Book Review: Ready Player Two

When was the last time I totally bashed on a book? Gave it a 1 star rating? Never, really, because if a book was that bad or such a bore, I wouldn’t be able to finish it. I don’t even know how I finished Ready Player Two. I’m surprised at myself. (I suspect it was being stuck on a 6 hour flight and only with my Kindle as entertainment.)

Ready Player Two may be the biggest disappointment in sequel history. This book goes down in my reading history as the book that was written purely for making the author money and has no storytelling/entertainment value. Goodbye fan-base! The first third of the book dragged on with Wade Watts feeling sorry and mopey with himself for his breakup, and we’re supposed to feel sorry for him or what? No, no I do not sympathize nor care that his girlfriend broke up with him. Are we trying to redeem him from the first book or something? It’s ok, Ernest Cline, protagonists can still be jerks, but let’s have his actions redeem him, not his sappy thoughts about his failed love life.

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Book Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am torn between the opinion that The Time Traveler’s Wife was a very powerful love story you should read and thinking it was overly romanticized – this kind of love doesn’t exist! The story is an interesting take on time traveling and what it might look like if your ability to time travel was due to an abnormal set of genes. These time-travel genes would exert themselves in your behavior and make you disappear, usually at a time that is most inconvenient. Furthermore, you travel into either the past or the future and land buck-naked with no possessions on your body. Why was your disappearing behavior triggered? It could be do to stress and anxiety at the present moment, or for no reason at all.

At the beginning, I was immediately perplexed by the logistics of how Henry’s time traveling can happen. I kept reading and kept reading, hoping that Niffenegger would provide an explanation on the how. For example, I kept questioning “Is there a parallel timeline?”, or “Why aren’t events causal across the past, present and future?”, and “How can he keep his job as a librarian?”, as well as “Why is young Clare so accepting of Henry as a 40 year old man?” After a quarter of a way through, as a reader, you begin to accept the fact that you won’t get your answers to all these questions and you’ll just have to accept the world as it comes.

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La Sagrada Familia photo by Enrico Perini

Book Review: Origin

I will forever remain a Dan Brown fan, and a large part of my contributing to his fandom is due to the consistency of his writing style and the themes he brings up in an engaging and thrilling way. It is not Brown’s style to be convoluting or overly complex in his storytelling. He has subplots going in parallel to the main plot, but nothing that will make readers lose track of what happened last to whichever character. It’s a simple good-guy-vs-evil-religious-nut kind of novel.

Origin is no different than his previous works in this regard, to some readers’ dismay. Professor Langdon finds himself in the middle of a mystery murder and races through time and historical towns to find the answer to the classic “Who dun it?” question. I love this setting – Barcelona, Spain – and feel compelled to visit it as soon as plane tickets come down. Just look at this beautiful La Sagrada Familia basilica that is STILL in the works to this modern day since 135 years ago!  Continue reading

Book Review: Ready Player One

This one was very easy to get into, and by goodness, it’s being turned into a movie as we type! Front the beginning, I was sucked into this gloom, gray, dirty, dusty world, and as a new world, it was captivating! I mean, there is no more meaning to life than the one we’ve created in the virtual world, isn’t it? Ernest Cline’s new world was one I could easily imagine – the feeling is similar for me while reading The Giver or Hunger Games. It was a dreary one, and Cline gave this dystopia a new take with nostagic video games.

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Mind you, I never played video games longer than 30 minutes. I’ve never owned a console until I turned eleven (I think), and that was only a Game Boy Advanced. Computer or other TV games, I never got into them and didn’t bother trying to ask my parents to buy it for me. I also didn’t have anyone to play with.

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Book Review: The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl book cover

The Other Boleyn Girl book cover

I love this kind of historical fiction; it’s been mixed with drama, suspense, and romance. However true this book is to historical events, I don’t know. As a reader, just take the “facts” with a grain of salt. This is categorized as fiction, after all. I read some reviews on Goodreads, and seeing folks rage about historical inaccuracies in their reviews just blows my mind.

The Other Boleyn Girl is a story about two sisters who captures King Henry’s heart, at least long enough to become his mistresses and bear his children. One of them succeeds to overthrowing the Queen, Catherine of Aragon, and later sits on the throne herself. The story is told from the point of view of the youngest Boleyn, Mary. She is brought to court at a very young age and we follow her growth as she comes of age and realizes the tight lines she has to walk to stay afloat at court. Choosing Mary as the narrator is an interesting choice Gregory makes. Perhaps because she is the only character that has the most development and change of hear that that is what makes this book so intriguing. We know that Mary is naive and when we begin seeing her defy her family, this is when we truly feel invested in her well-being and survival. While Anne is a great character to read about, you never truly side with her. Anne is the evil and conniving older sister. She’s willing to put everything on the line to become Queen. And in the end, what of it? I pitied her and anxiously waited to read about her demise.

Add in their elder brother, George, and the Boleyns were inseparable and nearly unstoppable. George was charismatic and handsome, perfect as a court entertainer. Towards the middle of the book, it became clear that there were some sexual tension going on between George and Anne. They were not outright lovers, but their intimacy was far too much to be on the level of brother and sister. Interestingly enough, Gregory based this part of her story on a theory by Retha Warnicke that there was a homosexual ring within the court. For the times that we’re talking about, this sure makes for a very juicy historical drama. Whether the theory is true or not, it is still possible that that happened, and brought Anne down to the chopping block.

I thought Gregory was a great story teller and brought these historical figures to life in this book. My only problem with it was that I thought the pace was a tad inconsistent, and that made some parts of the book drag on a little too slowly. The last quarter of the book was great pacing, though. If I come across her other books of the Tudors, I’d likely read it.