This was a great read, though it loses a star for all the infodumps for world-building in the beginning, as well as some in the middle too. Oh, and doThis was a great read, though it loses a star for all the infodumps for world-building in the beginning, as well as some in the middle too. Oh, and don't read anything into the fact it took me a couple of weeks to read it. I actually didn't want to put it down, but I had other obligations in the middle.
I am a child of the eighties, so this story appealed to me greatly. My husband was highly entertained watching my face and listening to me reminisce about lots of stuff. I could hear the Pac Man arcade sounds in my head as I'm reading about Parzival playing the game, and of course there are all the music and movie and TV show references that I am well familiar with and love to pieces. There are such great references in this book! (And if you're not familiar with them, give them a try.)
The dystopia of this universe reminded me just a touch of an episode of the TV series seaQuest DSV in which the entire society played in a virtual reality game to the exclusion of going out to meet in person any longer. In this near future dystopia, everyone who can afford to get the gear to log in and has a quarter to open an account can play inside the OASIS, which started as an MMO and grew into the social medium of the future. An energy crisis causes massive worldwide shortages of fuel and jobs, and reality is so dim that everyone turns to the OASIS to escape it. The kids who can afford it learn in virtual schools. Businesses open virtual storefronts. OASIS currency is more valuable than physical currency.
And then the primary programmer of the OASIS, James Halliday, dies, and he leaves an "Easter egg" in the game, as well as clues to find it, and the first person who does find it inherits his full forture and the keys to the OASIS. The people who are serious about hunting for the egg are call "gunters." They spend every spare moment they have learning everything they can about James Halliday and his passions in the hope of finding the egg. The main character we follow through the story, Wade Watts aka Parzival, is a gunter. Six years after Halliday's death, still no one has found the first key from the first clue.
And then there is the big, multi-national conglomerate known as IOI which wants to take over the OASIS and commercialize it, much to the public's dismay, especially the gunters. IOI does everything they can to ruin the spirit of the egg hunt, and when they can't legally take over the company, they try to take over the egg hunt. The people they hire and play the game are known as "Sixers" (because they are all identified by their 6-digit IOI Employee ID numbers). They buy up special game artifacts, they try to buy information off gunters, and they pull some super dirty tricks when they feel threatened once some gunters beat them to the first key.
After the first key is discovered, the race is on for the gunters to try to keep ahead of IOI's Sixers. Though many gunters banded together into clans to egg hunt, Parzival and his friends prefer to work alone, but they find themselves having to sometimes work together to try to overcome the odds that IOI throws at them.
It is a really well thought out story. It's not as political as The Hunger Games trilogy turned out to be in the end. For me, it has more of a Rollerball feel to it because it's the individuals against the corporation in a future dystopia, but without the sports angle of Rollerball.
It's fairly big on eighties video game (and movie) culture, but you don't have to know the geek references to read it - they are explained however much is necessary to understand why it means something within the story. (There were a lot of geeky details about games in the eighties that I wasn't aware of, and all were sufficiently explained.)
If the rumors are true that they're making this into a movie, you can guarantee that I will be in line to see it. (Especially if Spielberg is attached!) This should turn into a fabulous movie, because it'll have to show visuals of the universe with a maybe 5-10 minute prologue instead of dumping all that backstory in narrative.
So, if you can get past the massive world-building and geek culture info dumps in the book, and you love the eighties, it's definitely worth reading. Would I read anything else by this author? I don't know. It depends on subject matter primarily, and I would probably read an excerpt to see if the info-dumping lessened.
(P.S. for anyone who read my in progress notes: I was wrong about the noise in the Basement prediction.)...more
For what it was, it was okay. It's a bit similar to Midnight Secretary without the paranormal element. I liked Midnight Secretary better. The editingFor what it was, it was okay. It's a bit similar to Midnight Secretary without the paranormal element. I liked Midnight Secretary better. The editing got in the way of this story for me.
We have no reason to care about these characters. It pretty much jumps straight into sex after the briefest of character introductions. It's erotica. It's simple. It pretty much ignores anything which should have caused an amount of internal struggle. (Harassment concerns, being fired, condoms, getting pregnant (because she should "have a couple of days" before she has to worry about it)) Just threw all of that out the window, when addressing any of those could've made it a stronger story. The story ended before the point where those things would be discussed, sadly.
2.5 stars, rounded down because it doesn't have rereadability for me....more
I liked the ending, but also didn't exactly like it the first time I read throFirst: (view spoiler)[Dammit, Finnick died. I liked him. (hide spoiler)]
I liked the ending, but also didn't exactly like it the first time I read through it. (I admit to hurrying because of something else I had to do tonight. That was part of it.) The rest of this is all spoilery.
(view spoiler)[ At first I thought the ending with Gale was a bit of a cop-out, that she never sought him out at all after the trial was over, or tried to speak or be friends again that we know of. On rereading the end, I'm better with it. I understand better that she'll never get over the pain of wondering about the bomb and Prim and how much of a part Gale had in that. I'd like to think that wouldn't entirely kill a friendship, but yeah. I was actually rooting for Gale. (I considered him the underdog of the two guys, honestly.) The author did a very credible job of getting me to buy into Gale not being the right guy for her, though.
(I'm probably the only person wondering what the hell they did for birth control for all those years, but then I'm a perv like that. =P )
I loved Katniss's and Finnick's reaction to the Holo displaying all the pods. That scene was priceless.
I'm so glad Katniss took out Coin. I wish Boggs had been alive to give his opinion on the matter, honestly. (hide spoiler)]
Anyway, not the happiest of book series, but definitely one of the best I've read this year....more
And from what I understand, it will only get worse.
The whole concept of psychological warfare on this lAll I can say is: Wow, that is pretty twisted.
And from what I understand, it will only get worse.
The whole concept of psychological warfare on this level is diabolical and completely mind-boggling. But the dogs? That left me utterly speechless.
For what it's worth, I saw the movie first. And it's an excellent movie. I was impressed with what little they needed to change to switch the book from first person POV to the necessary third person POV for the movie. But the impact is so much greater from the book.
After all that? That ending was crap. (view spoiler)[That wasn't HEA or HFN and it didn't even leave me feeling there was a potential for happiness inAfter all that? That ending was crap. (view spoiler)[That wasn't HEA or HFN and it didn't even leave me feeling there was a potential for happiness in the future. Seriously, the dragon who fears she is the last of her kind gets a romp before she has to fly off, but Eragon gets to know that Arya loves him but they don't get to be together, not even a final kiss. At least Aragorn and Arwen got to be together in the end of LotR. I seriously felt like Murtagh and Nasuada had a better chance for happiness. (hide spoiler)]
So maybe I have learned a lot more about writing in the last year than I thought, but this is the biggest disappointment I have read in the last decade. With a few exceptions the first 223 pages are a waste of time. When the story finally gets to more necessary details, you have to wade through the myriad of unnecessary ones to find them.
This story needed an editor to reign him in. Instead, they thought it was the next Harry Potter and let the author do whatever he wanted. There are so many unnecessary scenes and details that I wanted to skip over, but didn't for fear of missing the one thing that makes a future difference. Overall, I feel like I wasted a lot of my time.
The last half of the book moved better than the first half. The last 100+ pages are all aftermath though. And I could have done without the last chapter. I'd rather imagine my own ending at this point.