Tag Archives: ya

Ready Player One Review

At the suggestion of a friend I listened to Ready Player One (narrated by Wil Wheaton). I wasn’t really expecting anything amazing, and I wasn’t expecting crap. I got neither, but I am underwhelmed.

Spoilers from this point on.

Ready Player One takes place in a near dystopian future where humanity spends most of its time playing the video game The Oasis. The Oasis is the online RPG where most of the art, culture, scientific knowledge, and anything else you can think of is stored on there with countless people playing the video game at all times. The Oasis was created by James Halliday who was both eccentric and obsessed with pop culture from the eighties ranging from cheesy sitcoms, videogames, blockbusters from the time period, to even Japanese anime and Tokusatsu.

The plot follows Wade Watts, a Gunter (low level Easter Egg Hunter) on his quest to find the three keys that lead to the Easter Egg left in the game data by Halliday in order to gain his company and fortune in a contest to find an heir (kind of like Willie Wonka). Things in Wade’s life begin to change when he discovered the first key leading to the Easter Egg by accident causing a chain effect of many other players in the Oasis video game to discovering that the Easter Egg quest is not a hoax after all.

Along with regular players in the game, Wade also has the competition of the Sixers; employees of the IOI company who aim to win the Easter Egg contest to apply the usual capitalism to The Oasis game and ruin it for everyone. The Sixers have countless resources at their disposal and are willing to even resort to homicide in the real world killing both their targets and innocent civilians that are in their way.

While I didn’t hate the story, I feel like much of the story was devoted primarily to exposition of the world of the Oasis and explaining real life secrets in video games and pop culture with the most obscure references known to only a handful of people at most. After most of the exposition is done the story flows fairly well though; Wade becomes famous by accident, goes from living a shitty home life to a more decent life, gets the girl and loses her (it looks like he eventually gets her in the end though), has a heroic blue screen of death, and saves the day by accident.

My complaint is that we don’t really learn much of the real world beyond the video game (which kind of makes sense because the novel wants us to focus on the game and Wade and his friends defeating big evil capitalists). We don’t know just how awful the real world really is; are all the animals dead? Is there no plant life? How is Saturday Night Live still going into the 2040s, how is the Wil Wheaton administration going? We never get those questions or answers in the novel outside of some minor mentioning from the character Art3mis (the “girl I gotta impress” of the story).

The strongest part of the novel is the pop culture references primarily from the eighties. I was a little shocked that I got more of the Japanese culture references in the book instead of the eighties  culture reference (the writers of Glee would be devastated how little I know of Rush). There really is a little bit of everything the reader can relate to even if the reader isn’t into video games or nerdy related content. If they’re into movies, there’s movie references, tv shows, there’s a reference!

Wil Wheaton’s narration for the audiobook was a nice match for the book; he always kept a humorous tone and was serious when it needed to be. I highly recommend anyone interested to listen to the audiobook.

Views on the film adaption

I was vaguely aware of the film adaption of Ready Player One until recently. I can’t help but feel that Steven Spielberg was going for the last breaths of the dystopian “teens gotta save the world” movie trend that was started by The Hunger Games. Obviously the film adaption can’t stay true to the source material (no chance of getting Super Sentai Spiderman Mecha in this film), but it does look nice to look at so I might enjoy what will be presented to the audience.

While I wasn’t too impressed with Ready Player One, it was a fun and exciting listening experience. I give Ready Player One by Ernest Cline two out of three keys.

Six of Crows Review

Things will be a little different for this review; for the first time I have listened to a story rather than reading it. In an effort to try to read all of Six of Crows before my friend and I could go to Texas Teen Book Festival I purchased the audiobook of Six of Crows. I must say it was an interesting experience.

At first I had thought I could listen to the book while doing schoolwork, but I realized that was not the case with how my mind works in terms of concentration and stories. I did find that listening to the book while cleaning, walking, and waiting was a more enjoyable experience rather than listening and doing work.

The act of listening to a story was a little hard to get use to, especially considering how thick the book is, I actually appreciated that multiple narrators were used for the story rather than relying on one narrator, I couldn’t help but wonder if some of them had background as voice actors in anime at some points. I will admit it was a little more difficult to retain what I listened to and felt things came along far more easily halfway through the story when I started reading the hardcopy book while listening to the story.

Now for the Actual Book Review

I wasn’t sure what to expect when my friend lent me her copy of Six of Crows, all I recall is that she asked me to take a photo of it alongside some lgbt books I had. At the time I took the photo my head was in a whirlwind of life concerns and a week later I wondered what was in the book that it had to have a photo taken alongside my lgbt books.

I was very pleased with the story; I had never really read a heist type of story, especially one like this with nearly all the protagonists ready to kill with only a few of them with actual heroic qualities (Matthias, Inej, Nina) and our primary protagonist Kaz being far from a hero. There’s also Jesper a gambling addict and Wylin who is the only protagonist not to get his own point of view chapter.

There are many moments of cross and doublecross between the protagonists as they are all hired to kidnap a scientist behind a powerful drug that can turn gifted people known as Grisha into nearly unstoppable forces and become addicted to the drug known as parem. The book is a nice relief of uniqueness in the YA I’ve read recently with many high points and my particular favorite character being Nina the Grisha.

My only regret is not being in the best mood when I met the author Leigh Bardugo at the Texas Teen Book Festival as I got her to autograph the copy I purchased for a friend of mine. Unfortunately waiting in lines constantly brought out the worst in me and if you ever read this Leigh Bardugo, I really am sorry for my attitude and please forgive me for not being happy that you took the time to speak with your fans about your book and what they loved about it. Sam I am sorry for bitching half the time while waiting in line.

I give Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Six knives named after saints out of Six.

Star Wars Ahsoka Review

20161017_170720I haven’t kept it a secret that Ahsoka Tano is my favorite character from the Star Wars universe going from annoying token kid character inserted into Clone Wars to appeal to kids, to broken hero, to rebel alliance merger, and beyond. I was excited to discover that my favorite character would be getting her own YA novel this year and was ecstatic to discover I’d have the opportunity to meet the author at Texas Teen Book Festival earlier this month.

I made E.K. Johnston fangirl over a drawing I did of Ahsoka Tano that day and in a complete surprise of kindness she gave me a custom name tag and signed it to me for when I purchased my own copy of the Ahsoka YA book (we both went into bigger fan mode when she told me Ashley Eckstein would be joining her on tour with book signings for the Ahsoka book).

Spoilers from this point on, no I can’t Jedi Mind trick these out of your head.

Ahsoka takes place exactly one year after the events of Order 66 and Empire Day with Ahsoka laying low and trying to live her life as a civilian as opposed to a soldier or Jedi she once was. The aftershock from the betrayal of her friend Barriss Offee still close to Ahsoka’s heart despite Ahsoka participation in the the liberation of Mandalore (for more info on that click here).

The book focuses on Ahsoka’s attempts at helping people fight the empire while addressing her own mixed feelings about being a child soldier in the Clone Wars and having the knowledge that nearly all of her loved ones are dead.

Ahsoka spends a good portion of the book trying to put an end to the military mindset she had during the Clone Wars and trying to remember what was taught to her before the war started. I thought this was an interesting approach brought up in the book since it was a conversation Ahsoka and Barriss had in the early days of the war where Ahsoka wasn’t sure what her life would be like post war and Barriss was under the impression the Jedi would return to a life of peace and meditation.

The book also shows just how Ahsoka got her position as Fulcrum in the rebellion and where she got her white lightsabers. I won’t spoil where she found the kyber crystals and what led to their creation, but I feel it’s very fitting for this portion of Ahsoka’s character arc and life. I was also very pleased to see the topic of Barriss Offee addressed and that it didn’t take up the entire book. It was a topic that I had wondered about for a while and glad to see how Ahsoka recovered from it and became stronger because of the events that caused her to leave the Jedi order.

I think many fans of Ahsoka Tano and Star Wars will enjoy this book very much, E.K. Johnston did a great job of tying the bridge between the Clone Wars tv series and the current Star Wars Rebels series and did justice to such a beloved character.

I give Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston five white lightsabers out of five.

Shifting Genres

There is a humorous show on YouTube called FiftyShadesofGreen/BoozeYourOwnAdventure where I learned quite a bit more about the writing and publishing world than I expected to hear from a video sharing website. I also learned quite a bit about my own reading habits, so today we are going to talk about how sometimes it’s good to shift genres among books.

Signs You Need to Shift

There’s nothing wrong with reading YA, I’ve been reading it since I was eleven and now I’m getting ready to start pushing thirty. However I do have periods of “I’m bored with this,” the first time this happened was the summer of 2013 where I decided I’d read Divergent based off the suggestion that “it’s like The Hunger Games” and that was the problem, it’s like The Hunger Games. I had read dystopian novels such as the Uglies series, The Hunger Games, 1984, Logan’s Run, and some of the Ender’s Game series (until I discovered Orson Scott Card is a hypocrite concerning religion and a homophobic jerk).

I began to just predict things like who our main female protagonist will fall for, who she unwillingly/unknowingly betray, who she loves dearly will be killed, what happens to her family, how her decision alone turned the whole fictional universe on it’s head, etc. It wasn’t with the dystopia genre, it was also with the paranormal genre (we DID have countless Twilight clones for a while), and while I did fully enjoy some of them (the first half of Beastly and Bewitching by Alex Flinn are actually pretty good).

I’m not saying you need to abandon the genre completely, another example was when I started reading The Lunar Chronicles and discovered I liked it alot and things weren’t so predictable (I caught on to what was happening when I discovered Merissa Meyer is quite the Sailor Moon fangirl,) and it was a nice breather from the books I’ve mentioned above and I plan to reread it when I get the opportunity.

I’m also not saying you constantly need to be switching things up, but if one finds themselves bored with reading and have the following symptoms along with it, then you may want to consider something new.

Well Then What do you Mean Shift?

I mean take a break, read something new, shortly after finishing Cress I didn’t know what to read, my friend constantly told me to read The Fault in Our Stars and after three months of nagging, I read it. I actually enjoyed it; despite the subject matter of the book it is very light hearted and brought up new views. Same couldn’t be said for John Green’s other books when I read them, but I did enjoy the shift of genre.

Recently I’ve been reading books from the Doctor Who and Star Wars franchises, mainly because I wanted to discover the fate of Asajj Ventress and because I really like Doctor Who. I’m currently reading two books, Dorothy Must Die and I just started the Longmire series because my dad is a fan.

It’s very relieving to switch between the two books. If I’m not feeling it with one universe, I jump to the other. A third book may be thrown in just incase though.

This is alot shorter than your usual ranting

It’s not a rant, rather a suggestion for people who suffer from what I suffer from at times. It can be applied to tv and music too.

 

Thoughts on The Lunar Chronicles: Winter

WINTER IS HERE! And has been here since November, and yes it’s been two months since I finished winter, but once again higher education takes higher priority than this little blog I do.

Before I get to the spoilers let me say that I was heavily satisfied with the book, the pacing was very well done with an equal amount of screen time dedicated to each protagonist and chapters ending on deadly cliffhangers for each character making me frequently have mini heart attacks one of my favorite characters may die. Now then onto the spoilers.

Spoilers from this if you do not wish to be spoiled do not read beyond this bold text.

First, EVERYONE LIVES YAY! And although my horrible fear of Iko dying or something horrible happening to Cress, or any of the other main protagonists did not happen, this may be a flaw, but I will get to that later.

As I said earlier the pacing between each character was very well done this time, we even got new characters Winter and Jacin enough development to fully flesh out they were and what their motives are in this science fiction adaption of Snow White (also bonus points for making Scarlet the Ruby Red to Winter’s Snow White).

Winter would be a near Mary Sue character for being not only the perfection of beauty both body and soul, but being skilled in not only crafts, but also restoring a home (no really, she rebuilding a house for about two weeks), the thing that keeps her from being a Mary Sue though is the fact that she’s slowly going insane from not using her Lunar Gift and these arts and crafts she does keep her mind occupied thinly preserving her sanity. She’s also resourceful, a little insane in her war strategies, but resourceful. Jacin is a combination of Prince Charming and the Huntsman from the Snow White tale.

We also meet Wolf’s mother, as one would expect she lives long enough to meet Scarlet and dies violently and tragically as any other kind mother would in any other YA book.

As I said earlier each chapter ends with a dramatic cliffhanger for each character giving us the thought that literally any of our protagonists can die with Cress, Cinder, and Iko having the largest amount of cliffhangers that could have lead to their demise.

Unfortunately although I am happy everyone made it out alive (granted they are beaten down pretty bad physically by the end of the novel), that is the primary problem I have with Winter. There is a lot of build up that there will be sacrifices, loved ones will die, ships will be destroyed by death and killing and that there will indeed be consequences for the actions of Cinder and her friends would have to face that just doesn’t happen. Excluding the entire city of Lunar refugees and those killed during the lunar civil war we only have about six named protagonists die.

I give The Lunar Chronicles Winter four and a half lunar apple flavored candies out of five.

Thoughts on Fangirl

Happy New year everyone who reads this. Let’s skip all the holiday stuff and go straight towards my thoughts on Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Generally around Christmas time I was exhausted from shopping with my mother and forgot to bring a book/my ereader with me. Luckily we were breifly at a Target and I walked to the book section
I gazed through the books available and I had the choice between John Green books and other YA novels. I then saw Fangirl and it sparked my interest because the plot involved a girl who was a big fan of a Harry Potter expy. She wrote fanfiction and entered college with the intention of becoming a writer. THe book follows Cath, a fangirl who is abnormal to the rest of the world since she is a fangirl.
Her twin sister Wren was once a fangirl too, but wants to move on with life.
Spoilers Start Here.
Generally through most of the book Wren is a bitch. She behaves recklessly during her first two semesters of college while our hero Cath is concerned with her school work and keeping up with her fanfiction for Simon Snow.
I like that the book concentrates primarily on Cath adjusting to a life outside of her comfort zone and I like that Rainbow Rowell had Cath slowly adjust to living like a normal person without sacrificing any of her fangirl mannerisms.
The only problem I had with the books is when Cath reads her fanfiction to her love interest Levi and while it is sweet that the two bond over her reading out loud to him, I wasn’t interested at all in hearing about her fanfiction (if I don’t read fanfiction in real life why would I read fictional fanfiction,) generally the fanfic portions of the book can be skipped without missing much of the plot.
Although the book was entertaining, I feel a little misled. I still give the book a B-.