This book satisfied the need I have to nerd vicariously. Although I'm not a computer person/gamer in real life, I enjoy experiencing it in books.
The...moreThis book satisfied the need I have to nerd vicariously. Although I'm not a computer person/gamer in real life, I enjoy experiencing it in books.
The book is about a giant video game scavenger hunt. The winner will inherit the entire fortune of James Halliday, aka the creator of the Oasis - the virtual world everyone is living in since the world of the 2040s is so horribly bleak. Wade/Parzival/Z is 18 and living in the laundry room of his aunt's trailer. He's a "gunter" - one of the die-hard computer geeks dedicated to finding the silver egg left by Halliday. He's spent the last five years of his life memorizing everything to do with Halliday, including every movie or TV show Halliday ever mentioned in his almanac and mastering every video game mentioned or created by Halliday. There's adventure, suspense, violence, Max Headroom, and even love.
The book was fun, well-written, and read by Wil Wheaton. It wasn't especially deep, the message was a little over-stated, and sometimes the video game and movie name-dropping got a teeny bit tiresome, so I only gave it four stars. The amount of fun and excitement it added to my life might have warranted five stars if it weren't for those three things.
I've already recommended this book to every teenager, gamer, and geek I know.
Todd Hewitt is being raised by Ben and Cillian in a small settlement of men called Prentisstown on another planet. His mother died along with all the...moreTodd Hewitt is being raised by Ben and Cillian in a small settlement of men called Prentisstown on another planet. His mother died along with all the other women when he was very young. Everyone can hear everything going on in everyone else's head, which they call Noise. And that's the effect. Constant, excessive noise. Todd explains that that doesn't mean you know what people are thinking, because thoughts aren't always true. If you always see everything, there's too much and you can't process it. Fantasies are mixed in with memories and nightmares and plans and ideas and thoughts about whatever is happening at the moment. Todd has been told that all the women died when the Spackle - the local aliens - unleashed the Noise germ during the war. But then he finds a girl in the swamp, and the unraveling of everything in his world starts.
It's going to be too hard to go any farther without spoilers. It's a great book, and I think anyone who likes YA dystopian sci-fi adventure stories would probably enjoy this.
This book has major literacy and information overload themes. Here's an example:
"That's what New World is: Informayshun [sic], all the time, never stopping, whether you want it or not...And too much informayshun can drive a man mad. Too much informayshun becomes just Noise." As a librarian and a professional filterer of the Noise, I like this message.
Also, reading is a big deal in this book, because in Prentisstown, reading is banned. All the books have been burned, there isn't school anymore, and the main character struggles to read even the simplest - and most crucial - words ("You must warn them" looks like yowoo moost waren taheem, which isn't very helpful). In case the reader misses the fact that this is important, Todd suffers an intense amount of shame from his inability to read, and is lectured on the importance of reading by another of the characters.
The title is kind of long, and when you say it people say, "The what? The Knight? The what?" because it doesn't make sense until you read the book. But that isn't a problem with the story. In fact, when you're reading it, since the knife is so central it's practically a character itself, it actually is a good title.
The only other thing that bothered me was the horrible cliff hanger at the end, which I discovered when I skipped ahead to the last page two nights ago, and which I found out last night was even worse than I thought because of all the drama that happened in the pages leading up to it. I can't wait to read the next one!(less)