Ready Player One

My husband and I are both geeks in our own rights, but we don’t geek in the same way. I am books, he is movies. I grew up in the 90s, and he is all 80s. Needless to say, our references just do not match up most of the time. We do a lot of side cocked glances at each other.

Every other day there is another movie he is referencing, then despairing because I have not seen it. Not only was I not born for most of his favorites–I also grew up in an all girl house, so even the 90s movies I really didn’t watch. We watched Disney movies and chick flicks, instead of the cult/geek classics.

However, my love of all things geek pushes me to absorb as much pop culture as possible. And so, the longer we are together, the more of his movies I am taking in. I watched the Ghostbusters a few weeks ago, that was interesting. Jurassic Park happened for obvious reasons (mmmm Jeff Goldblum). Jaws is next on the list. The references are coming!

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I need to get him to read Ready Player One. This is exactly the kind of book R would love. It has every single 80s reference imaginable–movies, music, games–ESPECIALLY games. The whole thing is set in a futuristic MMO world. I didn’t get most of the references made, but the way everything was set up, I just loved the geek. I understand why this book is making the rounds!

It’s a little Big Brotherish, with the IOI swooping in to take over everything. However, I really liked some of the concepts–especially the online school set up. The enthusiasm of the teachers, and the technology-based curriculum just sounded really amazing. One thing I do want to question here though–Parzival’s schooling just kind of drops off. At the beginning he’s worried about the consequences of being expelled, and then after the game starts ramping up, he just stops showing up. There are no repercussions, and no one from school seems to miss him. We just forget that he left in the middle of the school year.

This isn’t the first book I’ve read in this type of MMO situation. I read James Dashner’s The Eye of Minds and was not impressed at all. It had a similar concept–teenage boy hacking/moving around in a computer simulation and trying to beat the evil corporation. Ready Player One, published two years previous, is definitely the stronger book. Maybe it is just more fun, with the gaming concept and geek references. It’s a bit more lighthearted of a YA novel, than Dashner’s conspiracy dystopia. There is definitely a comparison to be drawn though.

Have you read them both? Do you have a preference?

Movie Adaptation: The Maze Runner

We finally went to see The Maze Runner this afternoon. This is probably my favorite of the big dystopian action trilogies, so I was pumped when I found out they were making a movie out of it. It’s so much different than the others–violence is not the main component. It’s rough in the Glade, sure. But the guys work together as a team, not to save their own skin. And yes, Dashner did include some females, but romance really doesn’t take much of a role. The goals are teamwork and problem solving and thinking outside the box. All really good things to have in a series about a broken world.

The movie did not disappoint. The casting, first of all, was dead on. I’m not even talking about Dylan O’Brien. He made a great Thomas, yeah. But can we talk about Blake Cooper? A more perfect Chuck could not exist in this world. He was sweet and chubby, just like he was supposed to be. And he had the balls he needed to have to back up the rest of the crew. He was one of those best friends every guy needs. I loved him.

Will Pouter as Gally–Yep. If you’ve read the book before you watch this, you know exactly who he is as soon as the box opens. He’s the absolute hard ass he needs to be. Done. Those eyebrows are scary, man.

And Newt? Um. I feel really dirty about much I liked watching Sam from Love Actually run around with leather packs and spears. Who told him he was allowed to grow up and be this fantastic actor? Couldn’t he at least look a LITTLE different than he did as a kid? All jokes aside, Thomas Brodie-Sangster was a perfect fit for the role, and he did a great job.

The landscaping and set up was really interesting. The maze looked amazing–so complex and industrial. The grievers were so freaking scary, and they really nailed the sound effects to go with them. Everything was right on pointe with how I had imagined it, only better.

I had listened to the soundtrack before seeing the movie, so I already knew it was brilliant. It was hard not to be revved up about it though…James Dashner had been talking about it for weeks on Twitter. If you thought John Green was an author excited about his movie–you should follow Dashner. That guy doesn’t stop. He’s absolutely giddy about this series coming out, and for very good reasons.

Cupcakes

I really lucked out with my Cupcakes theme. Whodathunk, in the middle of a video game dystopian thriller, there would be a bear serving cupcakes? Thanks James Dashner! It was the one thing that made The Eye of Minds worth the read! Haha.

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And in case you think I’m kidding. Here’s the quote:

“To Michael’s right, a huge black bear, bald spots covering its chest, was leaning over to pick up a tray of cupcakes from a serving window that led into a kitchen. A bear. With a tray. Of cupcakes. Michael had to remind himself that it was okay–anything was possible inside the VirtNet.”

See–even the protagonist didn’t believe it!

 

 

WWW Wednesday

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What are you currently reading?

Rising Sun by Michael Crichton (completely coincidental to my blog post this morning)

Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

White Apples and the Taste of Stone by Donald Hall

 

What did you just finish reading?

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

I just started both of the books in my top list, so I haven’t picked what is up next! We’ll see! I have a George Washington spy book that’s next on my library list, which would normally be what I would go to, but I just bought an awwwwwwwwwwwful lot of books lately….

The Eye of Minds

Let me say, first of all, that I am not a gamer. Unless you count N64 Goldeneye, and the occasional bout of Wii Mariocart. I don’t exactly possess a strong hand/eye coordination factor.

Plus, if I have free time, I’d much rather spend it behind a book than a controller.

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Because of this, I didn’t care much for James Dashner’s new series starter, The Eye of Minds. After reading The Maze Runner, I was psyched to see he had a new series beginning, but this one is definitely not my cup of tea. Coding and portals…that is not my language. And while I could picture the “coffins” (they were very Avataresque for me), I would personally NOT want to live in a video game for 90% of my life. Nope. No thanks. Again, if I’m going to live in an alternate reality, it’s going to be imagined, not virtual.

This was a skimmer, and the only reason I stuck with it for the whole of the book was because of the author. I kept hoping I would get hooked at some point, and that just never happened.

Bummer for me.

WWW Wednesdays

letyourvoicebenerd just posted a WWW Wednesdays post, and I thought it was neat, so I’m going to play along!

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What are you currently reading?

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (I may decide to read all four books in this collection, we’ll see if I do it all at once.)

White Apples and the Taste of Stone by Donald Hall

 

What did you just finish reading?

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

The Kill Order by James Dashner

Nine Horses by Billy Collins

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Eye of the Minds by James Dashner

 

The Kill Order

After I finished The Death Cure yesterday, I checked out Goodreads to see if James Dashner had any other books. And lo and behold, he wrote a prequel!

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I’m just going to do a quick write up on this, because The Kill Order only took me a couple of hours to read.

First of all, you definitely want to read this one after you finish the trilogy. It gives away the big surprise at the ending, so don’t even think of glancing at this before you read the third book in the Maze Runner series. You will be SO disappointed.

I did feel like this was written as an after thought, a way to explain the third book. Which, I get, but the writing definitely was not as stunning or exciting as the other three. Like I said, I finished it very quickly. The characters really don’t have much to do with the trilogy at all. There’s a VERY loose connection at the end, but meh. I really wanted to hear about the beginning of WICKED and Thomas and Theresa’s development of it. This left that all as a mystery.

Overall, an ok, but unnecessary addition for me. I didn’t need it. The ending in The Death Cure was PLENTY for me. Bam. Over. And it gave me more than enough closure.

The Death Cure

OH.

 

MY.

 

GOD.

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Seriously guys, I’m considering that to be the only review of the ending of this trilogy. Because that’s really all my brain is saying right now. OH.MY.GOD.

If you haven’t read this yet, get your hands on it immediately. Of all the dystopian series that have come out recently, this is one of the most horrifying. It ranks right up there with 1984. I loved this series. But this is not for the light hearted. People had a lot to say about The Hunger Games and Divergent. And yes, those two were alarming, and political, and a lot of other things. I enjoyed them both. But WOAH to they pale in comparison to what I just read. I usually take zombie stories with a grain of salt. But the way Dashner builds this one up makes it seem completely plausible, I think because until the very end it isn’t very “zombie-like.” You just know everyone is severely mentally sick in the second book. And by the third book, everything is just soooooo messed up. The ending just blew me away. Seriously, when you read the Epilogue, I can promise you, you will drop your book.

OH.MY.GOD.  I loved this.

Treesofreverie’s April Read-A-Thon: Reading Challenges

The other thing that the end of April means is that it is the end of the readathon for Treesofreverie! I think I did quite well. Here are the books I read:

Wuthering Heights

A Wrinkle in Time

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Scorch Trials

Selected Poems of Langston Hughes

In addition to the books we were reading, there were challenges we were given to complete. Here are the ones I finished.

This is the official list of challenges for anyone who is looking to push themselves during the April Read-A-Thon:

  • Finish an entire book in ONE day
  • Read a book by an author you haven’t read before
  • Read a book about books
  • Read outside
  • Read out loud
  • Finish a book in a series you’ve not yet completed
  • Read a graphic novel or manga
  • Read a book with an LGBTQ+ character
  • Read a Classic
  • Read a book in the Fantasy genre
  • Read a book in the Contemporary genre
  • Read a book from a genre you don’t usually read
  • Read a poetry book
  • Read a collection of short stories
  • Read a book by an indie or self published author
  • Recommend a book to a friend or a fellow book blogger based on what they’re currently reading
  • Share some of your favourite quotes from the books you read during the Read-A-Thon
  • Write a book review for one of the books you read during the Read-A-Thon
  • Take pictures of your reading progress
  • Show off your books by taking more pictures
  • Start a TBR Jar
  • Start a reading journal
  • Organise a book swap with friends

This was a great readathon project! And, what’s really great is I just found out about a new challenge being held in May by Tee the Quoter. This is not a readathon, but a Favorites challenge. Every day I’ll be posting a favorite “thing” about what I’m reading. Here’s the list!

Now, some of these might just be pictures and will be posted to my Instagram and Tumblr accounts, so make sure you’re following those. Some may be reviews that I post here. Either way, I’m excited to have some prompts for different books to write about!

The Scorch Trials

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Holy Freaking Cow, you guys.

I thought The Maze Runner was intense. Then I read the sequel. This series is CRAZY. Hunger Games meets Divergent crazy. It really makes you think about what could happen when our society goes bonkers. Kids killing kids, psychotic madness. Adults controlling things in ways that should never ever happen.

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Be ready for a heart attack. And make sure you have lots of water because this book will make you feel REALLY dehydrated. You won’t want to put it down.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the third book, so I’ll let you know how that one goes. I’m sure it’ll be just as intense!