Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Title: Metagame

Author: Sam Landstrom

Publisher: AmazonEncore

ISBN: 1935597167

Release Date: 2010

Page Number: 400
Price: 9.45$ Paperback

D_Light has just killed someone. It was self defense (mostly). It was legal. And technically, it was just part of a game. But in D_Light's world, the game is something almost everyone is part of, and it's dead serious. In the game there are rules that, when in effect, let you kill others in exchange for a small fortune each time. There are humanoid products made by playing with genetics which are used for everything from servants to sex toys. There are smaller games, games that make you work out in exchange for fun, games that make work fun, and the most exclusive and rewarding of all, there are the metagames, which only royalty and their advisers can participate. And when D_Light kills the handmaiden of one of his royal 'mothers', D_Light finds himself a participating adviser in one such game.

Their first task is to find a specific criminal. That's when D_Light meets Lily. Lily isn't in the database as a criminal, or anything else for that matter. Except she tries to interfere with the catching of the criminal and gets branded one herself. That's when D_Light sees a way to profit, and agrees to help her escape capture with the intent of making the chase into a game against the game system itself. He figures he'll turn her in at the end, and get credits for showing flaws in the system. Except, instead of proving himself, D_Light becomes a criminal himself. But if his team can complete the metagame without being caught, he'll be pardoned. It's just a matter of winning the game.

I am a sucker for novels set in worlds like this. Anything with a futuristic theme where the entire world has changed some how. I loved Uglies, I loved The Giver, and when I saw this, I was prepared to love this from the start. I'm still not sure if the book delivered on my expectations.

The plot to Metagame isn't really all that particularly interesting. The main characters play a game, follow instructions, find some chick that they bring with them, follow more instructions, end. There are a few plot twists, action sequences, etc, but the storyline isn't anything to write home about. It's average.

But the setting to the novel is what MAKES this book. Metagame is set in a world where every is a part of a massive game. In this futuristic society, 'working' has been replaced by grinding games which get the work accomplished while utilizing the same psychological draw of video games: visible, steady rewards. Games that are just for fun force you to work out as you play them. The people consist of 'families', where you may not be genetically related, but anyone high enough in rank to you is your mother or father. There's a rule which, when used, states you can kill anyone and get away with it. Everything about Metagame's universe is different, but it's explained in short, light ways. There aren't entire chapters dedicated to explaining away plot holes or anything, but the explanations are nicely woven into the storyline.

While the storyline might not be amazing, reading about the different kinds of 'products', the games within the games, the very houses that people in Metagame live in, makes up for any 'bleh' factors of the plot.

The characters aren't particularly notable in any way, good or bad. None of the characters of Metagame are particularly bad, but neither are they particularly good. The main character has his share of quirks, as does Lily, but the rest of his team seem a little bland overall. The most interesting character of the metagame team, in my opinion, is the product which does and says the least.

Metagame isn't spectacular, and it certainly isn't going to be the next The Giver, but that's okay. It's a pretty good book for 'just for fun' reading, and I honestly think the setting makes it work reading all on its own. I'd recommend it to fans of the Uglies trilogy, as well as anyone who enjoys reading about futuristic worlds.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Eon:Dragoneye Reborn

Title: Eon: Dragoneye Reborn [Also titled The Two Pearls of Wisdom or Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye]

Author: Alison Goodman

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

ISBN: 9780670062270

Release Date: 2008

Page Number: 544

Price: 13.59$ Hardcover; 9.99$ Paperback

Eon:Dragoneye Reborn is the story of Eon, a young candidate being prepared for a ceremony in which a single boy is chosen by the godlike dragons of the world. The boy who is chosen is bonded to the dragon, becoming apprentice to the current dragoneye of their shared dragon's title. After 12 years that boy becomes a master, taking his former master's place as dragoneye and taking his own apprentice before retiring after another 12 years, drained of life energy by the taxing dragon bond. In return for life energy, the boy gains the dragon's power and is able to control the forces of nature and keep them in balance. Eon has been trained by a master who bought him from the salt farms, and he is his master's last hope for his household suriving. If Eon is chosen by the dragon, he and his master will gain fortune and glory and he will become a lord.

But Eon is far from the perfect candidate. Eon is crippled with a twisted hip from an accident when he was younger. Nobody believes he has a chance at being chosen, particularly when he can't even perform all of the ceremonial fighting forms to honor the dragons. Only Eon's master believes he has any chance.

But Eon and his master have a secret that could get them both killed. Eon is, in truth, Eona. As a female, she is forbidden to participate in the ceremony. If she is discovered, it would be the end of her, dragon or not.

But when the ceremony day arrives and Eon is not selected by the rat dragon, she prepares to be sold back into slavery to the salt farm. That's when the mirror dragon appears for the first time in 500 years and selects Eona as the mirror dragoneye. Suddenly every other energy dragon bows to Eona and her new bonded, and Eona is thrust into a new life she never would have expected.

I picked up Eon for the first time in a random book grab at my library. As a fan of gender bending stories of any kind, I was interested from the first few words of the summary. Dragons, fantasy, gender switching; what more could a girl want in a book? The fact that the cover was absolutely gorgeous was just a nice plus. I've since reread the book several times, and while it's not what I'd call absolute favorite material, I found it good enough to be worth buying my own copy instead of relying on the library.

The storyline itself is what drew me to the book, and I gotta say I'm pretty fond of it. There are a few times in the middle where it seems to drag a little, often because of excessive description, so it's not perfect. But it's still a nice light read.

As far as the characters go, it's hard to really say anything defining about each one. The main character, Eona, is honestly one of the worst characters in the novel. There are times in the novel where her actions made me cringe from the sheer stupidity. I won't mention specifics for the sake of not ruining the story, but needless to say she does a lot of really stupid things throughout the course of the novel.

Oddly enough, it's the side characters that are the most interesting, not the hero and villain. A moon shadow guard and his charge that are introduced soon after the bonding ceremony are two of my favorite characters. Eona's master is probably one of the deepest characters in the entire novel. He comes off as incredibly cruel in the very first few chapters, but ends up playing a really important role. His actions are mindblowing, and I can't wait for the sequel to find out how they're going to end up playing out.

Speaking of the sequel, the most unappealing and annoying fault I can find about Eon comes from the ending. After a huge action sequence where everything I had been waiting to happen occurs...the novel ends. No conclusion. Instead the reader is forced into buying a sequel for any kind of closure to the story. I love the book, I really do, but I would have much rather chosen to read a sequel because I liked the first book enough to look into it, not because it's the second half of the first book packaged and sold as a sequel. A cliffhanger ending is one thing, but there's a difference between a cliffhanger added at the end of a concluded story, and a story that just isn't finished.

Even with the ending, Eon: Dragoneye Reborn is a book that I would still recommend. It's a nice read, the storyline is great, and the eastern culture references are a really nice touch. I'd recommend the book to anyone who likes gender bending plots or just anyone who enjoys a good fantasy book.