use some editing, as well as playtesting. Most of the "difficulty" in this book lies in the randomness of getting the necessary items from Merlin's house (which is currently in the shape of a six-sided die in this iteration). Tough fights and loads of puzzles make this a solid installment in this awesome gamebook series.(less)