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Sadly, You could have been so much better, but as it stands, I don't recommend it unless you are really interested in the history of personal gaming computers and games. I picked up the book because someone said it reminded him of Ready Player One which I loved even though I'm not a big gamer. Be warned, You has almost nothing in common with RPO except that video games factor in the story. The plot lines of the two books are not similar at all and YOU is strictly fiction not sci-fi/fantasy fiction.
The plot of You is one of its problems - Russell, the main character, is struggling to find himself and his place in the world. By going to work for a video game company started by his old friends he tries to reconnect to his past and work through his existential questions while exploring the games as part of his job. The title YOU comes from the large sections of the book that are conveyed in second person as Russell works through his questions and problems as an avatar in different games. Example: You are a 14 year old girl, you are on a space ship, you encounter a cave, etc. Its not that the plot is dull, it just sort of seems to wander around and I found the second person sections a little confusing and tiresome after a while. In addition to trying to resolve his own identity crisis, Russell attempts to delve into the mystery of the death of his genius friend, Simon. If Grossman had made the resolution of mystery a larger part of the plot, that might have helped create more tension in the narrative, but ultimately, the mystery takes a back seat and the book leaves many related questions open.
In addition, the characters, although interesting, are difficult to relate to. They don't seem to relate to each other well so maybe its not too surprising that I didn't invest in them much. And there is one character, Don, that I never understood quite where he came from - he seems to have history with the other characters but he isn't part of original friendship. In addition to the human characters, the four central video game avatars are really characters and they are no more relatable than the people. The humans and the avatars all seem a little spacy and not well defined.
Narrative is all first and second person so it isn't a great challenge to a narrator, but Will Collyer was fine.
Ultimately, the book just sort of ends without a clear or satisfying conclusion. The book's summary describes it as thrilling and hilarious and it is neither. I didn't hate it, I was entertained by much of it, but I don't recommend it.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
The book was very good although I found myself wondering if a non techy could stand it. I at times found myself floating unattached to the story not really grasping some of the programming stuff but I just rolled with it and it worked out just like computers do in RL. But I don't think a non techy would be willing to do that. As a gamer I found the book to be a wonderful creation story as many games are, commonly a disregarded element in many games. (EQ2 and EQ). Over all I found the book very fulfilling.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful