Category Archives: sci-fi

Ready Player One

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This novel is pure nostalgia in a lot of ways. While I didn’t grow up in the ’80’s, the movies, music, and television from that era are so pervasive in American society and pop culture. John Hughes movies are still shown on television as are TV shows like Family Ties and Square Pegs. Turn on any classic rock station and you can find Pat Benatar and Foreigner. I really enjoyed reliving many of the classics I grew up watching and finding out new ones. Ernest Cline knows the decade well.

I loved how the novel incorporated so many elements. It’s like playing a real video game at times in your head as the characters battle it out in the OASIS. The theme of the blurring of reality and fantasy was so well done. And is just as pervasive in our world. This is the reason many people read. To escape their own reality for a little while and enter someone else’s. And in the OASIS, that’s exactly what happens. Your world erases and you are allowed to build a new one. You can create a character to be anything you want. There are no limitations.

That is why, in Cline’s Ready Player One, the OASIS is so popular. The real world around them has crumbled and they’ve retreated into the comfort of the OASIS. Enter the main character Wade, better known as Parzival. He’s a self made gunter, a person hunting for Halliday’s famed Easter Egg and his fortune. Halliday was the creator of the OASIS and when he died he left behind him the greatest game he ever made, the hunt for the Egg and for his massive fortune.

During the journey for the Egg, Wade begins to realize that perhaps virtual reality is not all it’s cracked up to be. Nowhere is perfect. It may be easier to hide behind your avatar but rarely does the easy path lead to change.

Rating: 4.5/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Pop Reading Challenge. Happy reading!

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Coming Soon!

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Next up in the Pop Reading Challenge is a book that is going to be an upcoming movie. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to read for this challenge. A lot of the “books becoming movies” I’ve read before or came out last year. Finally I found Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. When I worked in my local bookstore we could not keep this book on the shelves. Customer after customer would tell me how amazing the novel was and how much they liked it. I finally got my hands on a copy of my own and decided why not.

The premise of the novel sounds spectacular. I love the ’80s, though I haven’t played many video games myself. I can’t wait to see how ’80’s pop culture is incorporated into the novel and what quest the characters will find themselves on.

Stay tuned for the full review of Ready Player One. Happy reading!

Rivers of London

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Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch reads like a hybrid between a Doctor Who episode and a police procedural. In a way it’s not surprising since Ben Aaronovitch has written two serials for Doctor Who about Daleks.

Rivers of London is the first book in a series by Aaronovitch about police detective/wizard Peter Grant. It doesn’t take the novel long to reveal it’s magic elements to the reader. The first element introduced is the ghost Nicholas Wallpenny. Grant sees Wallpenny while investigating another crime and Wallpennt gives Peter details about the crime. The crime itself has it’s supernatural elements as well. A man seems to appear and disappear without ever being caught on camera.

As Peter delves deeper into the mystery he is confronted by the head wizard in the police department, Nightingale, and asked to join as his apprentice. Grant then becomes the first English apprentice wizard in over 70 years. As the apprentice, Peter must practice and hone his magical abilities as well as solve two seemingly unconnected cases.

In one case he must find an entity that is possessing people and forcing them to kill, and in the other Peter must make peace between the gods of the River Thames. As the novel unfolds the connection between the cases becomes clearer.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the protagonist, Peter Grant, and the way he interacts with those around him. I did, however, find this novel a bit hard to follow in terms of the plot. It read very much like a TV show, abrupt cuts and all. But whereas in a TV show you have visuals that connect these scenes together, in the book it left me a bit lost.

Even with a few plot holes, I would love to read the other books in the series and see what’s next for Peter Grant and Nightingale.

Rating: 4/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

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At first the plot line of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency isn’t quite clear. It’s a little bit of everything. The story starts off with Richard MacDuff attending a dinner at his Cambridge Alma Matter with an old professor named Professor Chronitis. During the dinner the professor performs a magic trick that seems nearly impossible. He takes a salt shaker and a clay pot and then fuses the two together. It’s not until after dinner that Richard realizes he forgot to pick up his girlfriend Susan, the sister of his boss Gordon Way. He leaves an awkward message on her answering machine that will later incriminate him in the untimely death of his boss.

It’s this message that brings Richard and his old pal Dirk Gently together. Having taken many names before Dirk is now running his own P.I. business where he believes that all things are connected together in some fashion or other. Using very unorthodox methods, Dirk begins to work out what happened to Gordon Way and it’s far more complicated than a simple homicide.

There’s the Electric Monk, an alien from outer space trapped on Earth, and a time traveling professor who’s managed to hide his time machine disguised as his apartment. While he unravels the death of Gordon Way, clearing Richard’s name in the process, he discovers that the alien has a nefarious plan and his using a man determined to prove himself at any cost.

I won’t spoil the entire plot unraveling but I will say that this book is one rip roaring adventure. Just when you think you have it nailed down it takes a turn in the opposite direction. This novel had a bit of everything in it. There was humor, mystery, science fiction elements, and romance. It took a bit for the plot to start moving but once it did it moved quickly. Anyone who enjoys Doctor Who themed novels with love this one.

Rating: 4/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

I Love the 80s

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Next up in Book Battle 2015 is a book from the year you were born. I had a hard time with this category trying to look up books purely by year until I discovered the power search setting on the library’s webpage. Best thing I discovered all week. I couldn’t believe how many options there were. I finally decided to settle on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams, famed for his Hitchhiker series.

I’ve read the first Hitchhiker book by Adams and loved it. Adams himself described this book as a “thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic.” How can you beat that? I can’t wait to see what Dirk Gently has in store and how Adams will tackle the detective genre.

Stay tuned for the full review of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Happy reading!

Scarlet

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After finishing Cinder I was so caught up in this alternative fairy tale world that I had to go out and buy the next two books in the series. I even changed up my book choice for this category because I wanted to continue. And I have to say that Scarlet did not disappoint.

At first I was a bit throw off. I had been so caught up in Cinder’s character and her world that it was a bit jarring to suddenly find myself in someone else’s. Scarlet is a spit fire of a person. She is intensely loyal and intensely hot tempered. This novel kicks off with Scarlet looking for her grandmother who she is convinced has been kidnapped. The police refuse to believe that anything untoward has happened and drop the case. Though Scarlet refuses to drop it. She decides to take up the case herself and begins her search for her grandmother. During the search she meets Wolf, a mysterious stranger and street fighter. He tells her that he will help her find her grandmother and she accepts. Together they go off into the woods in search of Michelle Benoit.

I loved seeing the elements of Little Red Riding Hood being led down the path by the wolf. Scarlet is so alternately naive and worldly. She is eager to place her trust in anyone to find her beloved grandmother. But, just like Red Riding Hood, there are a few surprises in store for Scarlet.

Let’s not forget Cinder. Her narrative picks up with her in a prison cell waiting to be transported to Luna. After a visit from the doctor, Cinder is able to escape the prison and sets out in search of Michelle Benoit, the woman who might have held her while she recovered from her injuries as a child. During her search, Cinder and Scarlet cross paths and Cinder’s past comes out.

I won’t give too much away from the plot. Only to say that Scarlet is a wonderful addition to the Lunar Chronicles. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Cinder and co in Cress. 

Rating: 4.5/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf

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Next up in Book Battle 2015 is a novel with a color in the title. Originally I was going to read a different novel for this category but after reading Cinder I just had to continue with the series. So instead of reading the novel I had chosen, I’m reading Scarlett by Marissa Meyer.

I have to say I am absolutely loving the world Meyer has created. There are elements of Star Wars, Grimm’s fairy tales, and heroes journeys. Each of her characters is so fleshed out I can’t wait to find out more about them.

In this particular novel we are going to meet Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. I can’t wait to see Meyer’s take on this classic fairy tale.

Stay tuned for the full review of Scarlett. Happy reading!