Tag Archives: Computer Adventure Games

A Review of Ready Player One (Audiobook) by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton

Ready Player One (Audiobook)Ready Player One (Audiobook)
by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton

If you know who Wil Wheaton is, don’t read Ready Player One. Go out and get the audiobook! Wil Wheaton is Parzival (The avatar for Wade Watts in the OASIS). He brings this first person narrative to life. This book is a real geekfest. All the 70s and 80s music, movies, TV shows, and video-games, that are featured throughout the book hit home as massive connections. Space Invaders, D&D, Zork, MUDs, Pacman, Defender, Trash 80, Atari, Video Arcades, Rush, John Hughes, do all of these bring back fond memories? If so then this book will knock your socks off, but Wil Wheaton will incinerate those socks right off your toes. All of the geekness that was the secret pleasures of a whole generation is part of this book at every turn.

Ready Player One has all the elements of a classic adventure book aimed at a young adult audience, but then adds so much stuff that their parents will connect to, that the parents will probably like the book better than their kids. There is the competition that is the book’s main storyline, with side issues of overcrowding, destroying the environment, living inside a video game and never going outside, relationships between people who never meet except inside the game and more. Mr. Cline has written a wonderful first novel. He grabs you and won’t let go. He mastered the first person style and really makes you feel like you are Parzival.

This is a great book and even a better audiobook. I give them both 5 Stars out of 5 and I give Wil Wheaton’s performance TWO Huge Thumbs Up! This is one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library.

Oh and one more thing, a special thanks to Sheila (Book Journey) for the great review of this audiobook Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Her review was the reason I got the audiobook. Thanks again Sheila.

 

Book Description
Release date: August 16, 2011

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

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.

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

 

Product Details

Audio CD: 11 pages
Publisher: Random House Audio, Unabridged edition (October 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307913147
ISBN-13: 978-0307913142
Product Dimensions: 6 x 5.1 x 1.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces

About the Author

ERNEST CLINE has worked as a short-order cook, fish gutter, plasma donor, elitist video store clerk, and tech support drone. His primary occupation, however, has always been geeking out, and he eventually threw aside those other promising career paths to express his love of pop culture fulltime as a spoken word artist and screenwriter. His 2009 film Fanboys, much to his surprise, became a cult phenomenon. These days Ernie lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, their daughter, and a large collection of classic video games. READY PLAYER ONE is his first novel.

About the Reader

Richard William “Wil” Wheaton III (born July 29, 1972) is an American actor, blogger and writer, known for his portrayals of Wesley Crusher on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gordie Lachance in the film Stand by Me, Joey Trotta in Toy Soldiers, and for his recurring role as a fictionalized version of himself on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

The book description is from Amazon. Ready Player One (Audiobook)

A Review of Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red RisingRed Rising (The Red Rising Trilogy)
by Pierce Brown

This is a very exciting first novel by Pierce Brown. He has written a classic story of the downtrodden lower classes rebelling against an oppressive upper class. This story has elements of early Greek and Roman mythology and draws upon some of the familiar story elements of game play that we all know from “The Hunger Games”. The twist in this story is that Darrow, a Low Red, has to be surgically modified as well mentally and physically trained to be able to pass as a Gold. The first part of “Red Rising” introduces you to the group of Reds, in which Darrow is a fast rising star. It is the hard, unfair life of an oppressed caste.

After some life changing events, Darrow is rescued by a rebel group, The Sons of Ares. This group wants to change the caste system and Darrow is a perfect candidate to a major player in the destruction of society as portrayed in “Red Rising”.

Once he can pass as a Gold, he must continue training, so that he becomes one of the elite Golds, and is able to pass the admittance test for the Institute. Then the games begin…

“Red Rising” is book one of a trilogy. It has a stand-alone story, with interesting characters, that you can connect to. Since this is a trilogy there are some larger themes that will continue though out the series, but there isn’t a “cliffhanger” ending. I liked the story very much and connected with the characters. This book draws you in, so much so, that I purchased the Audible version, so that I could continue the story when I couldn’t read it. The audiobook version is fine, but I preferred reading as much as I could. I connected better when reading than I did when listening.

I give “Red Rising” 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up. I recommend it to readers who liked “The Hunger Games” and other futuristic dystopia type stories.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from NetGalley.com, but I also purchased this audiobook from Audible.

Book Description
Release date: January 28, 2014

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow.”—Scott Sigler

Pierce Brown’s relentlessly entertaining debut channels the excitement of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

Praise for Red Rising

“[A] spectacular adventure . . . one heart-pounding ride . . . Pierce Brown’s dizzyingly good debut novel evokes The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and Ender’s Game. . . . [Red Rising] has everything it needs to become meteoric.”—Entertainment Weekly

“[A] top-notch debut novel . . . Red Rising ascends above a crowded dystopian field.”—USA Today

“Red Rising is a sophisticated vision. . . . Brown will find a devoted audience.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

“A story of vengeance, warfare and the quest for power . . . reminiscent of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Fast-paced, gripping, well-written—the sort of book you cannot put down. I am already on the lookout for the next one.”—Terry Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of The Sword of Shannara

“Pierce Brown has done an astounding job at delivering a powerful piece of literature that will definitely make a mark in the minds of readers.”—The Huffington Post

“Compulsively readable and exceedingly entertaining . . . a must for both fans of classic sci-fi and fervent followers of new school dystopian epics.”—Examiner.com

“[A] great debut . . . The author gathers a spread of elements together in much the same way George R. R. Martin does.”—Tor.com

“Pierce Brown’s empire-crushing debut is a sprawling vision.”—Scott Sigler, New York Times bestselling author of Pandemic

“A Hollywood-ready story with plenty of action and thrills.”—Publishers Weekly

Product Details
Series: The Red Rising Trilogy
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (January 28, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345539788
ISBN-13: 978-0345539788
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.5
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds

About the Author

Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.

Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

The book description is from Amazon.  Red Rising (The Red Rising Trilogy)

A Review of Game: A Thriller (Game Trilogy) by Anders de la Motte

GAMEGame: A Thriller (Game Trilogy)

by Anders de la Motte

The premise of Game is interesting. A new model of a smartphone is the means by which the Game Players interact with the Game Master. A text shows up on the phone giving the player a task. The player is asked if he is willing to attempt to complete the assignment. If he agrees, then he attaches the phone to his clothing, so that the phone’s camera is able to record the video of the results of his attempt. He is rewarded points, which translate into cash. His ranking is determined by the difficulty of the task and his style and ability to complete his assignment.

The real problem with Game is that the three main characters, HP (Hennrik Pettersson, the Game Player), Rebecca (HP’s sister, a bodyguard with the Swedish Security Police), and Mange (HP’s only real friend) are too flat. They have no real depth to them. You feel like the author has tried to fill them out, but it doesn’t really work. Therefore, you really don’t connect with them. Some of the plot’s story lines are too thin and unbelievable. There is a worldwide conspiracy behind the game that just doesn’t ring true. The combination of characters that you really don’t care about and an unbelievable story behind the Game, nearly kills the book, but something about the story is just interesting enough to keep you reading.

I give this book 2.5 Stars out of 5, which means that it is just below average, but if the premise sounds interesting to you, maybe you will enjoy it. I will go ahead and read the second volume in this trilogy, Buzz. Maybe Mr. de la Motte pulls everything together. If he does, I will let you know in early January.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from NetGalley.com.

Book Description

Release date: December 3, 2013 | Series: Game Trilogy

Follow the rules and everybody gets hurt . . .

One Sunday morning after a long night of partying, Henrik “HP” Pettersson, a slacker with a lot of ego and very little impulse control, finds a cell phone of an unfamiliar make on a commuter train. Through insisting and slightly uncanny messages that refer to him by name, the phone invites him to play a game. HP accepts without hesitation.

The rules are that HP must complete tasks that range from childish pranks to criminal acts, as allocated by the mysterious Game Master. HP is the perfect contender—alienated from society, devoid of morals, and desperate for fame. His completion of the assignments are filmed and uploaded onto a protected server where viewers rate the Players’ performances.

The Game starts out innocently enough and then becomes increasingly risky, threatening the safety of someone close to HP. He is determined to become a superstar, but when the dark and tragic secrets of his family’s past are at stake, HP must make a choice. Will he suffer the humiliation of defeat, or will the need to win push him to the limit—no matter the cost?

First in a fast-paced and riveting trilogy, Game will leave you guessing. Follow the rules, and everybody gets hurt . . .

Product Details

Series: Game Trilogy

Paperback: 250 pages

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books; Reprint edition (December 3, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1476712883

ISBN-13: 978-1476712888

Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7

Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces

About the Author

Anders de la Motte (b. 1971) made his debut in 2010 with [geim], which won the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’ ‘First Book Award’. He is a former Police Officer and was until recently Director of Security at one of the world’s largest IT companies. He is currently an International Security Consultant. With his blend of fast-paced suspense, humor, and informed commentary on IT and social media, Anders de la Motte represents a distinct new voice in Scandinavian crime fiction: wild, playful and full of references to popular culture, including his literary cousin Philip K. Dick. (from GoodReads)

The book description is from Amazon. Game: A Thriller (Game Trilogy)

A Review of The Companions: The Sundering, Book I by R.A. Salvatore

The Companions- The Sundering, Book IThe Companions: The Sundering, Book I
by R.A. Salvatore

This book begins as four former companions, Bruenor Battlehammer, Regis, Wulfgar, and Catti-brie, who have been raised from the dead, meet in Iruladoon and are told that they have a mission to perform. They are reborn, as a gift from the Godess Mielikki, not a gift for them, but as a gift for Drizzt Do’Urden. They have a choice, they can accept life, starting over, as a newborn infant, or they can go back to their graves, and take their place in the afterlife with their ancestors nearby. If they choose life, they must accept one condition, to act on the side of Mielikki in the darkest hour, to come to the aid of Drizzt at the time of The Sundering. They will meet in Icewind Dale in 21 years, at the spring equinox, The Night of Mielikki.

Cattie-brie, the Magic User and Regi, the Halfling commit to being reborn and Bruenor, the Dwarf, reluctantly agrees, but Wulfgar says that he can’t go through that again. He must go to Warriors Rest, where his wife and children await. They separate. Three companions to become newborn infants, to go through the childhoods that await them, to meet in Icewind Dale on the eve of the spring equinox of 1484 DR, The Year of the Awaked Sleepers.

This book, Book 1 of The Sundering, covers their lives from young children, through early adulthood, the adventures they have, the perils they must survive, and the enemies they defeat, on the way to Icewind Dale. Book 2, The Godborn by Paul S. Kemp, will be published in October, 2013, followed by another book, by a different author, in the series every 2 months until the final book is published in June 2014. There will be a total of 6 books by 6 different authors in The Sundering series.

These books have a real Dungeons and Dragons feel to them. If you have read the previous Forgotten Realms, Icewind Dale, or other Drizzt Do’Urden books, you will be right at home. If not, you may struggle through the first third of the book, as you become familiar with the names, places, and events as they unfold in this book. Since this book covers three separate stories of youthful lives and jumps back and forth between all three, while taking place in various years, the timeline gets to be a bit confusing. The characters have most of the memories from their previous lives, but have to keep them hidden, so that they seem like they are children, not an adult in a kids body.
All things considered, this was a good book, but seemed to have a few problems. The characters stories feel rushed and jumpy. Each 21 year life story could have been its own book, and might have been more satisfying if it was better developed. The battles and adventures seemed rushed. I was rather disappointed. I give this book 3 Stars out of 5 and recommend it only to real D&D fans.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from NetGalley.com.

Book Description

Release date: August 6, 2013 | Series: The Sundering

“The Companions is the best novel [R.A.] Salvatore has ever written. It’s insanely courageous, profoundly powerful, masterfully constructed, and easily Salvatore’s most ambitious work to date.”—Paul Goat Allen, BarnesandNoble.com

“After a quarter of a century, R.A. Salvatore just keeps getting better and better, and The Companions is another masterful leap forward for one of the greatest fantasy epics of all time.”
—Philip Athans, best-selling author of Annihilation and The Haunting of Dragon’s Cliff

This latest installment in New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore’s beloved fantasy saga, The Companions moves Salvatore’s signature hero Drizzt into a new era of the Forgotten Realms. As Drizzt’s fate hangs in the balance, he reflects on the lives of the trusted allies who stood by his side throughout his early life–the friends now known as the Companions of the Hall. Meanwhile, the first stirrings of the Sundering begin.

Product Details

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (August 6, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0786963719
ISBN-13: 978-0786963713
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Author

R.A. Salvatore is the New York Times best-selling author of more than forty novels, including the popular Forgotten Realms series The Legend of Drizzt. He’s an avid gamer, father of three, and loyal citizen of Red Sox Nation.

The book description is from Amazon.
The Companions: The Sundering, Book I

A Review of Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

Erebos softcover.indd

Erebos

Ursula Poznanski

Annick Press

Pub Date   Feb 1 2012

Nick Dunmore is on his school basketball team. His friend Colin Harris is also a member of the team. Recently Colin has been missing practice. In fact a lot of the team is absent. Coach Bethune is very angry. Nick wonders why Colin is skipping practice. He tries to get Colin to tell him what is going on. Colin says that he can’t tell him. But Nick knows that it has something to do with the dorky guys that Colin is hanging around with. Guys that he and Colin used to make fun of. So when Nick sees Colin passing something to a schoolmate, Jerome, he confronts Jerome and asks him what he received from Colin. Jerome refuses to tell him anything. Nick is sure that something is going on, so when Brynne offers him a game DVD, he takes it. He promises that he will follow the rules. The game makes the rules and all players MUST follow them or they will be out. Nick quickly gets deeply into the game. The game, Erebos, knows him. It can communicate with him. It gives him tasks to do, first in the game, then in the real world. It wants to control all the players.

Ms. Poznanski has written a very riveting novel. Its aimed towards the Young Adult crowd, but I was caught up into it just the same. The story is well written and believable. The story is structured well and the ending feels right. I haven’t played many computer adventure games, but this one sounds like one that would grab my interest.

I give this 5 stars.

I received a free e-book of Erebos from NetGalley.

Description

An intelligent computer game with a disturbing agenda.

When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname.

Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game.

Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur. This utterly convincing and suspenseful thriller originated in Germany, where it has become a runaway bestseller.

Product Details

Reading level: Ages 12 and up

Paperback: 436 pages

Publisher: Annick Press; Canadian and US rights only edition (January 19, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1554513723

ISBN-13: 978-1554513727

Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

About the Author

Ursula Poznanski was born in Vienna, Austria, where she still lives today with her partner and daughter. The older of two sisters, she enjoyed reading, music, cycling, and skiing when she was a child. Her favorite books were The Flying Classroom by Erich Kaestner, Mio, My Son by Astrid Lindgren, and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Ursula started writing when she was no more than seven or eight years old. She was fortunate in that she had teachers who encouraged her a great deal, and loving relatives who would read her essays to everybody who hadn’t managed to escape in time. She found it quite embarrassing, but it did not deter her from writing.

The idea for Erebos (Spring 2012) came from her penchant for stories that include a change of worlds. These usually come in the form of fantasies, but she wanted to tell a story where this actually happens. She loved the idea of a computer game dragging the player so deeply into a virtual world that it would affect his view of reality. She also wanted to write about manipulation and how it works.

What Ursula enjoys most about the creative process are those moments when it seems as if the book is writing itself. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it is pure joy.

Her advice for aspiring authors is to read a lot and write a lot. Don’t believe that success is going to come fast or easy, but carry on nevertheless. Love your story; don’t run after trends. Look for a good writing partner who tells you the truth about what he or she thinks of your work. Appreciate profound criticism.

Ursula’s interests, besides writing, include photography, music (although she doesn’t play an instrument, she has not given up hope that she may still do so one day), talking to interesting people, and traveling.