Ready Player One … Boop Beep Boop

I was recommended this book by a friend who said she enjoyed it immensely. I had bought it over a year ago, but finally got around to reading it in February this year.

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Ready Player One was suggested to me by a friend who knows the types of book that I like. I thought it was going to be a trip down the nostalgic lane, but it was so much more than that.

The book is set in the OASIS, a virtual reality system that with the right equipment can feel like the real thing, where people are searching for Halliday’s Egg, an Easter Egg that contains riches beyond belief to the person who finds it first.

The story is from the point of view of Wade Watts, an 18 year old “gunter” – Egg Hunter – obsessed with the 80s and Halliday as most people in OASIS are. He receives a wake up call when the first key is found and he learns what lengths some people will go to in order to win the competition.

Cline draws upon his own childhood and teenage years as the background and inspiration to flesh out the book. Being an avid gamer and roleplayer in the 80s, I can see all the inspiration through the games, books, films and TV programs. The detail is incredible, and at times you forget you are reading a book as you are transported in there.

It is one of the only books that when I finished it, I immediately started it again to see what I missed.

Ready Player One …………….. Amazon UK Paperback

Ready Player One …………….. Amazon UK Kindle

Ready Player One …………….. Amazon US Paperback

Ready Player One ……………..  Amazon US Kindle

Book Review – Shadeward: Emanation

I read – and reviewed – Elite: Reclamation recently by Drew Wagar. After reading that, I thought I would try another of his books. The one I picked up was the first in a trilogy, all with the prefix Shadeward. When I read the title, I read it was as ShadeWARD – as in the ward of a hospital. Reading it though, it is more of a directional word as in Eastward.

The book is set on a planet of endless day that is devoid of technology, and history is rumours. Calling creatures by other names, and just giving slight information on them so they are accepted as the norm and not out of place. With just a sentence or two, you can see what a flit is, you understand the carn and the herg. You can understand the time and measurement systems from the outset, and how they are implemented.

The book is set around three main characters, two females and a male. Kiri is an “only”, an orphan on the streets who has to fend for herself and looks after her friend Tia. They are treated like dirt by the nobility. Her life changes after an encounter with priestesses, and she realises there is something about her that makes her different. We watch as she grows from urchin into something more.

Meru is an apprentice timekeeper assigned to a fisher boat, but when a freak storm hits, he is the only survivor and is rescued by the crew of the Mobillis. A ship the likes of which he has never seen, with a crew on a journey of discovery. What he does discover, rocks his world to its foundations and everything he knows and accepts is no longer what he accepted or knew. I see some chemistry between him and another member of the crew.

Zoella is the youngest of the three protagonists and lives in a home where her “guardian” sent her to stay. She is mistreated by the other children and the overseer of the home. Like the other two, hr life is changed and she has to use everything she has learned to survive where it seems so many others want her dead for reasons she can’t comprehend.

The book slowly builds pace, with twists and turns that leave you breathless at times, and action scenes are well described. You can almost smell and see the backgrounds as they are explained, and all characters are believable, including the fleeting ones. Each of the main characters hold a secret, with a line here or there hinting at what it might be.

The book ends in a way to leave you wanting more, and I am so glad I have already brought the follow-up as it means I don’t have to wait long to carry on the story. If you have never read any of the books by Drew Wagar, this is as good a place as any to start. At times I am reminded of the Malazan books by Steven Erikson,

Meet Zoella, Kiri and Meru. Find out their secrets and read as they find things so unbelievable to them, that they question what they see at times.

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Shadeward: Emanation ……………….. Amazon UK

Shadeward: Emanation ……………….. Amazon US

Elite: Dangerous – Reclamation

Having been a fan of Elite since I played it on the ZX Spectrum over 30 years ago, this book had a lot of work to do to impress me. In the words of a famous smuggler from a different galaxy “I have been from one side of the galaxy to the other” and I have visited many planets and systems.

This book by Drew Wagar started off with a bang and it didn’t let up. The characters are believable, and the locations are described well. At one point someone is referring to things as they used to be, and it was a definite throwback to the original game. The intrigue and twists are very well done and you find yourself holding your breath at points.

It is a fast paced book that hits the ground running. You don’t need to know the game to read the book, it does well as a standalone.

If you like science fiction, this is a definite addition to your library.

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Elite Reclamation – Amazon US

Elite Reclamation – Amazon UK

Something Every Astronomer Needs

I received this book from the author with him asking if I would mention it on my blog. I’ll do one better and give a quick review.

2015 An Astronomical Year: A Reference Guide to 365 Nights of Astronomy is a guide to where all of the celestial bodies will be in 2015. The descriptions the author has given are very easy to follow, and with the images, easy to spot in the night sky as well. He uses a glossary at the beginning of the book, describing what each of the words mean making it easier to understand everything in the book and the night sky.

Images have been used to make it even easier to see where the stars, planets, galaxies, asteroids are on each given day. He has given times in GMT and how to tell where the stars will be in your part of the US.

This is the only gripe I have with this book, Bartlett only gives times in UK and US. Having times in Australian, Calcutta and maybe Canada would have been handy as well. Maybe a later revision will include those time zones.

If you are an Amateur Astronomer, then this is an essential guide for you, and to mark the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing on July 20th, the book will be available for free for five days. At all other times, the book is $5.99 (£4.99)

Go get the book and watch the night sky and see where constellations are in 2015.

2015 Night Sky

Amazon UK …………………………. Here

Amazon US …………………………. Here