Review: Ready Player One

001Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Genre: Science Fiction
Number of pages: 374

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who died with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

When Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle. He suddenly finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

I knew when I picked up this book that I was going to enjoy it. I had heard good things from the book blogger/tuber community and also from my dad. He was actually the one who found it in our local library and took it out. When he was done reading it he passed it on to me.

I was hooked from the beginning. Ready player one is set in a futuristic world where everyone uses the Oasis, an alternative reality, to escape the depressing real world and straight away you are told about the contest. The creator of the Oasis James Halliday has died and left his entire fortune to whoever can solve the riddles and find the three keys he left in the Oasis. The main character Wade Watts is the first person to find the first key.

Wade is 18 and still in High School, which I found a little surprising because this book is adult science fiction and not YA. He and the other characters in the book are well developed and the world building is good. We are given a lot of back story about the James Halliday, how the Oasis came to be and a lot of descriptions of the Oasis itself.

The pacing of the events in the book is good, there are quite a lot of big events that happen but they don’t happen one after the other. They are paced so that you don’t get overwhelmed with too much action or bored because nothing has happened in a while.

One of the things I loved the most about this book is how nerdy it is. The book is full of 80’s pop culture references and pretty much anything that you can be nerdy about (Lord of the rings, dungeons and dragons, Harry Potter, Doctor who Etc.) is mentioned in some way.

Ready Player One is my favourite book that I’ve read this year. If you get a chance to read it you should definitely pick it up, I promise you won’t regret it.


Booktubeathon Wrap up

When I wrote that post last Monday I was so hopeful that I was going to read everything and complete most of the challenges. But then I got an email from my teacher telling me that I had about 14 hours to complete 9 different pieces of work. So I spent the first two days of the Booktubeathon stressed out and not sleeping to get the work done.

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These were the books I was planning to read. I managed to finish reading Unwind, got about 4 chapters into A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold and gave up on the Virgin Suicides. I gave up on it because the writing style was difficult & slow and I just wasn’t very interested.

Instead of rereading Wide Sargasso Sea I read Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. On Saturday I bought Lola and the Boy Next Door and I read it in one sitting.

Altogether I read 3 books during the Booktubeathon. This whole thing has made me realise that if I put pressure on myself to read I end up not wanting to read. Reading is something that I do because I enjoy it, not because I have to.

The 20th Century Book Tag

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here but I also make YouTube videos about books. You can see my latest video below.

The 20th century book tag is a tag where you choose a book for each decade of the 20th century.

The books I chose are:

A little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1905)
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild (1936)
1984 by George Orwell (1949)
Lord of the flies by William Golding (1954)
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966)
Carrie by Stephen King (1974)
The handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman (1995)

Review: Beauty Queens

052Title: Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray
Genre: YA
Number of pages: 396

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

I recently finished rereading Beauty Queens for the third time and was reminded of just how much I love it. Beauty Queens is an unusual book because it manages to tackle some serious issues while also being quite light hearted and at times silly (in a good way). It’s also pretty good satire with its commercial breaks from the corporation and characters like Ladybird Hope and MoMo B. ChaCha.

Beauty Queens is the story of 12 girls who survive a crash landing on to a desert island. It follows them as they learn to survive and think for themselves away from society.

The book has not one but a dozen female protagonists, each with their own individual story and issues, and the narrative switches between them. This isn’t a problem though because the story is told in the third person. My favourite character changes every time I reread and right now it’s Tiara.

I’ve been trying to work out why I love this book so much and I think it’s because of the way the characters develop throughout the book. They get to know themselves and make friends outside of a society that is always telling them how to be and what to act like. My favourite part of the book is the bit were they are all sitting around a fire talking about girl con and what they do and don’t miss from home.

Libba Bray uses this book to tackle issues like: disability, being LGBTQ, the objectification of women and being comfortable with your sexuality. And she does it well. I really recommend that you read this book.

April Rewind

In April I read 5 books. They were:

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran
Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth
Though Thick and Thin by Gok Wan
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

I enjoyed A Clash of Kings, I found it a lot easier to read than the first one.  In the last month or two I’ve been reading more Non-fiction and I really liked Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth and Though Thick and Thin by Gok Wan.

However I really disliked How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, I thought it was really problematic. I’m trying to write a review of it but I keep getting annoyed at things in the book and stopping.

Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes

[This was originally written in may 2012]
065Title: 13 Little blue envelopes
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: YA
Number of pages: 319

When 17 year old Ginny is left 13 little blue envelopes by her free-spirited but unreliable aunt Peg her adventure begins.

An adventure which will take her all around Europe from Harrods in London to the vestal virgins of Rome and introduce her to a whole range of different people including playwright/thief/man about town Keith and American tourist family the Knapp’s.

This book has all the elements of what could be a great book. Adventure, European travel, mystery and it probably would’ve been a good book if it had had an interesting main character.

I found Ginny to be annoying and whiny with very little character development. It’s like she spends the whole book going from place to place because she is being told to not because she wants too.

From what I’ve heard about Maureen Johnson I was expecting this book to be a lot better than it was.

Review: Feed

048Title: Feed
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: YA , Political thriller, Post apocalyptic, Zombie story
Number of pages: 571
The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one unstoppable command: FEED.
Now, twenty years after the rising, bloggers Georgia and 
Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives – the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.

I found this book in a discount bookshop and picked it up with no clue about the plot or anything. The opening line was enough to convince me to buy it. That line being ‘Our story starts where countless others have ended in the last 26 years: with an idiot – in this case, my brother Shaun – deciding it would be a good idea to go out and poke a zombie with a stick to see what happens.’

The book follows the lives of Georgia and Shaun Mason, bloggers in a world where blogs have become people’s primary way of getting news. It’s a post apocalyptic zombie story meets a political thriller.

There were so many things that I loved about this book. The characters were realistic and I loved that they weren’t teenagers (I read a lot of YA and teenaged main characters doing amazing things gets a bit boring.) and actually had parents.

I also loved the media side of it, Georgia and Shaun are bloggers and blogs have become the way that people get news since the ‘traditional’ media failed to take the rising seriously. To me it felt really plausible, since blogs are an everyday thing now and it’s highly likely that in that situation people would be writing about what was happening. (Also even now the ‘traditional’ media isn’t that great at reporting some things)

I definitely recommend this book.