Thank you to the lovely people at QuasarDragon for mentioning Catching A Sorcerer! The July promotion at Smashwords has ended, but I'd like to thank the many, many people who took advantage of it and snatched up Catching A Sorcerer. Thank you! A while back, I entered Eve Silver's pre-order contest for RUSH. And I won! Woot! I was hoping to put up a video of me with the items, but I've been waiting for my eye eczema to clear. If I wait anymore I might be waiting forever.
I also read RUSH. It seems to have kicked me out of my reading rut.
I loved RUSH. I kind of figured I would since I love Eve's writing and adored the concept of the book. RUSH is a young adult, science fiction, action-thriller about a girl named Micki who gets pulled out of real life and into an fps mmorpg where she must fight aliens. But then she finds out it's not just a game-- the actions affect real life and aliens are really among us. When she's killing aliens she's fighting for human survival. (Oh, and she's falling in love with one of her teammates and fighting with her best friend. Typical teen stuff.)
Here's the thing-- she hasn't been pulled into a game console. She isn't trapped inside an HD TV or the Internet. I would say it's more like she's been pulled into a dimension that is thinly veiled over our current reality. This "veil" or "skin" has been applied by another alien race-- an ancient and extinct but good alien race-- to give humans the ability to fight these evil aliens before they take over and destroy the whole planet. And as is explained in the novel, teenagers are pulled in because of their developing frontal lobes and their abilities to use their imaginations better than adults. (They also have way more energy than us adults, too.) Anyway, that's the concept, and as a gamer and YA reader, I loved it.
The story is about Micki, who gets pulled into the game one day when she purposely runs out into traffic to save a little girl only to get hit by a truck. Inside the game she meets Jackson, her team leader, and is instantly attracted to him, despite the fact that he's not forthcoming with answers to her questions. They destroy some aliens, finishing the mission, but one of their team members is killed. Micki learns that death in the game means death in real life. Finishing a mission means getting sent back to reality to the moment of being pulled into the game. Reality is not problem-free for Micki: her mom's recently dead, her dad's using alcohol to cope, and her best friend is jealous of the attention Micki is suddenly getting from cute boys. But Micki can't tell her she knows these boys from the game-- she can't tell anyone about the game. If she does, people might think she's crazy and aliens might kill her for revealing their existence. And throughout all this Eve Silver weaves a hot romance between Micki and Jackson, her team leader.
Online criticism from readers indicate three major problems with RUSH. The first is the lack of answers from Jackson. Yes, he's not a man of many words, but this made him seem real to me. Boys do not talk a lot. They are experts at avoiding talking. (I know because I live with four of them.) But I'll agree it did go on for a little too long. The second is the petty jealousy between Micki and her best friend. And I'll also agree it was pretty harsh of Carly to turn into a bitch because Micki was hugging a guy she liked. This kind of reaction would have worked better if Carly and the guy had already been out on a date or were even involved in a relationship.
Both of these two problems aren't really about what the readers think they're about. Really, the problem is Micki's acceptance of Jackson's and Carly's behaviour. I would have liked to have seen Micki confront them-- and really stick it out until she got answers she was satisfied with. Instead, she backed down. While this might seem like she's taking the high road, it weakens her as a character. When characters hit roadblocks we want to see them take increasing risks to get around these blocks.
The third big problem seems to stem from readers' inability to understand the concept of story. Girl gets sucked into a video game and has to shoot aliens to survive. What's not to understand? I think if people really don't get stories like this, then they shouldn't be reading them-- and they certainly shouldn't be posting one-star reviews because of their own lack of understanding. Just say it's not for you and go read something else.
This is definitely a book for anyone who likes young adult fiction and science fiction and gaming. There's fighting and weapons and points and survival and aliens and kissing. And it's awesome. (Might be a good idea if you love cliff-hanger endings because this one is a doozy.)
On to the loot!
A t-shirt! Here's the front:
And here's the back:
A bookmark to match the book:
And a necklace with a charm of Jackson's aviators:
How cool is that?!
And, that's not all. I got a gelskin for my iPhone, too!
Here's the front:
And here's the back: