Epic by Conor Kostick

Looking for a book that will hook all of those video game playing teens?  Well, look no further!  This is THE ONE.

Erik is a boy living on a planet where the world revolves around an incredible video game.  The game, Epic, decides the wealth of people in the real world, settles disputes, and works as a form of government.  The most powerful players in the game are the most powerful people in the world.  Erik’s parents are poor and Erik has had a hard time playing Epic well enough and cautiously enough to advance.  Soon the graduation trials were coming and Erik was expecting to do very badly.  That is until he decides to go ahead and go against the trend of highly armored and ugly characters and creates a lithe, beautiful swashbuckler as his character.  Soon Erik is discovering things about Epic that no one else has.  Will it be enough to help his family and his friends?  And what happens when you gain the attention of the most powerful gamers in the world?

This book completely rocks!  The writing is crisp and clear, creating a book that reads like a video game encounter.  It is just as all-encompassing and world bending as a great game too.  Even better, Epic asks questions and will generate discussion and thought for its readers.  It is the best of both worlds:  a book that is easily read and enjoyed but one that is worthy of digestion and thought.

I particularly enjoyed the characterizations of Erik, his family and friends.  All of them were three dimensional and well written.  Some of the villains were a bit cardboard, but that just added to the gaming feel of the story. 

Highly recommended to teens who enjoy video games.  Also for movie buffs and science fiction and fantasy readers.

Bruce Wood Dies

Children’s book illustrator, Bruce Wood is dead at the young age of 34.  Son of Audrey and Don Wood, he has collaborated with his mother on a series of concept books.  He has also seen success on his own with a series of alphabet books.  Wood specialized in illustrations using the computer and led both of his parents to start using computers for illustrations.