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)
A short, but compelling story that will make you think and question the world you've come to know and trust. Actually, no, let...moreThis, then, is dystopia.
A short, but compelling story that will make you think and question the world you've come to know and trust. Actually, no, let me correct myself. It is not so much a story as a subtle revelation of the fragile existence of mankind which throws a harsh light on just how much we think we know and how much we actually do, on how everything we think or say or do has consequences but how largely ignorant we remain of that fact, and how we still fear that which is unknown and to what extent we let this fear govern us.
Please do pick up Genesis, if you are the kind that likes a book that makes you think and turn everything you think you know, upside down. If you aren't the kind, pick it up anyway. Afterall, "A society that fears knowledge is a society that fears itself."(less)
Not bad, not bad at all! But the reason behind it all - the existence of hybrids, the reason for their oppression, the isolation of...more3.5 stars out of 5
Not bad, not bad at all! But the reason behind it all - the existence of hybrids, the reason for their oppression, the isolation of the Americas from the other continents - wasn't explained in-depth, and it left me vaguely dissatisfied.(less)
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.
It's always the case - The books you go into with the least amount of expectations are almost always the ones to blow you away.
Neal Shusterman has an...moreIt's always the case - The books you go into with the least amount of expectations are almost always the ones to blow you away.
Neal Shusterman has an incredible Voice, and knows how to tell a story with it. Unwind is an extremely good piece of writing with some solid characters that stay with you for a long time. The book is disquietingly realistic and scary as hell, and whatever flaws in the book, are forgivably small.
(view spoiler)[BUT JESUS THE SCENE WHERE ROLAND HAS TO LIE THERE AND WATCH THEM CUT HIS BODY INTO PIECES MY GOD WHAT WAS UP WITH THAT SHIT IT WAS GUT-WRENCHING IT FELT LIKE SOMEONE PUNCHED THE AIR OUT OF ME I ALMOST THREW UP MY LUNCH THE FUTURE IS A TERRIBLE TIME TO LIVE IN
I'm tempted to file this under "horror". I'm still collecting my thoughts about this one.
Jeff Winston dies in Oct, 1988. And finds himself back in 196...moreI'm tempted to file this under "horror". I'm still collecting my thoughts about this one.
Jeff Winston dies in Oct, 1988. And finds himself back in 1963, in his college dorm room, reliving his whole life over again. Freaked out beyond words at first, he slowly begins to realise he's got the chance to start with a clean slate, to do things differently this time. Only it doesn't end. He dies and relives his life over and over and over again.
What would you do if you had to relive your life? Would you make money by gambling off big sport events? Would you take that Art course you always wished you had taken up? Would you try and prevent World disasters and save millions of lives in the process? What about the people you come to love, children you bear and raise, knowing fully well you'll die again soon? But where would it stop, when would it stop? How long can you endure living and dying repeatedly?
Ken Grimwood skillfully takes us through Jeff's, and Pamela's (another "replayer"), journey making us question our choices in life and missed opportunities in the process. He subtly reminds us that our time on this earth is short and shouldn't be wasted in doing things that bring us no happiness. A bit preachy, but it works.
Here's a quick review of the book by a critic, that I found on Wikipedia, which perfectly sums up my thoughts about it in a way I'm unable to -
"Yet in spite of all the pain and anguish we go through as we follow Jeff through his search for an understanding of why he is replaying his life, the book has some important things to say to the reader. First, life is full of endless happenings that we have little control over. We should live our lives with our eyes set upon the horizon and never look back, controlling those things we can and giving no second thought to those events out of our hands.
Second, given that we only have one life to live (Jeff is never sure he will replay again with each heart attack) we should live it to the fullest extent possible and with the least regret for our actions. Everybody makes mistakes; the point is not to dwell on them but to pick ourselves up and keep on going. Keep moving ahead.
Third, choices must be made — we cannot avoid them. The only failure is to live a life without risks. In fact, I believe Jeff Winston would advise risking everything for those you love and for the life you want for them and with them. To not experience risk is to fail. And what does Replay have to say to a poor, old man like me who is still going though his mid-life crisis? Just this — that every year will be new. Every day a new chance to begin again. There can be no mid-life crisis when we are living each day to the fullest extent possible.
From what Jeff Winston has taught me, I would define mid-life crisis as a period of selfishness when we turn inward and think only of ourselves. Jeff inspires us to look outward toward others and think less of ourselves."
If YOU had to relive your life, what would you do differently? (less)
What would you do, if you could sneak a peek at your future?
Fifteen-year olds Josh and Emma have somehow stumbled upon Facebook in the year 1996 when...moreWhat would you do, if you could sneak a peek at your future?
Fifteen-year olds Josh and Emma have somehow stumbled upon Facebook in the year 1996 when AOL was still taking baby steps and dial-up was the only way you could connect to the internet. There they see their lives spread out in front of them in the form of status updates and profile pictures.
Unable to restrain themselves they begin tampering with their present so that they can have the perfect future they always wanted. Unfortunately, they quickly realise that everything they say or do or even think can create ripple effects and change their future right before their eyes. But then again, is what they see on Facebook how they want their lives to end up as?
The premise involving the "Butterfly Effect" is very interesting and is something that I've been fascinated with for a long time. The fact that something as innocuous as an idle thought can affect the rest of your life is mind-blowing and I wish there was a career to be made out of simply pondering, and hopefully unraveling, life's mysteries - I would happily spend the rest of my life doing it!
The authors could have done so much with such an amazing story line but I felt it was a bit underused in a chick-lit novel - It would have seemed more at home in a dystopian setting, in my opinion. However, be that as it may, the book was a nice, engaging read - nothing to write home about but one that kept me interested enough to devote an afternoon to it.
The characters were a bit lacking in their development. Emma was your usual angsty, whiny, teenage-y girl who couldn't make up her mind about which guy she likes the most. Josh was more likeable than Emma but that's about it on him. The secondary characters Tyson and Kellan were MUCH more interesting and I wish the focus had been a bit more on them and their future, than the other two.
It's like the seventh book didn't even happen. Eoin Colfer is back with a bang, and how!
The Last Guardian ...more4.5 stars for the entire series as a whole!
It's like the seventh book didn't even happen. Eoin Colfer is back with a bang, and how!
The Last Guardian has :
- Criminal Mastermind Juvenile Genius, Artemis Fowl, back in full form and all his brainiac glory. - Captain Holly Short, as kick-ass as ever. - Butler, still hoping his primary's end-of-the-world shenanigans stop for good, soon! - Myles and Beckett Fowl, Artemis's four-year old siblings. Twins. (God help the world!) - Foaly, as vain and awesome as ever (Seriously. How cool was his rescue of Caballine in almost-but-not-quite-the-end? Dude!) - Mulch Diggums, still saving everyone's backside (pun intended) after they've gone and messed things up (as usual), thank you very much! - Evil Mastermind, Opal Koboi, the deranged and psychotic pixie who wants to be the Empress of all and refers to herself as "Mommy" to her minions. (Guys, she is baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack....) - Beserkers, Opal's unwitting minions. Ghosts in need of a body to possess for killing humans and who will not be put off by the choice of bodies available, be it alive or dead, and be it human or a couple of oblivious, and extremely unlucky, ducklings. - Non-stop action. - Extremely hilarious and witty zingers peppered generously throughout the book.
The thing I LOVE about Colfer is how brillaintly planned his stories are! For example, a completely innocuous thing that happened in the first page of the book will turn out to be important to the plot in the very last page. This, in sharp contrast to some "authors" I could mention who make things up by the page and hope that we wouldn't notice!
But, the ending of The Last Guardian. Hmmm. I don't know, you guys. I'm conflicted. On one hand, I liked it - there was closure (sort of), BUT, on the other hand, I also...didn't like it?
It was missing an epilogue and, trust me, the book really, really needed one, in my opinion. (view spoiler)[I wanted to know what happened to everybody and how they set about coping in the "new world" what with technology everywhere being destroyed... (hide spoiler)]
Judge it for yourself when you read it. Which should be any second now. Why are you still here? GO READ!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)