1-Sentence Summary. A boy is thrown into a war adventure when he started seeing a character from his favourite video game in real-life.
Why I Picked it Up. Because it’s by Ernest Cline, and I had a blast reading his first novel, Ready Player One. I really enjoyed the world that the author created back then and was looking forward to a similar experience with his second novel.
Why It’s A Gem
- SEVERAL MAJOR PLOT TWISTS. There are at least five really, really major plot twists- the kind that made you think, “Oh hell naww, this changes everything!”. And then, this feeling happens again and again, continue to surprise you as the plot thickens. I genuinely like it that wherever you think this story might be going after reading the book jacket summary, or even the first 5 chapters- You’re wrong. Dead wrong. Plenty of major plot twists to keep you surprised throughout the book, which is very rare.
- EPIC VIDEO GAME ADVENTURE. Ernest Cline is definitely one of the top author that knows his way around this very niche genre. Video game adventure books are hard enough to come by, let alone a good one that makes you feel like it’s really fun to be a gamer. If you feel like reliving in a fantasy of your favourite game, pick up this one.
- INSIDER GAMER TALKS. I really like how Ernest Cline can bring in plenty of gamer nuances, language and conspiracy theories into his narrative and dialogues. It’s like you’re going really deep living the life of a hardcore gamer. Makes you feel really immersed with the character because they seem so real.
Why It Can Be A Rock
- COMPLEX AERIAL WAR GAMES ACTION. Now this might be a biased opinion, since I’m not as exposed to aerial/planes war games. Hence, their flying actions and maneuvers were quite lost on me half of the times. But of course, this is hardly a strong enough reason to give this book a miss, as it is still a strong book even if you skip through the wargames actions.
- BLAND CHARACTERS. With the exception of probably 2 people, most of the characters are not really notable or likeable most of the times. Just like Ready Player One, Ernest Cline gives memorable storylines, but not necessarily memorable characters. And just like the previous novel, I also don’t find myself very attached to his hero character this time.
- UNREALISTIC, SUDDEN OUTBURST OF SIDE-ROMANCES. In this novel, suddenly everyone becomes a couple within the span of a few hours. Like, why are you making everybody make out unrealistically all of a sudden?!
As A Reading Panda, I’d Give It :
(7.5 out of my 10 bamboos)
“I was staring out the classroom window and daydreaming of adventure when I spotted the flying saucer.”
“Mr. S was finally retiring this year, which was a good thing, because he appeared to have run out of shits to give sometime in the previous century.”
“When she turned and planted a kiss on my cheek. This may have caused a slight drop in the structural integrity of my knee joints.”
While the world celebrated its victory, all my mother and I could do was go back home and begin the process of mourning everything we’d just lost.
To close this off, I’ll say that Lex and RedJive are probably the only characters that really intrigue me here. While the ending of the book sets up an interesting new plot for the sequel, but I can’t help wishing there’s some material out there from Lex or RedJive’s point of view. They’d be an awesome read!