So picking up this book my first thought was that it sounded a little like Ender’s Game.
It is nothing like Ender’s Game.
Aside from the space war thing, but they aren’t even really in space, and the war isn’t against aliens.
So nothing like Ender’s Game.
You know the idea that WW3 will end humanity as we know it? This is a book about WW3. But it’s not going to end humanity because instead of the war being fought on Earth and with Nuclear weapons, the war is happening in space and with space fighter ships. But for this to be possible there must be super smart teenagers who are willing to have a computer put into their head and to work their way up the ranks to control ships.
So we follow this guy called Tom who before being selected was living on gambling money. So then he gets selected and then tries to progress up the ranks but by doing so he has to undergo surgery to put a computer in his head.
Other parts of the plot
Some areas of the plot could have easily been cut down as they weren’t really part of the main plot line. But while I am saying this, at the same time I did love those parts. A virus war is epic. And the “viruses” that Tom and Vik made were awesome: pretending you are sheep, farting mania, Nigal Harrison (face spazm), etc.
Some aspects of his personality were just weird. Like his sense of humour. Or when he starts feeling himself up when Elliot sets him up as a girl.
Even though it could be a realistic “approach” it still feels weird to be reading stuff like that even when it’s supposed to be humourous, because it just felt as if the book was too much of a branded “book for boys” even though I don’t really believe in those sort of gender segregation for books.
Changing Perspectives on characters
We developed as Tom developed on our perspectives on the other characters. It was creepy and cool at the same time how easy it was for the author to mutate our feelings towards them.
For example at the beginning I disliked Elliot loads, but by the end of it I actually decided he was one of my favourite characters. Heather too, I liked her at the beginning, then half way I just hated her.
I can’t be bothered to dance around the borders this time hinting at one thing while trying to making it seem like another reason. So yeah. Spoilers to follow. I loved how he was “in love with” Medusa. Also creepy though because he’s never actually met her, only just stalked her in all her battles. However I loved how he was actually almost in love with her, or at least was good enough a friend to her to not care about her looks (she is a Medusa- so ugly that people “die” (not really) when people look at her) because there are just so many ya novels out there which just focus on the looks rather than the personality. So this time when I finally discovered a book where the characters don’t fall in love with each other based on looks, but because of their personalities and how they smash and kill each other in video games.
It was good that it was there, but at the same time didn’t overwhelm the book. Also at times it became quite comedic. Like when Wyatt was being asked out by Yuri and Tom was like “if some girl was interested in me I would be automatically in love with her” with Wyatt standing right next to him 😛
Dream come true
Everyone has had that dream. As a kid. As an adult. (NB not talking about the american dream) the dream to be like a computer. To take in everything thrown at you and remember it all. To know all the answers in a test because you can just download the information and retain it. Or to access internet (not true in this instance) when you’re in this remote place in the middle of nowhere. But while we fantisize about this reality we only really see the good side.
How creepy would it be to have a computer in your head. To be just as robotic and unfeeling. Would it influence you? Does it make you somehow less human? And being part computer also has its weaknesses. What if people infiltrate your head with viruses or make you their blind obedient robot?- e.g. turning you into thinking you are sheep? (as I so learnt from this book)
It’s just a wonderful (and creepy) idea that has the potential to go far; beyond our world even. (note the reference 😛 )
And then some other ones which I don’t have to explain:
- “Come on, Beamer! I beheaded you for your own good.”
- “What’s being crazy like?” Wyatt blurted.
“That depends, Enslow. What’s being tactless and completely inappropriate like?”
- “Those are some of the most powerful people in the world, and you swamped them in sewage! If you had real friends, they’d have told you that you’re an idiot for even thinking about doing that!”
Tom bristled, indignant. “My friends do tell me I’m an idiot. All the time!”
- “There’s a dead guy on our floor,” Tom pointed out.
“Yeah, that’s Beamer, our neighbor.” Vik stepped over Tom’s bed, and kicked open a drawer beneath the mattress. He swept down and yanked out a bundle of fabric. “Here’s your uniform.”
“There’s a dead Beamer on our floor,” Tom said again.”
I loved the book. The concept, the plot, the comedy. But having said that, I still can’t give it 5 stars, or even 4.5. Why you ask? Because, however much I hate to say it, but it is missing the extra zang that a 5 or 4.5 star has to have.
It would be a book that I would be reading to cheer myself up, or as an easy read to make me happy that I’m progressing on my goodreads reading challenge, but it wouldn’t be a book that will change my perception on the world or change me personally. So yeah. 4 shuriken stars.