Jacob grew up hearing his grandfather’s stories about his youth in Europe and the odd characters he lived with there — a girl who could fly, a pair of twins with the strength to juggle boulders, and an old bird who ran a home where she took care of them all. He even shows Jacob old black and white photographs that seem to show these peculiar people. The skeleton of the plot is a bit familiar, but the details are off-kilter enough to keep you reading.
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Aunt Ada Doom’s #CBR5 Review #3: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Ready Player One is the story of the world’s highest-stakes virtual scavenger hunt and the 80s-obsessed teenager who takes the lead. In a not-too-distant future, the inventor of a virtual universe called OASIS leaves behind a video will with a clue to the start of a quest within OASIS. The first player who collects three keys, passes three gates, and collects the final egg will inherit his entire estate.
The main setting is the richly-sketched virtual world of OASIS and the book is at its most enjoyable when it focuses on exploring that world. The plot is a pretty straightforward quest as the protagonist, Wade, searches for the egg and engages with friendly competitors as well as the requisite evil corporation. This is a fast-paced adventure that’s enjoyable even without much familiarity with 80s pop culture.
Aunt Ada Doom’s #CBR5 Review #2: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder is a triumph of atmospheric prose, but a big splat as far as consistent characterization and plot. An unsympathetic protagonist and cheap plot choices toward the end ruined my enjoyment of what could easily have been an immersive, well-written winner.
Aunt Ada Doom’s #CBR5 Review #1: Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris, is a novel following a group of “creatives” in an advertising agency as they attempt to generate concepts for seemingly-impossible assignments and avoid being the next casualty of a steady stream of layoffs. This sounds like a dour, unenjoyable slog, but it’s actually a funny, sharp, fast read.