Catie's Reviews > Erebos

Erebos by Ursula Poznanski
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bookshelves: for-review, read-in-2012, ya, sci-fi, paranormal
Recommended to Catie by: Janina

2 1/2 stars

“A game you can’t buy. A game that talks to you. A game that watches you, that rewards you, threatens you, gives you tasks.

'Sometimes I think it’s alive…’”

To anyone who’s ever been a MMPORG addict/widow(er) I think this book will be particularly frightening. And to everyone else, who’s sitting there right now, saying…really? Could a game really consume your life like that? I invite you to visit this website, where level 85 World of Warcraft characters are frequently sold for upwards of $1,000. In real currency! I also invite you to consider just how many hours you yourself have devoted to reading book reviews…twitter…random/amazing tumblrs…. I know I’ve definitely been there – sitting in front my computer at midnight thinking…I’ll just do this one more thing…and the next thing I know it’s 3:42 am. I’ve lost so many hours of my life to the internet! It’s all-consuming!

And I actually felt pretty darn consumed by this book for the majority of it. It’s a fast-paced, highly engrossing read that I couldn’t put down. It reads quite a bit like a horror movie, which I loved. The scenes in the game are truly creepy, all the more so because they’re one small step away from a realistic gaming addiction. The main character Nick is a popular, good-looking (…with a ponytail…), entitled jock guy, of the sort that’s common in horror movies. He’s that everyguy who’s realistic and sympathetic, but just arrogant and closed-minded enough that you will really enjoy anticipating his downfall. Plus, he has a thing for the broody artist/poet girl (always a good choice) so that earns him a few more points.

Most of the characters in this book feel realistically young; however, there are a few really incongruous elements and I think that’s where the translation may have gone awry. This book takes place in London supposedly, but just check out some of this dialogue:

“’Get lost!’ Nick bellowed after him. He wanted to run after him, grab him by the collar, and punch his lights out.”

“Just wait – one of these days someone will thump you so hard you won’t know which way is up.”

“Shut your trap, kid.”

“Beat it, sister.”

“And how!”

“Please don’t start with the whys and what-fors.”

It’s as if this version of 2012 London were somehow cast with actors from a 1950’s gangster film. There are also a ton of really abrupt, almost jarring transitions between scenes. One moment Nick is in class, and the next he’s at home with no transition at all. And, there’s an interesting quirk with the narration: when Nick is in Erebos, the book is written in present tense, but when he’s in the real world everything shifts to past tense. I think that was meant to give the world of Erebos more immediacy, but it didn’t really work for me. It just felt odd, like his virtual life was happening in the moment but his real life was a memory. I can’t count how many times I got through a passage in Erebos, only to have my brain stumble over the sudden change to past tense. It was irritating.

This book was sitting at three or four stars until I got to about 80% of the way through. Once the mystery started to become clear…once the man behind the er…monitor… was revealed…I lost interest pretty quickly. There were also several major plot holes (Nicks parents are annoyingly present one moment and conveniently absent the next; Nick goes from broadcasting his search for other Erebos members to a sudden and convenient concern of discovery) that probably wouldn’t have bothered me as much if I had been more engaged.

But what really killed this book for me was the unadulterated cheesiness of the ending. That was a complete "Scooby Doo" ending if ever I've seen one. The only thing missing was the villain shaking his fist and saying, “And I would have gotten away with it too! If it weren’t for you meddling kids!” One of the main characters actually buys a swiss-cheese shaped mug in the final pages, which I can only assume she will use to give a toast to that ending.

Perfect Musical Pairing

Slow Runner – Strange Days

I love that the beginning of this song sounds so much like a video game theme and I think that the line, "put this armor on and say my name" could be a direct quote from that creepy yellow eyed Messenger guy. Only, I guess he'd probably say, "put this armor on and DON'T say my name"...because he's secretive like that.

Also seen on The Readventurer.
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Reading Progress

March 7, 2012 – Started Reading
March 7, 2012 – Shelved
March 7, 2012 – Shelved as: for-review
March 7, 2012 – Shelved as: read-in-2012
March 7, 2012 – Shelved as: ya
March 7, 2012 – Shelved as: sci-fi
March 7, 2012 – Shelved as: paranormal
March 10, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Megan (new)

Megan Swiss cheese shaped mug? What the heck? A wheel of cheese? A wedge of cheese? What about the holes? So baffling!

message 2: by Catie (last edited Mar 16, 2012 09:37AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Catie I have no idea how it works!! Although...I just found this online:


This also came up - completely irrelevant to this review but I just had to share:

I know I've always wanted to eat m&m's out of a toilet.

message 3: by Megan (last edited Mar 17, 2012 01:03AM) (new)

Megan That mug makes so much sense... somehow I kept thinking a wedge of cheese... in mug form? Clearly haven't gotten enough sleep lately, lol!

Decorative toilets shouldn't be limited to candy. It turns out they are quite versatile!


Catie Oh lord. That's so wrong. Why would they choose to put a brown, mushy stew in there? WHY?

message 5: by Megan (new)

Megan Right! Even if that was the world's most tasty stew I just don't think I could dip my spoon in & eat it :/

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