WWW Wednesday 27.08.2014

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

Happy Wednesday, Everyone! I feel like I’m on a good book roll at the moment – let’s hope it continues.

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Currently Reading:
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. Nothing to report on this one yet, but I’m looking forward to my first foray into the so-called Grimdark world.

Recently Finished:
This week I finished Endgame by James Frey which was batshit – in good way – click the link for the review I posted yesterday, and She is not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick which I also loved. Yay! Good book week 🙂 Review for the latter will be up soon.

Up Next:
As always, I’m not entirely sure but it will probably be Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead (I know I keep saying that!) or How I live Now by Meg Rosoff.

This is Endgame!

Endgame
Title: Endgame: The Calling
Author: James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton
Series: Endgame #1
Edition: ARC, 464 pages
Expected Publication: October 7th 2014 by HarperCollins
Genre(s): YA; Sci-Fi
Disclosure? Not really. I received a copy from the publisher/author but I was not obligated to write a review.

Goodreads
Pre-Order

Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

For ten thousand years the lines have existed in secret. The 12 original lines of humanity. Each had to have a Player prepared at all times. They have trained generation after generation after generation. In weapons, languages, history, tactics, disguise assassination. Together the players are everything: strong, kind, ruthless, loyal, smart, stupid, ugly, lustful, mean, fickle, beautiful, calculating, lazy, exuberant, weak. They are good and evil. Like you. Like all.

This is Endgame.

When the game starts, the players will have to find three keys. The keys are somewhere on earth. The only rule of their Endgame is that there are no rules. Whoever finds the keys first wins the game. Endgame: The Calling is about the hunt for the first key. And just as it tells the story of the hunt for a hidden key, written into the book is a puzzle. It invites readers to play their own Endgame and to try to solve the puzzle. Whoever does will open a case filled with gold. Alongside the puzzle will be a revolutionary mobile game built by Google’s Niantic Labs that will allow you to play a real-world version of Endgame where you can join one of the lines and do battle with people around you.
Will exuberance beat strength? Stupidity top kindness? Laziness thwart beauty? Will the winner be good or evil? There is only one way to find out.

Play.
Survive.
Solve.
People of Earth.
Endgame has begun.

Let’s face it, James Frey likes to fuck with people.

First there was A Million Little Pieces, a harrowing memoir of a self-destructive alcoholic going through rehab which turned out to be more fiction than fact, and then came The Final Testament of the Holy Bible in which The Messiah sleeps his way around New York with men and women, collecting followers along the way, and damning religion as he goes.

And now…well, now There’s Endgame.

I’ve already ranted about the barrage of shit people have been spouting about the book on Goodreads based solely on the synopsis (OMG it’s like SO Hunger Games… how dare he…etc), and their personal opinions of Frey – and the best thing is that it turns out that Endgame isn’t really very THG at all, he’s just fucking with you.

JOKE’S ON YOU.

In all seriousness, I can’t see any other reason why Frey and Johnson-Shelton decided there had to be twelve ancient lines, with one player chosen from each, or why protagonist Sarah Alopay had to have her hair in a braid… things pretty synonymous with The Hunger Games these days, but look at the bigger picture (or y’know, just read the book) and you may find something other than a passing resemblance to the popular dystopian franchise.

Endgame: The Calling is like nothing I’ve ever read before. As the 12 players of Endgame search across the globe for the first key to the puzzle, we too are given clues of our own to solve.

I absolutely love this concept. When I first heard about the Masquerade phenomenon of the 70s I was jealous I never got to experience it. I also used to really love those ‘choose your own path’ books, and Endgame felt a bit like those, but on a far bigger, more sophisticated scale.

As far as the story itself is concerned, I couldn’t put it down but I did feel like something was missing. I liked that it wasn’t a last-one-standing kind of deal, which was another element that set it aside from the likes of The Hunger Games and Battle Royale.

Instead, each player is playing for the survival of their lineage, so basically everyone they know and love. A clue is implanted into their heads by Kepler 22b, the ancient alien-being overseeing Endgame. This gives the players the chance to form unlikely alliances and work together to solve the clues and find the keys. Only one can win, but the objective isn’t simply to maim each other.

I thought that idea could be a great base for some intense character relationships and drama but it never really amounted to enough of a climax for me. I liked the alliance and growing romance between Sarah and aloof Jago, especially when Sarah’s non-player boyfriend Christopher is thrown into the mix, but I didn’t get very emotionally invested in any of them. Perhaps there’s just too many players to care about at this point, or maybe it’s that most of them were too focused and came across as cold.

I did like a lot of things about the book though. As with most of Frey’s work to date, Endgame is about more than it first appears. There’s a sense of a greater power at work, something ancient and spiritual which I look forward to exploring further in the series.

However, the thing I liked most of all is that every reader’s experience of Endgame will be different. I enjoyed looking up all the links and clues provided even if the whole thing hasn’t gone live yet (publication day, guys). Having to flick to the end of the book each chapter to get the link was a bit of an effort at first (I imagine this won’t be as much as an issue with digital editions), but I thought it was totally worth it in the end. Links to YouTube Videos, Wikipedia pages and google images, consisting of everything from Mongolian Warrior music, to watching a sunset changes the way you read and think about the story as you go along.

Overall, I thought Endgame was a fast-paced, fun, read, but not one that completely blew me away. What Frey and Johnson-Shelton have created here is a unique reading experience, and even if you have doubts about the synopsis (Yes Goodreads’ trolls I’m looking at you) you have to appreciate the innovation and scope of it.

Endgame will begin if the human race has shown that it doesn’t deserve to be human. That it has wasted the enlightenment They gave to us.”

unicorn rating 4

Endgame: The Calling is available to Pre-Order now.

WWW Wednesday 20/08/2014

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday!

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Currently Reading:
I’m at the business end of Endgame: The Calling by James Frey & Nils Johnson Shelton. It’s a high-concept, interactive book that I’m loving even if it’s making me feel a bit stupid. WHAT DO THESE CLUES MEAN?

Recently Finished:
Ever Near by Melissa MacVicar. I really enjoyed this YA modern ghost story with a bit of romance thrown in. Let’s call it the #HotStepBrother factor.

Up Next:
Getting my hands on Endgame was a surprise so it’s thrown me off track slightly. Therefore my next one will still either be Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead, Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence or She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick. I also really need to start Of Scars and Stardust for an ARC deadline. I requested it for the title alone.

Friday Feature: James Frey and the Goodreads Trolls

I am really starting to get annoyed about the Goodreads trolls. I’m a book blogger so I guess I take reading and reviewing books seriously to a degree, but man, some people need to chill the fcuk out.

I’ve personally been involved in two incidents thus far. Firstly, I said in a review that a book was ‘vampire erotica’ and someone felt the need to tell me that it was in fact paranormal romance. I didn’t particularly take offence to the correction, but it was worded in a way which annoyed me. And I just thought why bother!?

The second incident, however, really ignited the rage in me. I requested a book from Netgalley without realising it was the second book in a series. We’ve all done it, right? I didn’t enjoy the book very much, but I put it down to that fact, and made that clear in my review. I even made a point of saying that people shouldn’t be put off by my 2/5 rating.

Someone took offence to this and decided to leave this lovely comment:

I also received this book as a giveaway. Knowing it was a SECOND book, I bought the FIRST book and read it BEFORE I received the other book. It is NOT FAIR to rate the SECOND book so low because YOU did not take it on yourself to READ THE FIRST BOOK BEFOREHAND!!! It is NOT the author’s fault that you walked into the mist in the middle!!!”

its-not-fair-sara-labyrinth

Alright Sarah, Jeeze. Funnily enough, once I pointed out exactly what I’d said in the review I didn’t hear another peep out of Sarah. And the best thing was that the author got in touch and asked if I’d like her to send me the first book to find out how the story began. She obviously didn’t have as many issues with my review as Sarah did.

What does this have to do with James Frey? I hear you cry. I’m getting to it, bear with me.

The other thing I hate about Goodreads is when people leave ‘reviews’ or comments on books BEFORE THEY’VE EVEN READ THEM. I mean, why? You can’t have an opinion until you’ve at least started the book, right?

And that’s what brings me to James Frey.

Oh James Frey, I do love you. I know that a lot of people don’t though, for various reasons, and that’s fine. But is there really any need to fill the Goodreads page for his upcoming book with such vileness. Go take a look.

So it sounds a bit like The Hunger Games? What doesn’t. And while we’re on the subject do these people really think THG was an original idea? REALLY? Battle Royale, anyone? The Long Walk? The Running Man? Gah.

And no one seems to mention the whole concept of this series, probably because they have no idea about it. Each book is a piece of a puzzle that will link up to a Google map, incorporating social media into a global treaure hunt. Kind of a modern version of the Masquerade hunt. It’s explained better here.

I think it sounds awesome, but whatever.

So to sum up: I love Goodreads, BUT CAN YOU JUST STOP. You know who you are.