Disclaimer : If you have not yet read the blurb for this book, DO NOT READ IT - It gives away way, WAY too much information. (But...moreFuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
Disclaimer : If you have not yet read the blurb for this book, DO NOT READ IT - It gives away way, WAY too much information. (But if you are of the kind that believes that it's the journey and not the destination, then go right ahead).
If you've already read the blurb then the mindfuck factor of this book lessens considerably, but the ending will still make you gasp and say "What?! What?!" for about 10 minutes straight.
Recommended for those who like works by Gillian Flynn.(less)
* Cath - a slash fanfic writing hermit with zero social skills, who just wants to be left alone in her room with her laptop and her S...more3.5 stars
* Cath - a slash fanfic writing hermit with zero social skills, who just wants to be left alone in her room with her laptop and her Simon Snow memorabilia (I can relate to that, more than I'd like to admit)
* The thinly-veiled nod to Harry Potter in the form of Simon Snow and his magical world
Simon Snow is an 11-year-old orphan from Lancashire who is recruited to attend the Watford School of Magicks to become a magician. As he grows older, Simon joins a group of magicians — the Mages — who are fighting the Insidious Humdrum, an evil being trying to rid the world of magic
(The "spells" made me laugh out loud! Observe - "Up, up and away!", "Presto chango!", "Olly olly oxen free!" and a seventh-year spell that requires you to click your heels and say "There's no place like home!")
* The utter lack of exploration of any relationship apart from Cath's and Levi's. Seriously, even that of Cath's and Wren's (her twin sister!) left much to be desired. Her absentee mom? Nada. She came in abruptly and left just as abruptly. Nothing beyond that.
* Abrupt dismissal of Cath's Fanfic Magnum Opus. Where the hell is the story she was desperately trying to meet the deadline for? Whatever happened to it?!
* Extracts of Simon Snow books added in between chapters. While entertaining, they were unnecesary and jarring.
The writing is pretty good for a debut author. Plot is intriguing but the execution somehow felt a bit flat for me. The reasoning behind Jame...more3.5 stars
The writing is pretty good for a debut author. Plot is intriguing but the execution somehow felt a bit flat for me. The reasoning behind James's action could have been explored further, but overall an engaging enough read.(less)
All in all, a good book, but, come on, who didn't see the plot-twist coming a mile away?!
The ending was a bit lackluster for me, since after the big...moreAll in all, a good book, but, come on, who didn't see the plot-twist coming a mile away?!
The ending was a bit lackluster for me, since after the big reveal there was a sudden change in the (view spoiler)[tenses (People who were, till then, saying "Finn is" abruptly began saying "Finn was" instead) (hide spoiler)], as well as, character behaviour (Celeste, especially. In the beginning she behaved as though she was completely oblivious to her kookiness, but at the end we got the "I'm not crazy, you know, I know how I behave" speech, which felt very unreal to me).
I sort of found Matt utterly unbelievable. I mean, according to the blurb, he had "the social skills of a spool of USB cable" but throughout he was going around flirting with Julie, making smooth, witty retorts with complete ease, and even went on a date which ended in a make-out session(!). Not buying it, Park.
And who is Julie, anyway? I felt her character exploration left a lot to be desired - her relationship with her father, especially!
Bottom line - Could have been a lot better.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book should have been named "Nick and Adam's big love melodrama". It has, sadly, barely-there paranormal elements with most of the focus on Nick...moreThis book should have been named "Nick and Adam's big love melodrama". It has, sadly, barely-there paranormal elements with most of the focus on Nick and Adam's relationship.
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)
There are five things I can say that'll make you want to read this book -
1. It's BRILLIANTLY written by (the always awesome) Jonathan Stroud. 2. It's...moreThere are five things I can say that'll make you want to read this book -
1. It's BRILLIANTLY written by (the always awesome) Jonathan Stroud. 2. It's a deliciously eerie spookfest, just in time for Halloween. 3. Main characters don't fall in love with each other. 4. Speaking of - BEST. CHARACTERS. EVER! 5. It has a sequel (Eep!)(less)
I'm not really the sort of person who needs to have all her questions answered by the end of the book. I don't sit and dissect every book I read, tryi...moreI'm not really the sort of person who needs to have all her questions answered by the end of the book. I don't sit and dissect every book I read, trying to figure out the allegories, once I'm done - I'm mainly in for the ride. Make the story and the world it's set in (not to metion the writing) plausible and I'm a happy camper. So, it's not wonder that The Archived (where, though the world-building is not fully explained away, it is enough to make you think "A library for the dead? Sure, why not.") compelled me to stay up half the night and finish it in one sitting by reading it for 5 hours straight. Yep, for me, it was THAT good.
How do I love thee, dear book? Let me count the ways....
1. Lovely characterisation. All the (main) characters are neatly fleshed out. Even Da, who is only seen in flashbacks, is written about in such a way that even the few scenes he's in, speaks volumes about him. 2. Oh, the brillaint writing! The crippling pain of the loss of a loved one, the aftermath where you deal with it and try to move on, and the mental anguish of seeing them again but knowing it's them but also not them, but just a record of their memories, is captured so beautifully that if you don't shed a tear or two at a particular point in the book (you'll know which one when you come across it), then I DECLARE YOU HAVE A HEART OF STONE. 3. Not only is the male romantic interest a charming, sweet, witty, eyeliner guyliner-wearing goth, who is also NOT tortured or angsty or broody, and has had a completely normal childhood (all things considering), THANK GOD, but also, also, the romance in the book is so subtle that it, refreshingly, doesn't intrude upon the main story. One extra star for this book, just for that. 4. I admit, I could have done with more info on the Archive, the Returns and the Narrows, how things work, how the Keepers, Librarians and the Crew are chosen, etc. etc., but did I mention it's a LIBRARY for the DEAD? (view spoiler)[(If you had the chance to see a loved one, who is long gone, again; remember how they looked, how their touch felt, again; spend just 5 minutes with them, again, even though you KNOW it's not exactly them but just an echo of who they used to be when they were alive, would you take it?) (hide spoiler)] 5. The mystery of the Archive, the rouge Librarian, the source of all the chaos happening in the Narrows was neatly done. It kept me guessing till the end (I was half-right) but the final reveal did shock me - it was not even close to what I was expecting. (view spoiler)[I think I've said too much. (hide spoiler)] 6. IT HAS A SEQUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)