Books, fantasy, great reads, Reviews, scifi

Ready Player Two…

Ready Player One

Okay so the book is called Ready Player One by Ernest Cline but (and I know many of you will find this shocking) I have played a few video games from my childhood on and ALWAYS when its been an option I am player two. So when I realized what this title meant I could actually see the words READY PLAYER TWO blinking behind my eyes and I got that old rush of adrenaline. Now if you’ve played the old video games you know the anticipation I’m talking about, the one where you been waiting for your friend/sibling,  cough, cough..SISTER to finally die off you you could get your turn. It was fun to take a walk down memory lane and Ready Player One will definitely remind you of any old games, movies, tv shows, etc from the 80’s. But lucky it proved to be more than that. First the blurb!

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

I liked this book. A lot. And I was really nervous to start it, first because everyone was talking about how amazing it was, which whether you want it to or not, set my expectations higher, and then I had decided to read it myself. Normally that would be a good thing but other problem was I was reading the book not listening to it. It sounds silly when I type it but that’s how I felt. Many of the reviews that I read included the fact that they loved Wil Wheaton’s audio version and I’m not the biggest audio book person so I went back and forth on this one. Queued this book a few times in both formats. It got kinda ridiculous. But finally I buckled down and just got the read copy of this book, and took it seriously. Here’s my official thoughts.

I loved the concept of this book. I’m not talking about all the 80’s stuff that reminded me of being a kid, I mean the actual story. In fact I found this idea interesting, I loved the fact that gamers (or gunters as they were called in this book) didn’t solve the puzzle instantly. In fact some puzzles took years to solve, love that! Also I really like the main characters, Wade/Parzival, Aech, Art3mis, Daito and Shoto. I found them funny and geeky, easy to read, most of the time, and liked their interaction.  I even loved the evil Sixers and their leader Sorrento (as bad guys of course) thought they played their part well and loved cheering against them. Okay I also enjoyed some of the 80’s references. I’m not sure how realistic it is to think that all these kids in the future would love everything 80’s, but it was fun to remember things from my childhood and IT’S FICTION PEOPLE..that means made up. So it’s okay that not everything is realistic.

So what didn’t I like. Well I think that Ernest Cline is a fantastic writer. There where parts that were like poetry to me in his book, he could paint a picture in my head with a few sentences. So that’s why I know that he didn’t have to go off on three page rants about random things, or I felt he didn’t have to, he just wanted to rant and then summarize the whole thing at the end of the chapter. I let him get away with it because I loved the story, enjoyed the trip down memory lane, and had fun with the character. Had this book not been firing on all cylinders for me, this review might be very different. Also this was a rare occasion when I wish there was zero romance. I get that he’s a hormonal boy so it made sense I guess but I would have preferred if it wasn’t even in this book, and I’m always the one hoping someone will get together so that just shows you how much I was into the actual quest.

In the end I think this is a very worthy read, especially if you like the blurb. I’ll be curious to see though what I think of other books by Cline. I might love them, I’ll never know until I read!

 

 

 

Books, fantasy, great reads, Reviews, Urban Fantasy

Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Marked in Flesh

Oh wow this was an emotional roller coaster for me. I actually waited 24 hours before I wrote this post. First the blurb and then I’ll tell you how I feel, and keep it spoiler free.

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.


But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs…

The first 50% I spent just wanting anything to break the suffocating tension. And the last 50%? It wasn’t like a bubble bursting, more like something dropped down a steep incline, you never will stop it but at first you think you can catch it then it moves faster and faster until you just have to let it go. And the end, ugh just a touch of sweetness. Amazing! I would tell you more but I feel it’s impossible without discussing something that might spoil it for you.

If you follow the series read the other three don’t short yourself and miss this. I would not recommend starting this series with this book though, start at the beginning with Written in Red

trust me it’s amazing!

Books, great reads, indie author, Reviews, scifi

Extant by Anthony Vicino

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Anthony Vicino is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. So when he sent me this story and asked if I would read it I said of course! then I realized I already owned it..I know, it’s sad when you get a book more than once. Don’t deny it, you know you’ve all fought with Amazon demanding to buy a book that they refuse to let you click on, and then after 10 minutes of you being sure that the whole system is broken and you’re convinced you are going to have to call customer service you finally read what’s on the screen and you realize that it’s been trying to tell you this whole time that you already own the book. No? That’s just me? Okay then moving on…

Let’s start with the blurb, totally snatched from goodreads: Manipulating time always comes at a cost. For Special Agent Kaelyn Kwon, Blinking means living with one foot in the past and one foot in the present. Torn between memories of what was, and what could have been, she must use her power to decide what is yet to be.
A 10,000 word short adventure filled with action, time travel, and intrigue!

It is a shortie, I originally owned it in an anthology called The Time Travel Chronicles but since I still haven’t gotten around to reading the whole thing I’m going to stick to just talking about this story.

What I really liked about this book was the concept. You’ve got this place where people can control time, but it’s limited to 32 seconds (there are reasons for this, reasons I accept) and three different abilities. You have ones who can move forward in time, backwards, or freeze time. My favorite part was when three of them were working together, it was backwards, forward, forward, forward, backwards, stop, forwards, (please don’t quote me on that order I just made it up) but it felt like a rush constant time flipping I felt the craziness of that and loved it. Also as Anthony does so well there was an standard plot rescue mission and then the deeper psychological plot of how time travel effected the traveler.

This story did leave me with many questions about the world and the players within but it was a great read and from what I understand a great set up for the next book to come. It’s on sale now for $0.99 from Amazon, you know what I’ll even be nice and throw up a link for you to go grab it. Support your local indie author today, and read a fun short story, everyone wins!

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