Lots of sci-fi twists and turns, some more believable than others, lead to a galvanizing finish.

READ REVIEW

Game Over

From the A Series of Ends series , Vol. 1

The latest novel by Edgington (Immortal, 2016) features a rogue artificial intelligence and a virtual reality world holding 12 billion trapped souls.

In a bid for immortality, humanity creates a virtual reality world called Elisium and downloads billions of people into it as digitized versions of themselves. Elisium is managed by an AI called Sibyl, who has been given complete control by the human programmers. Unfortunately, as Elysium’s population grows and power consumption spikes, Sibyl begins redefining what she considers acceptable and reconditioning or deleting people who don’t meet that standard. Ekko Everlasting is downloaded into Elisium, his memory wiped to avoid being flagged a dissident, with the task of tracking down the real-world location of Sibyl’s computer core so that she can be killed or reprogrammed. Ekko enters the No-Life tournament, a competition in which failure results in the actual death of the losers, so that he can get close to Elisium’s elite. After a few initial wins, he qualifies to enroll in The Test—the biggest and most mysterious tournament Elisium has ever seen. Along the way, he meets fellow player Sylirin Yukionna and becomes determined to save her, despite the risks. The story is sprinkled with decision points in the style of the Choose Your Own Adventure series, in which the reader can select which action Ekko takes. Unfortunately, this mechanism doesn’t work very well in an e-book, where it’s more difficult to flip around to different sections, which is probably why Edgington uses a very limited version in which the wrong decision leads to instant death. The plot seems a bit contrived (is it really plausible that the humans don’t know the location of a computer holding 12 billion people?), but the persistent reader will be rewarded with a terrific surprise ending.

Lots of sci-fi twists and turns, some more believable than others, lead to a galvanizing finish.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9976733-2-6

Page Count: 286

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

Did you like this book?

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

ALMOST JUST FRIENDS

Piper Manning is determined to sell her family’s property so she can leave her hometown behind, but when her siblings come back with life-changing secrets and her sexy neighbor begins to feel like “The One,” she might have to redo her to-do list.

As children, Piper and her younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, were sent to live with their grandparents in Wildstone, California, from the Congo after one of Gavin’s friends was killed. Their parents were supposed to meet them later but never made it. Piper wound up being more of a parent than her grandparents, though: “In the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.” Piper, the queen of the bullet journal, plans to fix up the family’s lakeside property her grandparents left the three siblings when they died. Selling it will enable her to study to be a physician’s assistant as she’s always wanted. However, just as the goal seems in sight, Gavin and Winnie come home, ostensibly for Piper’s 30th birthday, and then never leave. Turns out, Piper’s brother and sister have recently managed to get into a couple buckets of trouble, and they need some time to reevaluate their options. They aren’t willing to share their problems with Piper, though they’ve been completely open with each other. And Winnie, who’s pregnant, has been very open with Piper’s neighbor Emmitt Reid and his visiting son, Camden, since the baby’s father is Cam’s younger brother, Rowan, who died a few months earlier in a car accident. Everyone has issues to navigate, made more complicated by Gavin and Winnie’s swearing Cam to secrecy just as he and Piper try—and fail—to ignore their attraction to each other. Shalvis keeps the physical and emotional tension high, though the siblings’ refusal to share with Piper becomes tedious and starts to feel childish.

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296139-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more