This page is dedicated to the books I'm reading. I read a lot of books and thought I would share my experiences. I'll add reviews of different titles as I finish them. These are my own opinions, and I encourage you to read the books yourself and make your own assumptions.
Ready Player One was recommended to me by several people, and to be honest, I was sceptical at first. Being a writer myself and more drawn to horror novels, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it. I watched the movie first and loved it, but that then pushed me to read the book. Being born in the 1970s, this really switched on my inner geek. I had owned most of the games consoles and games described in the book during my childhood, so I found it totally relatable. Soon the story turned into a nostalgic trip down memory lane for me. The culture references renewed my love for the eighties and what was an incredible time for me. The references to some of my favourite movies even got me binge-watching films that I hadn’t seen in ages.
Like Wade Watts and Samantha, the characters are believable as real people, as are the descriptions of the future Ernest Cline has imagined. The main bad guy is more than believable as the high powered tycoon with his sights set on Oasis domination. The pursuit of wealth and power being Nolan Sorento’s goal like any respectable antagonist. There is action on every page turned with oodles of anticipation and subtle comedic tones that make for a delightful read.
This book is well up on my top ten and will undoubtedly be read many more times in the future. I enjoyed every megabit, byte, and HD imagined image that comes from this book. You don’t have to be an all-out 80s geek to enjoy it, though. There’s plenty of deep storylines and more action than you can shake a floppy disk at. Why not give it a read. I highly recommend you do.
For those who prefer Audiobooks, give this one a go on Audible. Will Wheaton gives an exceptional narration of the story, which I think makes the story even better.
Keep On Reading
Mike Edward Evans
I first came across awaken online via audible as a ‘listen to next’ option after listening to Ready Player One. The first book I read from Travis Bagwell’s huge series was Awaken Online: Ember. Although a good book and storyline in itself, I wasn’t enthralled enough to move to book two. That’s when I came across Awaken Online: Catharsis. This was a lot more entertaining and gripped me by both shoulders, keeping my interest keenly. I spent a lot of my time in 2019 and 2020 travelling hundreds of miles for work, and these novels made the monotonous journeys more than bearable.
The language used and the descriptions help the reader imagine the scenes with ease and imagine the main storyline’s familiar characters. The main character, Jason, is the relatable down and out school kid who finds he can reinvent himself in the world of Awaken Online. His colleagues Riley and Frank create the unlikely trio of friends that would have never got together outside of the simulation, but inside they can express themselves as who they want to be.
Following the so-called bad guy in the story is a fresh new idea which I personally love. Most books and films follow the hero, but this follows the antihero, which brings in unique perspective storytelling. Too many narratives focus on the good and the all-out hero, whereas this let s you look through the antagonist’s eyes. The tale’s focus is mainly inside the VR universe Travis has created, but he does delve into the troubled ‘normal’ life of the protagonist, Jason. His parents' struggles, the constant bullying at school and trying to get by in the real world. It again shows how someone can be nobody in day to day life and a king in Awaken Online.
The four-book series doesn’t stop there with three ‘Side Quest’ books, which continue the story in other areas and following different characters in their own tale. Giving Jason’s colleagues their own adventure in Awaken Online. I am looking forward to getting into Book four and seeing what the fourth quarter of the story offers. I think then I’ll accept a side quest or two.
Check out Audible or Amazon to get your copy and discover the world of Awaken Online.
Mike Edward Evans
No review page would be any good if it didn't have a Stephen King Novel on it. I like a lot of t eh books, like Salems Lot, IT and Needful Things. For me, though, The Stand stands out (pun intended). It's the one book by Mr King that has just stayed with me. I can remember the story well and would read it over again anytime. The story spans a huge amount of characters and places, he admitted it was hard to write, but The Complete and Uncut Edition of The Stand, published in 1990, is the superior read.
Set in a world devastated by a lethal strain of influenza (sounds familiar) which is 99.4% fatal. It starts with developing the virus as a biological weapon that a fleeing security guard accidentally releases for the biological facility. He unwittingly spreads the virus by trying to escape with his family and infects people and emergency services at a gas station.
Several people become immune to the virus and are forcedly detained to be experimented on. These become the main characters of the tale, and the story follows them when they set up a haven called the Boulder free zone to create a normal life.
Enter the antagonist of the story, Randall Flagg, or the Dark man. The man with supernatural powers builds his own kingdom in Las Vegas and surrounds himself with the scum of the earth. People like The Trashcan Man and The Kid flock to his side with promises of power and absolution.
The rest of the story is yours to read, as I don't intend to leave any spoilers here. Stephen still amazes me today with the tension he builds and the characters he develops. Characters like Stu Redman and Glen Bateman or Harold Lauder. Their individual life stories collide like fate as the story builds through several milestones. I especially like the challenged Tom Cullen and the almost catchprhase he uses.
M-O-O-N that spells moon; laws yes it does.
The TV adaptation, though pretty poor, does bring to life the characters from the book. I prefer the 1994 series to the latest incarnation. Yes, it is a bit cheesy, but I believe it is more loyal to the book. That's my opinion, though, and I'm sure some will have a different opinion. The Stand is more relatable today than ever has been with the global pandemic. You could say Stephen King predicted this. I await the arrival of Mr Flagg himself, and then we'll see how we, the human race, fares in the future.
Mike Edward Evans