Contrary to the other reviewers, I rather enjoyed this novella. Set some time in the 1870's, Asher's Invention follows the adventure...more3.5 stars out of 5
Contrary to the other reviewers, I rather enjoyed this novella. Set some time in the 1870's, Asher's Invention follows the adventures of Asher, inventor extraordinaire, and his ex-fiancee Minerva as they try to rescue Minerva's father, Silas, who has been kidnapped. The kidnappers want, as ransom, one of Asher's inventions - a perpetual-motion machine which can provide enough energy to run a city for a thousand years.
The novella was well paced with a more-than-decent writing and a couple of interesting characters to carry it forward. My only quibble is that, owing to the nature of a novella, the plot felt a tad rushed at times and, hence, compromised on character development a bit. I might have preferred it more if this had been a full length novel with the inclusion of the back-story of how Asher and Minerva met and fell in love, as well as a couple of chapters detailing how Silas had cheated Asher and stolen his invention.
Ever since I finished reading Ready Player One followed by some furious spamming, recommending the book every Goodreader I know, I've been lying in wa...moreEver since I finished reading Ready Player One followed by some furious spamming, recommending the book every Goodreader I know, I've been lying in wait for a similar book based on virtual worlds and video games that'll blow my mind.
Yesterday afternoon, I came across Erebos. By evening, I had obtained an e-copy. Come midnight, I was fighting sleep trying to finish it in one go.
Does that mean it was as good as RPO? No, not by a long shot. BUT STILL, the first three-quarters of the book was fast and furious enough to keep me glued to the edge of my bed.
So, we have mysterious DVDs being distributed throughout Nick's, our MC, school, fellow students are mysteriously failing to turn up to classes and when they do, they seem beyond exhausted but nobody is willing to talk about it, not even his best friend. Nick is desperate to know what's going on and to get his hands on one of the DVDs, but it seems to be an invite-only thing.
Finally, finally, he manages to get the DVD from someone who makes him swear to certain rules of secrecy. Turns out, the DVDs contain a game called Erebos. It is an MMORPG which happens to be insanely addictive, and also...very much alive?
Nick finds out that all of the characters (apart from the players) in the game hardly behave like your regular video-game characters with a limited number of replies and reactions. Instead, they are acutely aware of what's going on around them and can have conversations with the players much like a normal person would.
Intrigued, Nick begins to play, slowly rising in levels, thanks to the mysterious Messenger who seems to be in-charge of the game. The Messenger helps the players increase their abilities and strength, in return for carrying out his orders that get stranger by the minute, for, these orders seem to take place in the real world, and the players are addicted and desperate enough to follow those orders without question.
Nick is initially asked to carry out mundane tasks, like, moving a package from point A to point B, or going out on a date with someone, but then things progress quickly to him stalking a strange man and taking his pictures, until finally, Nick is asked to poison, and possibly kill, his English teacher! Will he do it?
It was immensely fun reading about how the players get to pick their avatars, go on quests, collect "wish crystals" and fight in the arenas, always, with the Messenger lurking menacingly in the shadows. But, the last quarter where we figure what's going on, who created Erebos and what the point of it all was, is a big dampner. The twist is such a cliche that I was quite disappointed; I was hoping for something bigger and fantastic.
Apart from the slightly-lame ending, this is well worth a read, especially if you happen to be an avid gamer!(less)
"Life is like a hurricane, here in Duckburg. Race cars, lasers, aeroplanes - it's a duck blur!"
If you have no idea what I'm talking about then YOU HAV...more"Life is like a hurricane, here in Duckburg. Race cars, lasers, aeroplanes - it's a duck blur!"
If you have no idea what I'm talking about then YOU HAVE NOT LIVED!! DuckTales happened to be my THE most favourite show on TV as a kid. I loved it then and I love it now. So you can imagine my delight when I found this little treasure.
This book focuses more on Scrooge McDuck and gives us a detailed insight into his past by telling the tale of how Scrooge came to be the richest duck in the world (his wealth amounts to five multiplujillion, nine impossibidillion, seven fantasticatrillion dollars and sixteen cents)
It's beautifully illustrated and a complete laugh-riot. Keep an eye out for Scrooge's sister, Hortense - Donald's mum - later on in the book. You can definitely see the family resemblance there! You'll run into many familiar characters like Donald and the triplets, Glomgold, Goldie, Magica De Spell and even the Beagle Boys(or their ancestors, at least)!. The book leaves you begging for the good ol' 90's again.
OK, this book is CREEPY; not so much for the story, but for the identity of the murderer!
Story is set in a "crooked" little house called Three Gables,...moreOK, this book is CREEPY; not so much for the story, but for the identity of the murderer!
Story is set in a "crooked" little house called Three Gables, where lives a wealthy old man along with the rest of the tight-knit family, including a young, beautiful wife. He dies of poisoning under mysterious circumstances and everybody jumps to the conclusion that it must be the wife, and her assumed lover, who did him in. But did they? For, the entire family feels that these two might not have done it. But then, that'll mean one of their own blood is the culprit; so they all hope against hope, that the "right person" murdered the old man.
This novel isn't a part of any series, so no Poirot or Miss Marple or Tommy and Tuppence in here, but it's compelling just the same. As always, the murderer is absolutely the LAST person you ever suspected; even more so in this case! Christie proves, flawlessly, yet again, that it takes all sorts to make a world.(less)
My eyesight *may* be in danger after last night where I stayed up reading the book into the wee hours because I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.
What a fantastic...moreMy eyesight *may* be in danger after last night where I stayed up reading the book into the wee hours because I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.
What a fantastic ride!
Sure, I found it hard to digest that six year olds went around killing each other and planning battle strategies, ten year olds went around commanding entire battle fleets and thirteen year olds went around plotting to take over the world, but I cheated and made them age a little in my head while reading, so it's all good!
I confess I did NOT see the shocker of a twist coming but I also confess that once I digested it, it sort of felt a bit - flat? It was THAT easy? THAT simple so a ten year old could do it? What sort of a future is this anyway, where the adults are SO helpless that they need to take help from kids who are NOT EVEN IN THEIR TEENS?
Unwilling suspension of disbelief aside, the entire duration at Battle school was fascinating and kept me turning pages till the end of it. I do believe the ending could have been a bit better (I still don't know the reason why they were attacking the buggers when there was no provocation from their side) and the whole Locke and Demosthenes bit was unnecessary, but that's my opinion. (less)
Well, I'm finally done. First things first. There was definitely a whole lot more happening than the last book. I liked that.
Rand - I really liked his...moreWell, I'm finally done. First things first. There was definitely a whole lot more happening than the last book. I liked that.
Rand - I really liked his story arc in this book. The amnesty he has declared? Very smart. I would like to see how that goes in the further books. Taim. Now, there's a mystery shrouded in a riddle. Just who is he and how is it that he knows so much with practically no help?!
Egwene - I realise why Egwene was made the Amyrlin, but I STILL find it hard to believe that she became SO powerful and SO knowledgeable in such a short period of time. I mean she was novice less than a year and an Accepted less than that! Where and when did she get all that training? I wish Jordan had elaborated a bit more on what the Aes Sedai and the Wise Ones taught her exactly. It was all very vague for me. Also, I find the transition of her behaviour from the last book to this one, very jarring. The last I saw her she was snapping and yelling and sniffing (God, how I hate that word now!) and all of a sudden, now, she's cool and calculating?
Nynaeve and Elayne - Didn't have much to do. And Nynaeve avoiding Mat? So NOT like her. And what is with Elayne and the way she and the rest of the women in this book treat Mat?! Surely there is no way SO many women can be SO arrogant and bitchy at the SAME time!
Mat - Again, didn't have much to do but he's one among the very few characters that is likable in this series now. Poor thing is unfairly treated and used against his will by ALL the women in the book. Would LOVE to see him give them a taste of their own medicine in the future (Give 'em hell from me, Mat!)
Perrin and Faile - The less I say about Faile, the better. I wish someone comes along and kills her already. And, Perrin, honey. The beard? NO. Faile? Even more so. Lord knows what he sees in her.
The Aiel - Fascinating people. Thoroughly enjoyed all the insight into their customs and ways of thinking.
Aes Sedai - I don't think there is a single Aes Sedai left that I like. Starting to miss Moiraine already.
The ending was AWESOME, but it showed up and ended too abruptly to sink in. Can't say I'm looking forward to reading the next.(less)
The premise of this book hits a little too close to home for me to be able to review it so, instead I'm going to leave you with some gifs which accura...moreThe premise of this book hits a little too close to home for me to be able to review it so, instead I'm going to leave you with some gifs which accurately sum up my feelings about the book -
ALTHOUGH, there were three things in the book that irked me, which prompted the rating of four stars instead of five -
1. Augustus calling Hazel by the mouthful "Hazel Grace" all the time. It got annoying. 2. The way John Green couldn't make up his mind if he wanted to refer to his main character as "Augustus" or "Gus", and decided to compromise and alternate between them. 3. The abrupt ending. Yes, yes, I know it was supposed to mirror the Imperial Affliction etc etc, but yeah, I was dissatisfied.
1. DON'T read it just because it's written by JK Rowling. 2. DON'T expect it to be like Harry Potter - i.e, magic...moreHow (not) to read The Casual Vacancy :
1. DON'T read it just because it's written by JK Rowling. 2. DON'T expect it to be like Harry Potter - i.e, magic stuff. (Read the blurb, nimrod) 3. DON'T expect a murder mystery - it isn't one. 4. DON'T read it if you are not comfortable with the fact that the woman who might have moulded your childhood, is writing about drugs, teen sex, prostitution, rape etc. - this book isn't for you. 5. DON'T compare this with her previous works, for the love of God!
When it was announced that Jo Rowling was coming out with a new book, comparisons with the Harry Potter series were inevitable. No matter how many times, and in how many interviews, Jo insisted over and over again that 'THIS IS NOT A HARRY POTTER BOOK NOR IS IT ANYTHING LIKE IT', a small part inside every fan, desperate for another book in the series (understandably), hoped for it anyway.
(And so, when they were invariably proved wrong, there was backlash. Half the negative reviews on Goodreads are because it's 'not a harry potter book', which just pisses me off, so let's not go there)
The Casual Vacancy is as steeped in reality as the Harry Potter books are removed from it. There's nothing fantastical about the story - it's simple and plain, told by holding nothing back.
The characterization in this book is simply mind-blowing. Each and every one of the characters is so very real (I know this word's been thrown around a lot, but seriously, there's no other way to describe them), and authentic. Through the course of the book, they are all ripped apart, dissected with unflinching honesty and laid bare for the readers to see. There are very few likeable characters in the book, whom we can root for and hope that things work out for them eventually, but all of them end up earning our sympathies in the end.
People have said that the characters in this book are not relatable at all. I disagree. Which one of us hasn't felt like a victim of the circumstances - hopeless, unloved, desperate, bullied, frustrated, at the end of our tether - at some point in our lives? We are all in the pages of this book. It's just that our stories are different. I think Jo has expertly managed to capture and show the best and the worst of human behaviour in the book; the worst being the inability to see beyond ourselves and our petty problems, while the best being our capability to change ourselves.
Having said that, the biggest strength of the book is also, unfortunately, its biggest weakness. The setting up of the characters and their lives just takes too long. The plot, if you can call it that, begins to move ahead only after about 300 pages or so. Which was probably the reason why it took me this long to finish the book - I was plodding along until I was so caught up that I couldn't put the book down.
The final few pages of the book were brilliant and typically Jo - sad, yet beautiful and touching at the same time. I don't understand why people say the ending was abrupt. For me, there was absolute and complete closure which left me smiling and feeling content long after I finished reading (Always a sign of a good book!).
I would like to reiterate that 'The Casual Vacancy' will not be for everybody. Some of you will probably give up after the first hundred pages, others will crawl along because it's Jo, and in the hope that she might pull a rabbit out of her hat at the end and surprise you with something "magic-ky" (she doesn't). Quite a few of you will hate it, but that's probably be because this not your genre and you only picked up this book because of Jo, so, in that case, it's not her, it's you.
With this book, Jo has proved beyond a doubt that she can WRITE no matter what the genre is, that she still has that magical ability to tap into some part of us, connect with us and make us care, despite ourselves. However, unlike the Harry Potter books, this book will probably not be changing any lives any time soon (it certainly didn't change mine), but I'm glad to have read it, nonetheless.(less)