Monday, February 9, 2015

The End Is Here...Kind Of

For Christmas I got my sweet Hubbin the book Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton.  It is a combination sci-fi/adventure/puzzle/mass media game book that was...well...hmmm...yeah.  This is not going to be a typical rambling as the authors have asked people not to spoil it, and also it is so disjointed it doesn't really lend itself to a typical synopsis, but I'll do my best to give you at least the flavor of what is going on.
The basic premise of the book is this.  Back in the beginning of humanity, aliens came and picked 12 lines of humans to keep a line of what is called Players going.  The Players have to be between a certain age and physically fit.  They train in physical prowess, code breaking, puzzle solving languages and such all in anticipation of the day that Endgame will begin.  Endgame is the day when the aliens who first picked the 12 decide that humanity is no longer worthy of living and will pretty much destroy everybody.  The only people who will ultimately survive are the people who belong to the line of the winner.  In the book we eventually meet all 12 Players from all over the globe, who all have different backgrounds and training.  Near the beginning 12 meteors come crashing down around the world, killing off a ton of people, all to deliver a rock to the Players to let them know that Endgame has started.  The Players all gather in China and the alien Keplar-22 does his spiel and gives them all a clue in their heads.  The players all scatter to solve the clues, deal with family history, and just cause mayhem in general.  The book ends with one of the players getting the first key and moving on to somewhere in anticipation of the next book.  Through out the book are clues and websites that the reader is supposed to solve.  This extends far past the book into various media sites and research and various codes and such to solve.  The reader who solves the whole puzzle first wins a pretty big cash prize, so that is pretty cool.
I read this book in a different way then I normally fact I didn't read it at all, Hubbin read it to me.  This was fun for two reasons.  One Hubbin has a very soothing voice and it is very very relaxing to listen to him read.  Two, this book was horribly written, so to spice it up, I would "interpret" what the book should have really said...with the occasional "I'm Batman" thrown in for fun.  The book really was written in a very simplistic, broken up, stilted manner that made it almost painful to read.  Every sentence.  Was three or four.  Words long.  And periods were.  The only.  Punctuation. Hubbin thought this might be part of the code, but the WHOLE book was written this way and it was very very very annoying.  I also felt a bit gyped on some of the characters.  There were 12 Players and while we got glimpses of all of them, only about 5 were really focused on and of those 1, the incredibly annoying Sarah Alopay was given at least half the book.  Of all 12 Players, she was the least interesting, most annoying, typical perfect All-American girl that absolutely no originality to her what so ever.  Some of the other characters seemed to have some cool stuff going for them, but I'm not sure because they would get a page for ever 5 of Sarah's.  The puzzles themselves are WAAAAAY over my head, they seem overly complicated and at times completely random.  That is what I have Hubbin for, he is very good at this kind of stuff and has the patience of a saint (which is proven by the fact he has been married to me for so long).  He has gotten into the big puzzle fairly well and is totally ok with my random interjections of pointless trivia so that is working for us.  Maybe we will get lucky and win the prize...if not at least we had this book to bond over and that itself was worth it.  I give this book 4 out of 10 gold digging aliens and will still pick up the next book, just to hear Hubbin read it out loud.
How do you rate a book that is more then a book?  Do you like it when people read out loud to you?  Are you Batman?

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