It finally happened. I came across a gaming book that wasn’t an entirely bland read. I know that it’s almost unfair to books related to gaming to group them all together and say that all of them are bland, but the experiences I’ve had with reading them so far hasn’t been too fun. Let’s move on to some mini-review of the books that I’ve been reading lately.
Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance
Some of you might remember how fond I was to see the Assassin’s Creed series grow into something much more than it was with the second installment of the series, as well as it’s continuation in Brotherhood. So how’d the book stand up to all of this?
Renaissance held up quite well compared to the games actually. If you don’t like the game’s mechanics, and are still interested in following Ezio Auditore’s story, then this is a perfect substitution. By itself, the book adds absolutely nothing new. It’s a straight-forward novelization of Ezio’s rise as an assassin in 15th century Italy, with the Desmond-Assassins-Animus stuff have been cut out. Personally, I find that this is a good thing. It works as a story-telling mechanic for a video game to connect the player to a game world with free-roaming without it harming the story, but for a novel, it’s not a good mechanic.
Although I said nothing new has been added, I think it’s interesting to note that the game’s downloadable content has actually made its way into the novelization. Both The Battle of Forli as well as The Bonfire of the Vanities segments have made its way in a book, and despite the effort put into having it blend in naturally, the episodic nature of these pieces stops it from really fitting in.
As enjoyable as it a refresher on Assassin’s Creed 2, it’s sad that the novelization didn’t add anything of itself in any way. Most of the dialogue is the exact same as in the game. The progress of the quests are pretty much all there untouched. From something that handled storytelling from a gaming standpoint as well as Assassin’s Creed 2 did, I was hoping for a bit more.
That doesn’t mean it’s a bad read though. So far, it’s still my most enjoyable gaming reads. Which sadly isn’t saying all that much.
Kafka on the Shore
I’ve mostly been quiet about this one while reading it. Trying to piece together my own opinion about it in full. Something about Kafka on the Shore just felt so… complete. Even now I’m still having a hard time commenting on it. I initially started reading this after having enjoyed Norwegian Wood, knowing that, despite its popularity, it’s not the best example of Murakami’s work. I remember Kafka on the Shore standing out a few years back and found a copy at the library. I read it there, taking the time out of the day to go over to the library and read the book hidden away from the world.
Kafka on the Shore is about a 15-year-old boy running away from home. Under the pseudonym Kafka, he travels to Takamatsu, hoping he’ll find some way to live inside a quiet library somewhere. At the same time, Nakata, an old man with the ability to talk to cats, finds himself traveling further from home than he’s ever been, accompanied by a friendly trucker, Hoshino. Although the two plots are completely separate, the events of both these plots tie together in a great way.
Of everything I have read this year, Kafka on the Shore is easily my favorite book. I’ll have to give it some time before I give it the position of new favorite book, but it’s up there. I’m glad to have read it at the right circumstances too. Having read it at the library certainly added to it.
Master of the World
Somewhere last year I read Around The World In Eighty Days. I didn’t like much of it. I was hoping to see more of the locations traveled to, and ended up reading more about the actually sitting around during the travel, with a few problems that had nothing to do with the locations they were at. Then the few problems that did have to do with the location, ended up feeling incredibly racist. Like the pure-white looking girl in India as a love interest.
Luckily, Master of the World avoids this. Unfortunately I’m not too well-versed on Jules Verne, and these two books are my only experiences with him. Master of the World was really enjoyable, especially the search for these baffling pieces of technology, and the early sightings. Although sadly the blurb on the back kind of spoils a lot of the early excitement, which is something especially happens with older books. Even with older printings of them.
Master of the World was a fun read, aged quite well.