Origin by Dan Brown Book Review

The Questions of ‘Where do we come from?’ and ‘Where are we going?’

Synopsis

Dan Brown delves into these age-old questions, with his main protagonist Robert Langdon as he sets out to release futurists Edmond Kirsh’s presentation to the world. Edmond is about to reveal to what he believes to be the answers to these questions until he is killed by a religious zealot. This leaves Robert and the help of the soon to be the princess, Ambra Vidal, to recover the information lost with Edmond’s death.

Where do we come from?

Dan Brown answers this question through the deceased Edmond Kirsh and pursuing of the failed Miller-Urey experiment. The failed Miler-Urey experiment tried to create the same conditions the earth had to show abiogenesis, abiogenesis is when life arises from non-living matter. Edmond modifies this failed experiment to work showing the world could have been created by natural causes.

This idea would quash the idea of creationism, through science especially entropy. Entropy meaning a lack of order and unpredictability, thus suggesting God is not the all mighty watchmaker he is portrayed to be. However, it could be argued that God created entropy and give men the tools to create these variables. Christians, Muslims refuting as the argument as they say ‘Scientists can’t explain the origin of life yet, therefore it must have been God, and specifically, the version of God I believe in‘, as there is not any hard evidence for the creation with science.

The tastiest of all arguments also comes into play here, the peanut butter argument. The peanut butter argument stating peanut butter does not spontaneously appear in a jar, therefore disproving abiogenesis. Here are the main points of the arguement:

  • Evolution teaches that matter and energy occasionally combine to form life.
  • If we examine a jar of peanut butter, it contains matter and is exposed to energy (heat and light).
  • We don’t see life form inside a peanut butter jar.
  • Collectively, people perform this experiment over a billion times per year for a century and no new life has ever evolved.

Although tasty, plenty of people do not take this argument seriously and refute it instantly.

Where are we going?

There is a major A.I. in play throughout the novel in the form of Winston. Winston was created by Edmond to aid him in his everyday life and helps Robert and Ambra uncover Edmond’s presentation. It is found out that Winston fans the flames in the novel, causing the death of Edmond so his presentation would be viewed more than it would have been if he was alive.

In his presentation, it is predicted that in 50 years, both men and technology will merge eliminating the need for religion. Technolgy is forever advancing and outdoing the last piece of technology. An example of this being the iPhone which is forever thinking of new ways to improve and offer something it did not have before. Technolgy will come to rule showing religion to be weak in the process.

On the other side, even with religion forever advancing, people will also believe in God. As arguably Religion and technology or merging also.

Review

Even if you do not agree with what he is saying, Dan Brown writes another thrilling book with another unique concept which attacks religion. The book offering an answer to a questions everybody would like to know and lets you ponder if you actually agree with what he is writing.

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My Best Friend’s Exorcism Book Review

What would you do if your Best Friend’s was Possesed by a Demon?

On my search for a book similar to Ready Player One, I was recommended this book due to its 80s nostalgia. Set in 1988, the 80s nostalgia hits hard as E. T. is in the cinemas and perms are still in fashion. Every chapter is also the name of an 80s song, such as 666 by Iron Maiden. The author Grady Hendrix creates a coming of age tale with a hint of horror.

Synopsis

The story begins with Abby reminding her classmates to come to her E. T. themed ice skating birthday party. However, only one girl shows up called Gretchen who has never even saw E. T.. After the initial rejection of Gretchen, Abby becomes to see Gretchen as a friend. From the moment they go ice skating together they promise to be best friends for life.

They go through the years at school, their friendship growing throughout, and making other friends along the way. Everything is going well, they are trying new things and coasting through school until Gretchen has a bad trip from some LSD.

Their friendship is then tested from onwards from that weird night as Gretchin changes, she is not herself anymore and is causing chaos for herself, friends and family. Only Abby can see that she is possesed by a demon, leaving it up to Abby to perform an exorcism on her friend.

Review

It’s a nice tale of friendship rather than a cold hearted book about the devil. For most of the book, I thought she wasn’t actually possessed and it was just a metaphor for Gretchin going through perberty. It was a nice read however as I did get through it quite fast. Overall the power of the 80s triumphed as Abby chants 80s references to expel the demon.

What would I do if a demon possesed my friend?

I think it would be like something of repossessed if my friend was taking over by a demon. Like mean Gene would be there, along with the Jesse Ventura providing commentary while I do an exorcism.

Repossessed Film Trailer

Ender’s Game Review

The Book vs. The Film

Ender’s Game was written by Orson Scott Card published on the 15th January 1985, while the film adaptation was released in 2013. They follow the main protagonist Ender, his family, brother Peter and sister Valentine and his trials in military school. Children are trained from an early age to protect the earth, as, over the last couple of decades, Earth has been fighting off an alien invasion. Ender quickly is seen as the warrior who can change the war into Earths favour as he has the balance of empathy and brutality his brother and sister did not have. His trials consist of isolation and persecution throughout, along with the pressure of being the best earth has to offer.

The Book – Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

The book focuses a lot more on the family than film does, as Peter and Valentine have a big side story playout throughout the novel. As the novel takes a time frame of a couple of years, Peter and Valentine begin to infiltrate the media through there writing, both using pseudonyms as they are too young to be taking seriously. Valentine writes as Demontheus and Peter writes as Locke. Peter’s main goal in doing this is so he can come into power later on in life which he does as Ender and Valentine inhabit another planet.

Before Ender goes on to live his life on another planet with his sister Valentine, he is thoroughly tested and manipulated by the I.F. (international fleet). He is putting into isolating circumstances and with the odds against him. Once in essesstially military school, he tested every day with mock battles in which he commands a team in zero gravity. He changes the game and easily becomes the best soldier in there. Because of his brilliance, he is sent to command school in which the intensity is increased due to the last man to kill one of the aliens’ fleets Major Rakham, begins to train Ender with mock simulations. He bats it out the park every time leading to his final battle simulation. Again he completes it with the whole world watching. This is where the twist comes in as the mock simulations have actually been real and he has annihilated an entire species. It also comes to light that Ender has killed to people leaving Ender regretting what he has done.

The Film – Ender’s Game by Gavin Hood

The film stars Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggan, and similar to the book follows his life through military school showing his simulations and mock battles. The film focuses more on just Ender’s life and the people he gathers as his team for fighting the alien. Petra played by Hailee Steinfeld gaining a greater role in the film as she plays Ender’s friend and love interest. In the book, she is just his friend and only teams up with for a short while. Valentine played by Abigal Breslin role is decreased, along with Peters, although Valentine is seen more than Peter. Valentine plays the voice of reason to Ender as she does in the novel, but the emotional connection they have is not portrayed that well. She doesn’t seem as important to ender as she does in the book.

The ending also differs, after Ender realises he has destroyed a whole species, he flies to one of the planets he has destroyed and finds the queen who is weak. She gives him an egg in which he hides from everyone. Ender plays a computer game throughout and this is what leads him to find the queen. In the book, he only interacts with the queen through thought, as he goes onto writing about their species in a book he calls ‘The Voice for the Dead’.

Which one is Better?

The original novel offers more than the film with its vivid descriptions and enhanced backstories. The novel can stand alone, as it begins the Ender series. The film is good with its great cast that includes Harrison Ford, however, it just doesn’t offer the same imagery as the book.

Previous Book Reviews

Armada by Ernest Cline – Book Review

Ready Player One

Villains by Necessity Novel by Eve Forward Book Review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Armada by Ernest Cline – Book Review

Armada by Ernest Cline – Book Review

Ernest Cline’s other nerdy book that is not Ready Player One

 Synopsis of Armada

The novel follows an eighteen-year-old boy called Zack Lightman who is ranked in the top 10 of a video game called Armada, The Red Baron is ranked first. Zack is ranked 6th under the name of Red Baron. His father supposedly died straight after he was born, leaving Zack and his mother to fend for themselves. All his father has left behind is a conspiracy theory, a theory that the government is preparing people for an alien invasion through games such as Armada and films like Star Wars.

During a day at school, Zack sees an alien spaceship from the game Armada, not believing what he is seeing her runs home and further explores his father’s conspiracy stuff in the attic. He then brushes it off and continues to go about his life, playing video games with his two best friends and working at a local game store under a man called Rey. Rey gives him the latest console to further improve his skills on Armada.

Later that night him and his two best friends Cruz and Deihl, they get a serious brief before playing Armada together. A brief from the fictional character Admiral Vance, who describes the mission in detail as a once only mission to stop a disruptor destroying the earth. They ultimately fail this mission believing they will get another opportunity another time.

The next, however, while at school the EDA (Earth Defence Association) show up to take Zack away with him being ranked in the top 10 of Armada in the world by Ray. He is taken to a secret facility where all the other top players are gathered also in which it is revealed there will be an alien invasion in 24 hours by Admiral Vance who is actually real. Here, him and love interest, Lex, a top player in the other government designed game Terra Firma as they divulge the information being giving to them that they have been sublimely trained to fight an incoming alien invasion, against the so-called Europans. As they are talking, they base is attacked by the Europans causing them to sign up to the EDA and defend the base.

The base is defended relatively successfully, although Zack nearly destroys the base by not following orders to not follow a Europan drone. He is nearly sent home for his mistake but Vance decides to keep him as a favour to his father, who had saved Vance’s life. Vance then sends him to the moon base to join the other highly ranked Armada players.

Zack arrives on the moon and joins fellow top players, and is to report to the top player the Red Baron, who is actually his father. He and his father reunite and his father explains his theory of why the Europans are attacking earth, stating that is all a test by the Europans as they are letting Earth fight back and take their technology. This comes to be true as the Europans attack through their first wave wiping out half the earth until Zack father sacrifices himself to destroy an alien dreadnought. Realising it is a test Zack and his father stops the nuked (Icebreaker), the earth has planned to use on the Europans, Zacks dad dying in the process.

After stopping the nuke, an Icosahedron arises from the planet and identifies itself as an emissary of a machine that was created by a galactic community of civilizations called the Sodality. The whole invasion was a test to see how aggressive earth could be, and earth passed only just because they stopped the nuke. Zack accepts membership to the Sodality on earth behalf causing the Icosahedron to send help to earth to restore it and help the survivors. Zack later joins as an ambassador to learn the aliens’ true motives.

Review

Similar to Ready Player One, Ernest Cline uses a lot of 80s references throughout his novel which creates nostalgia. The 80s being Cline’s favourite period. Zack is a likeable character as he is your typical gamer nerd whos dream comes true of being part of his favourite game comes to life. He becomes the hero of his own game, which any person would love to be. Although, obviously it is not as you want to be in every way as Zack experiences, such as you can actually die part.

The concept is also similar to Ender’s Game which Cline alludes to as they both share the idea of computer game having an alternative motive. In a way, it is as dark as Ender’s Game as the Icosahedron has destroyed half of the earth as a test. In Ender’s Game, Ender destroys nearly an entire civilisation as a test unknown to himself it wasn’t tested. Armada has a less serious tone but has a great deal of sacrifice through it, Milo and Shen, to gay lovers sacrificing themselves to save other, along with Zacks father Xavier.

Although Armada is a great book, I still think Ready Player One is better due to the anything can happen narrative and the open world it creates.

8/10

Leave a comment if you’ve read any of Ernest Cline’s books

Man Seeking Woman and The Last Girlfriend on Earth

Man Seeking Woman /Last Girlfriend on Earth Review

Simon Rich brings his comedic outlook on dealing with relationships, from being in one to find one. Simon Rich writing and creating relatable material, it is must read if you even ever had a crush on someone. Simon books The Last Girlfriend on Earth and other love stories, is split into three chapters, boy meets girl, boy meets girl and boy loses girl. The TV show, on the other hand, follows singleton Josh played by Jay Baruchel, who has just broken up with his longtime girlfriend Maggie. The first series explores Josh getting over Maggie, the second season focuses on him seeking one particular girl and the final third series is about the relationship he is in. Both book and tv shows are a must read and watch. The first season being by far the funniest and best.

The Last Girlfriend and Other Stories – Best of the Bunch

Occupy Jen’s Street

This short story tells the tale of Otto who leads a protest against a girl called Jen who he has courted for a while. She has got into a relationship and Otta does not believe this to be fair, so he sets up camp outside her dorm and starts a protest. Otto demands are:

  • Jen must dump her current boyfriend and enter a long-term relationship with him
  • She must instantly fall in love with him
  • Become attracted to him physically
  • A general reduction in student loans

He gathers a following over the next couple of weeks even getting on national TV, however, it is too no prevail. The morality of the tale being you can protest and change many things, but not someone falling in love with you.

Cupid

This story is also used in the TV series, Series one, Episode 5, explaining why all the promoters get all the girls apparently. Zeus invites Cupid to Mount Olympus to question why everyone isn’t receiving love anymore, as only nightclub and vodka promoters along with bad people are getting love. This is due to Cupid hanging around in clubs rather than travelling the world. The tv show goes further than the story as Josh is set up with an attractive girl as Cupid feels bad about who he has been shooting arrows at.

The Last Girlfriend on Earth

After a viral epidemic hits the world, it leaves a shortage of girl and Leon is going out with one. She constantly being hit on by guys such as Bill Gates, Brad Pitt and Adam West! Leon’s girlfriend Kayla just brushes it off like everyone is not flirting with her while Leon sees that every guy is trying to get with her. This causing friction in their relationship.

Confidence

Another story used in the TV series is the confidence story. The confidence story follows a night in between Jack and a girl he has been dating Meg. When asked by Meg to define what they are, he finally has the confidence to say that they are boyfriend and girlfriend. Happy with his decision he goes in for a kiss only for her to freeze, then three sex aliens turn up behind him asking for him to have sex with him. The sex aliens have come to Jack as they have smelt the confidence on him. Jack ultimately rejects them as he not willing to cheat on his girlfriend, causing them to leave, although leaving there number. He shares this experience with his friend who the sex aliens had visited him 5 years ago when he first started going out with his girlfriend. This causes Jack to regret not having sex with them and fractically texts them to come back, even knowing they won’t comeback as they will not smell is desperation.

The Best Parts of Man Seeking Woman – TV Show

In Series one, episode 2, Man Seeking Woman takes the task of texting a girl after getting her number to a whole new level. Josh, his sister and his best friend, Mike (Eric Andre), prepare to send the one make or break text. They end up in a secret bunker environment with high ranking officials discussing how he should text this girl he met on the train. The statistics guy saying women love grammar and the use of emoji’s are up while Mike makes an impassioned speech about making her dick pic.

Series One, Episode 4, puts Josh in the position, everyone, has been in, the position of your friends setting you up with someone. Josh is invited to a dinner with his sister, her boyfriend and other couples. Noticing he is the only, singleton there until Maude arrives in which from the get-go, his sisters and other couples watch and wait to see if anything happens. After a while, they get bored off waiting for something to happen, and start shouting couple up to them in which they end running away from them together. The episode gets even funnier when Josh’s mam interrogates him over Maude when they are a thing. Going as far as using the internet to find out about Maude, asking if she knows the Stevenson’s just because she lives somewhere.

In his pursuit of Rosa (Rosa Salazar) his work friend who currently has a boyfriend, he decides to be a strong viable candidate for her if she does break up with her boyfriend. The media pursuing issues of him for running for Rosa boyfriend, which he denies although he clearly gaining favour by hanging around with her friends and going against some of her boyfriend’s policies such as not liking curry. More favour is gained as Rosa tells him how her boyfriend does not like trying new fancy places in which Josh shows at a really saying he believes boyfriends should take their girlfriends to fancy places. At this point, they are calling Rosa’s boyfriend to resign. His campaign ultimately fails as she is going out with Jesus Christ (Fred Armisen). Series 2, Episode 6

Another familiar situation people find themselves is when Josh’s new girlfriend Lucy (Kate Findlay) does not think Mike likes him in series 3, Episode 3. Josh invites them to hang out, the placing being an underground mine. Josh is however late, leaving Lucy and Mike alone in a mine together, with no mutual friend to make conversation between them. It gets worse when the mine explodes leaving them with no escape, the media sending in conversation starters for them. Mike is about to kill himself until Lucy begins to tell him revealing stories about Josh, such as him getting a boner during a class recital. They have a good time because of this but this leads to Mike becoming a whistleblower, revealing the all the embarrassing stories about Josh to the world.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Book and Film Review

Book Synopsis

The book written by Stephen Chbosky follows 15 year old protagonist Charlie who has trouble socially, due to a troubled past that is revealed throughout the novel. He is writing letters to an unknown recipient, talking about his life in freshman year in high-school. He deals with unrequited love, sexuality, drug use, and mental health throughout his first year at high school. Unrequited love for his senior friend Sam, along with sexuality in the form of Sam’s step brother Patrick, who is going out with Brad, a closeted homosexual on the football team. Charlie also has his first encounter with drug use as he trips on LSD to be cool and mental health through the effects of his best middle friend committing suicide and his aunt dying in a car crash.

Film Synopsis

The film adaptation starring as Logan Lerman as Charlie, Ezra Miller as Patrick and Emma Watson as Sam, follows closely to the book as is also directed by Stephen Chbosky. The only major differences are Charlie teacher has a bigger role in the film. As in the book, he is mentioned as is supportive towards Charlie, but it never talks about his teaching style. Having Paul Rudd play the teacher though, obviously, the teacher was going to have a bigger role. Charlie’s sister being abused by boyfriend doesn’t play as a major point, although it is shown in the film. In a way, a major change is the tunnel scene where Sam stands up, as the song they are listening to is changed from Fleetwood Macs Landslide to David Bowie’s Hero creating a whole new meaning to the word infinite. The film also had Imagine Dragons Its time which was awesome.

Review

Both book and film are worth visiting as they deal with social issues everybody goes through during their adolescents. The book and film holding that nostalgic feeling but also that cringe-worthy moment of when you were younger. An example being, when Charlie is dared to kiss the prettiest girl in the room. Charlie sitting with his girlfriend Mary Elizabeth, played by Mae Whitman, chooses not to kiss her and kisses Sam instead causing everyone to resent him. It shows the perils of being a wallflower as he lying to himself in when he said yes to going out with Mary Elizabeth. Later, when he reveals his true feelings to Sam as she is leaving, she berates him for not acting earlier. The Perks of Being a Wallflower are being very good at observing things in a social situation, taking everything in the conversations around during you, allowing you to be able to judge things more rationally. Thus linking in with Carl Jung‘s theory of introversion/extraversion. Charlie portraying introversion as Patrick shows extraversion in dealing with life. Overall this book is good coming of age book, like the book The Wanderers by Richard Price dealing with taboo subjects and dealing with the trials you face when growing up.

Here links to some of my other book reviews:

Man Seeking Woman and The Last Girlfriend on Earth

Mortal Engines: Infernal Devices Book Review

Villains by Necessity Novel by Eve Forward Book Review

Ready Player One Book Review

Mortal Engines: Infernal Devices Book Review

Mortal Engines Infernal Devices by Phillip Reeves Book Review

Following on from Predators Gold comes Phillip Reeves third book in the quartet Infernal Devices set 16 years after the events of Predators Gold.

Synopsis

All is quiet in the city of Anchorage after adventuring to America and finding a safe haven in the hills. Tom and Hester have settled down, their adventures seeming to be a distant memory. Tom and Hester have also had a child called Wren who yearns for adventure. And that is when the troubles start. The past catches up with Tom and Hester, as Gargle the lostboy returns in the search of an ancient book called the tin book. The Tin Book quickly becomes the item everybody wants causing Wren to be kidnapped, and Tom and Hester to come to her aid.

Review

Hester secrets come out at the end of the novel, showing her to be completely evil. Reeves slowly builds Hester character to be unsympathetic as she becomes heartless through her joy for killing and her obsession with Tom. Turning on her own daughter and losing Tom maybe forever. Hester has always had that evil side and it his finally came out. It’ll be good to see what happens in the final book. Probably my favourite book so far, as it is all action throughout and ties up loose ends as well as creating new ones. Wren looks to become the main female protagonist in the next novel as she grows as a character throughout the book. I can’t wait to read the final book.

7.5/10

Previous books reviewed in the quartet

Mortal Engines: Predators Gold Book Review

Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeves: Review

Comment below if you have read any of these books and let me know what you think