Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

 

Ready-Player-One-Ernest-Cline
Source: Goodreads

 

It is 2044 and the world is dying. Rather than confront the global issues at their doorstep, humanity has retreated into the virtual reality universe known as The Oasis. Wade Watts lives in a tower of mobile homes somewhere in Ohio, his only refuge the virtual high school he attends in The Oasis. The sudden death of Oasis creator James Halliday forever alters the lives of Oasis users when it is announced that Halliday has hidden the key to his massive inheritance – and the ownership rights to The Oasis – inside his own game as an easter egg. Now with Halliday’s biggest rivals like IOI closing in, it is up to a few good egg hunters – known as gunters – to reach Halliday’s egg first and keep The Oasis free and accessible to all.

 

I had heard about this book in passing numerous times, and it always popped up on my radar, but I ignored it. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood to read about video games. Maybe I thought I would miss too many of the 80s references, and the book wouldn’t make sense as a result of this inherent failing on my part. Maybe a lot of things.

It surfaced on my radar again three years ago when my sister’s university had to read it as part of their one-book-one-campus initiative. She loved it, but I was in the middle of rereading Harry Potter. It’s been high on my list since then, and I finally picked it up from the library last month.

 

This book is awesome. The 80s references are great, and since I was blessed with a mother who loves science fiction and fantasy, I understood at least eighty-five percent of the references and jokes.

Wade and his cohorts develope well as characters, and IOI makes for an intimidating enemy. The Oasis itself steals the spotlight. Its MMORPG (Massively-Multiplayer-Online-Role-Playing-Game) meets space opera structure is as beautiful and thoughtfully created as the book’s plot.

This journey through games, film, and music from one of the most iconic (in my opinion, at least) eras of history is not to be missed. And with a film version of the book hitting theatres next month, there’s no time like the present to pick up a copy. **Just a friendly heads-up that this book does contain some not-safe-for-child-consumption bits, so maybe save this one for the 15+ crowd. I’m assuming they’ll just pull these bits from the film script to get a PG13 for violence rating instead of pushing the edge of R for a pointless m*****b****n scene.**

 

HHC Rating: 4.5 Stars

Geekerella – Ashley Poston

 

Geekerella-Ashley-Poston
Source: Goodreads

 

 

Danielle Wittimer and her parents had a special bond – their undying love for the too-soon gone TV show Starfield. Now that they’re gone, the show and the convention her father started in honor of it are the only things Elle has left of them. They keep her going while her stepmother and twin stepsisters make her life a living hell.

Darien Freeman grew up torn between worlds. Discovering Starfield and Excelsicon in middle school literally saved his life. Now, the chance to play the lead role of Prince Carmindor in the new film adaption of the cult TV show is more than he can pass up, but will the fans accept a new Carmindor?

Terrified to meet his new fans and foes, Darien reaches out to the Excelsicon founders to try to pull out of his meet-and-greet, only to find a friend instead. As Elle and Darien get to know each other through texts, they begin to understand just how not alone they really are. Will it be enough to save Carmindor and the reboot from disaster? Will it be enough to rescue Elle from her own personal hell?

 

 

I heard about this book last year just before it came out, and I had the chance to hear Ashley Poston speak about it at the Boston Teen Author Festival in September. Geekerella‘s charm comes from its roots in the Cinderella fairytale, tied up in its infusion of sci-fi culture – Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, and so many more. The melding together of fairytale and space opera with verge-of-adulthood problems and responsibilities makes for a totally new story that will enchant readers for years to come.

Poston’s love for everything space shines through in her writing and in her speech. Her next space-opera-meets-fairytale will hit shelves in the next year or two, and I personally can’t wait to get my hands on it.

 

HHC Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

Film Review – Wonder Woman (2017)

 

 

Wonder-Woman-IMDB
Source: IMDB

 

 

 

Patty Jenkins directs Gal Gadot as the title character in this origin story of DC’s greatest hero. Diana grew up on the island of Themyscira, the daughter of Queen Hippolyta and the last child of the god Zeus. As a young woman, Diana saves a man from drowning and exposes the world of the Amazons to the tumults of World War II. Determined to do her duty as an Amazon and rescue the world from a never-ending war, she sets off with her new friend for the frontlines.

 

I had originally planned to see this opening night, but I was trying to coordinate schedules with someone and it just wasn’t working out. During the month I was waiting to see it, I saw a lot of hype online about how strongly feminist the film was, and how it does such a good job of how it portrays Diana as her own person rather than a sexualized object, and it all just made me insanely excited to see it.

When I finally saw it for the first time last night, I had to admit it was not as overtly feminist as I thought it would be, but Diana’s sense of equality is pretty fantastic, and it does clearly influence those around her. Having grown up knowing about men but never meeting one, she doesn’t have any of the ‘men are more important’ mentality that most women have ingrained by the age of five, but neither does she have an awe of them that would impede her in any way. Her mentality is very body positive and inquisitive as well as focused. When faced with something new and scary like guns, bombs, and crazy people in general, it is this mentality that keeps Diana on track to achieve her goals.

In the past week I’ve started hearing of a few people who didn’t love the film, but so far I’ve been able to chalk that up to them either being let down by the huge hype, or the fact that they are not typically superhero movie people and only saw Wonder Woman because its protagonist is female. I didn’t love the “romance” aspect, but I can completely see and understand how important it was to the overall story and helped mold Diana into the Wonder Woman we all know and love. Honestly, that’s my only gripe about the entire film. Everything else was phenomenal, I’m going to see it again as soon as my schedule allows, and I’m going to buy it the second it comes on out on DVD. I already purchased the soundtrack.

I came out of the Wonder Woman ready to take on the world, run a million miles, learn all the fighting styles and languages there are, and with this crazy need to make an impact in the world. Wonder Woman is a princess, a goddess, a warrior, a superhero, a scholar, a catalyst for peace, and she works in a museum. What more could you ask for in a role model? Ever since watching Lynda Carter in reruns of the Wonder Woman TV series from the 70’s as a child in the 90’s, Wonder Woman has been one of my heroes, and I consider myself beyond lucky to have her handed back to me in the form of Gal Gadot.

HHC Rating: 5 Stars

Pottermore Sorting: Hogwarts and Ilvermorny

Hogwarts Ilvermorny

Sources: Harry Potter Wiki – Hogwarts
Harry Potter Wiki – Ilvermorny

*Please note that I am not breaking down/explaining what each house represents in this post. You can find all of that information on Pottermore.com if you feel so inclined, rather than be forced to read it in its 100th reiteration here.

When J.K. Rowling, the author the wildly popular Harry Potter book (and film!) series opened up a website for Potterheads (fans of the series) in April of 2012, everyone immediately headed over to be sorted into their Hogwarts houses. The website was interactive and users worked their way through the stories, earning points for their house towards the House Cup that was awarded each year. I remember taking the quiz for the first time and finding out that I was a hat-stall. I answered the last question and was presented with a screen that asked me to choose between Gryffindor and Slytherin. I was pretty sure that was just the result it gave everyone because after all we were supposedly playing through the book series, and that’s the decision Harry ultimately makes. (I chose Gryffindor. Go Lions!) It wasn’t until I was scouring social media later that I realized people were actually being sorted into other houses. I had always wanted to be in Ravenclaw, and I remember taking the quiz about ten times before it finally put me in Ravenclaw instead of Gryffindor. I never got the hat-stall screen again.

When the site went down for renovations last year, I was sad, to say the least. But low-and-behold, January 28th, 2016 brought renewed hope. Pottermore was back up and running, but it looked very different. Gone were the interactive game, the dueling, and the House Cup. What we did get, however, was a ton of backstory and fleshy bits (aka my favorite parts) about the world of magic. Most importantly, we still had a Hogwarts sorting quiz. The unfortunate part of that being that it was a new quiz and a lot of people were upset by it, having already identified themselves by the houses they had originally been sorted into. I, luckily enough, was still sorted into Gryffindor (hooray!), though I was not a hat-stall this time around.

June 28th, 2016, heralded a new surprise for Potterheads: a second sorting ceremony. This one for the American school of witchcraft and wizardry, Ilvermorny, who’s backstory was revealed the same day. I took the Ilvermorny sorting quiz and became a Pukwudgie. Then I immediately scoured social media to discover what this meant. Since taking the quiz, I have discovered a few things. First was a post that I discovered via Twitter, discussing the potential correlations between Hogwarts and Ilvermorny houses. I reblogged it on Tumblr, and you can also find the original post here. Thanks much to Layne Morgan for putting that together. The second, which I found more recently, was an article that showed where users from each Hogwarts house ended up in Ilvermorny. It’s quite interesting! You can find that over at Hypable.

Mostly what I discovered is that Pukwudgie and Thunderbird are the most popular across the Hogwarts houses,  and almost no one is in Wampus. Because of all the data floating around, I felt the need to do some research of my own.

I took each quiz 6 times, and these are my results:

Hogwarts:

Gryffindor: 3 times
Ravenclaw: 2 times
Hufflepuff: 1 time
Slytherin: 0 times

Ilvermorny:

Horned Serpent: 3 times
Pukwudgie: 2 times
Wampus: 1 time
Thunderbird: 0 times

With Hypable’s article showing 36.3% of Gryffindors ending up in Pukwudgie and the same percentage in Thunderbird, I’m somewhat surprised by my findings. As far as the Hogwarts sortings go, I already mentioned that I was a Gryffindor who used to dream of being a Ravenclaw, so is it really a surprise that I got Ravenclaw a few times? In terms of what some Potterheads term ‘hybrid houses’, I’ve always been a Gryffinclaw. I found the singular Hufflepuff sorting interesting because my sisters were sorted into Hufflepuff in the original sorting quiz, so I guess loyalty just runs in the family.

*Please note that to take the quizzes you must be logged in to Pottermore.com. You can create an account for free using your email address.

Have you taken the sorting quizzes yet? What house(s) did you get? Let me know in the comments here or over on Twitter @Amanda_HHC.

Until next time,

Amanda