This year I set myself the simple task of reading 15 books in my ‘reading challenge’. I’m currently reading book 23 of 2018, so picking my ‘best of the year’ so-far is quite a tricky one.
At the start of every year, I like to see what films or TV shows are on the agenda, and was particularly interested in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming adaptation of Ready Player One.
I hadn’t heard a great deal about Ernest Cline’s book, but when a director of Spielberg’s epic proportions puts their name to a movie it certainly helps pique my interest. The same goes for Scorcese who led me to read Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane and Silence by Shusaku Endo.
The reviews for Ready Player One all suggested I was in for a good read, but little did I know what I was actually getting myself in to. The book was exceptional, and the stand-out one that I have struggled to put down this year. One of those that you find yourself reading on the sofa rather than watching the telly.
It had the feel of a Harry Potter book, all very Quidditch World Cup as I wrapped myself up in the virtual world of OASIS. Parzival, the virtual protagonist, is the story’s Potter equivalent as he seeks to complete an exhilarating set of tasks to gain ownership of the OASIS industries, the company that created the (would you believe it) OASIS virtual world.
James Halliday, co-founder of OASIS, offered this prize to coincide with his passing. Luckily for the world, one of his last deeds on this earth was to create many an excellent challenge for competitors to solve as they compete to win a multi-billion dollar company. (Unrealistic unfortunately as we live in an actual world where the first trillion dollar company now exists!).
There’s an almost dystopian feel to the world of OASIS as it envelopes the real-world and offers a better alternative for earth’s inhabitants who are reduced to living in high-rise slums. They’re the good guys though, it’s IOI (Innovative Online Industries) who are exploiting the online platform as they seek to win the biggest prize of them all for their own ill-gotten gains.
That is about as much summary as I can muster up as I try not to give too much away. The book is a fantastic read, and for those that have already seen the film a worthwhile one to pick up as the film just couldn’t fit all the content in.
The popular, and very geeky, references to video games, TV shows, movies and music from the 80s and 90s really resonated with me as things I enjoyed throughout my childhood too. Even if I read another 20 books this year, I don’t think I’ll find one that I’d recommend more than this one. Definitely my read of 2018 so far.
Other honourable mentions:
1. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi
2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
3. All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen
4. Pulp by Charles Bukowski
5. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Always an avid reader, I found myself in a reading slump at the tail end of 2017. So using the ever-faithful Goodreads, I set myself the task to read 15 books using their reading challenge. I am now on book number 22! I have exceeded my own expectations and we still have a good 4 months of the year left.
My best book from this year so far is Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh. I hadn’t heard of this author, nor seen any of his books crossing my path here at World of Books, but as a sucker for the thriller, crime and mystery genre the simple hook on the front page had me:-
“The serial killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury.”
WHAT!? How is THAT even possible? As ridiculous as it sounds this book was incredible. It follows the con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn as he takes on the murder case of Hollywood’s hottest power couple. In a case reminiscent of the infamous OJ trial, Robert Soloman is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife and security guard. Eddie is Robert’s defence attorney and although all the evidence points to a guilty verdict can Eddie go for the acquittal? During the trial, a series of sinister incidents start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind that end up steering him towards a manhunt aimed at the jury.
The book flowed and the story as farfetched as the hook made it seem, truly was a page-turner. Each chapter was portrayed from the point of view of Eddie and then the serial killer Kane. You see the story from two narratives and you really do just want to scream at Eddie as a reader to tell him what Kane has been doing behind the scenes. Then just when you think you have it sussed, there is a twist right at the end!
This book is number 4 in the Eddie Flynn series, but as a first-time reader of this author and series, the book can happily stand-alone, I did not feel I had missed out on any important back story. This book is my favourite of the year so far, the five books I mention below just didn’t quite come close to this one.
My other honourable mentions
1. The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown
2. Lullaby by Leila Slimani
3. The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
4. Ghost Virus by Graham Masterton
5. The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
What has been your favourite book of 2018 so far? Tell us in the comments below.