Welcome to Feature Shelf, a series that provides book recommendations based on theme or title suggestions. Quite some time ago, one of my YouTube viewers asked for books for her son who enjoys video games. It’s taken me forever to get to it, but here we go. I am the (book) supplier and this is Feature Shelf #33: the Gamer Edition.
Widely known fact about me: I am a gamer. Whether it be a good role playing game like Skyrim or a first person shooter like Call of Duty, or table top games like Magic the Gathering or Ticket to Ride, I’m up for gaming anytime. So I was excited to put together this list of books for readers who, like me, love playing games.
I thought for this shelf I’d start on a super high note with my favorite book of 2012, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This one takes us into the world of an RPG. See, in Wade Watt’s world, the head of the biggest gaming company died, leaving what amounts to an easter egg hunt for the rights to take over said company. Wade, and a number of other gamers band together to keep the Oasis, what the user interface is called, from being taken over by a rival company. Ready Player One is full of the adventure one would expect from an RPG, as well as tons of 80s pop culture references that might make older readers feel quite nostalgic.
Second on the shelf this week is Discordia: The Eleventh Dimension. Back when I did book talks on YouTube, I definitely embarrassed myself with the introduction to this book. I’ll drop a link in the show notes so you can have a laugh at me.
Have you ever wanted to become part of whatever massively multiplayer online game you were playing? Take live action role playing to the extreme? This is essentially what happens in Discordia. Lance is sucked into this world, along with someone he’s quested with, and tasked with completing a quest for TheGreatOne. TheGreatOne may not be as awesome as he seems and the quest may serve some dark purpose, but the only way back to Lance’s real world is by playing through to the end.
For those of you looking for something with younger protagonists, I’m going to put the 39 Clues series on the shelf, which beings with The Maze of Bones. It’s a very different kind of game from what you find in Ready Player One and Discorida, because it’s not part of the video game or RPG world. But the main characters, Amy and Dan are dropped into a huge game after the death of their grandmother, pitted against members of their family — it’s a race to uncover a huge family secret, one that requires the deciphering of 39 clues and traveling all over the world. It’s action / adventure and it’s puzzles and it’s right up my alley, as I love puzzle games like Portal and Room. It’s 11 books long, written by a bunch of popular young adult authors, and has at least one spin off series.
While Partials by Dan Wells isn’t about gaming per se, it reads like the story to a great RPG that feels a little bit like the science fiction television show Battlestar Galactica. Humans are almost extinct. There was a war with Partials, organically created essentially super-humans, that pretty much destroyed the human race. And like the Cylons from Battlestar, Partials are indistinguishable from humans. Add to that a virus that wiped out a bunch of people and left those immune sterile, and it makes for hard living for those left and a promise of human’s eventual extinction. The fate of humanity rests on Kira, a 16 year old medic-in-training, who has to figure out how humans and Partials are connected to be able to save those who are left. One of my YouTube friends did a review of this that made me pick it up. I’ll drop a link to it in the show notes.
For the last book on our shelf, I’d like to take us back to the virtual world. James Dashner has a new book out, The Eye of Minds. It is the first book in The Mortality Docterine series. The world in The Eye of Minds seems to be very similar to that of Ready Player One, where people spend a lot of time in a virtual world called VirtNet where they can experience things they wouldn’t otherwise experience without the fear of getting hurt, or can just hang out with other people in the VirtNet. But of course with great technology comes people who want to control it for their own ends. VirtNet is hacked, people are taken hostage, and all manner of bad things happen. The main character, Michael, is a hacker. Not the hacker who took the hostages, but the hacker who is tasked with catching the hacker who did. I think fans of Ready Player One will really like this one.
So that was five books you might enjoy if you are, like me, a gamer: Ready Player One, Discordia the Eleventh Dimension, The 39 Clues series, Partials and The Eye of Minds.
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I’m going to leave you there now, dear readers. Thanks for listening to Feature Shelf #33: the Gamer’s Edition. As always, I am the supplier wishing you happy reading. Don’t forget to be awesome.