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4.8 220
by Conor Kostick

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Welcome to a society governed through computer games!

On New Earth, society is governed and conflicts are resolved in the arena of a fantasy computer game, Epic. If you win, you have the chance to fulfill your dreams; if you lose, your life both in and out of the game is worth nothing. When teenage Erik dares to subvert the rules of Epic, he and his friends must


Welcome to a society governed through computer games!

On New Earth, society is governed and conflicts are resolved in the arena of a fantasy computer game, Epic. If you win, you have the chance to fulfill your dreams; if you lose, your life both in and out of the game is worth nothing. When teenage Erik dares to subvert the rules of Epic, he and his friends must face the Committee. If Erik and his friends win, they may have the key to destroying the Committee’s tyranny. But if they lose . . .

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The action is nonstop, and the story flows seamlessly...A surefire winner. ùBooklist, starred review

A captivating page-turner. ùSchool Library Journal, starred review

Publishers Weekly

Irish author Kostick's powerful debut imagines an agrarian world where violence is illegal, except within a massive computer game that provides the economic and governmental structure for society. When they're not working in the salt mines of New Earth, everyone spends their time in the online game, Epic, accumulating resources and completing quests. Erik is frustrated both with the game and with his father, Harald, who refuses to play. Harald does eventually appear in the arena to demand more solar panels for his community, but his appearance unearths a secret in his past, and he is sent into exile. Erik finds a loophole that allows him to defeat a red dragon, making him one of the wealthiest players in the game; suddenly he is a threat to Central Allocations, a team of powerful players that are the world's de facto rulers, even though they do not fully understand the system they are manipulating. As the game becomes self-aware, there are whispers of a revolution among those who would use the game's technology for conversations and elections rather than endless fighting. Kostick manages to aim his allegory at two separate targets: the pointless wastefulness of a government too big to correct its course or even know its true nature, and, on a slightly more trivial note, the waste of time gamers spend in their online "second lives." The elegant conclusion will linger with readers. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Heidi Dolomore
Eric and his friends live in a farming village and are studying for university entrance exams. Studying consists of hours spent in a massive virtual reality game called Epic. The game acts as a political system and is dominated by a small council whose powers within the game are superhuman, allowing them to control the economy in the real world. Within Epic, Eric's friends gather coins and purchase meager weapons in anticipation of the contest that will determine whether they are accepted at the university. Eric, however, repeatedly kills his character in an attempt to learn how the game works. After yet another defeat, Eric starts the game anew, recklessly defying all assumptions concerning how the game should be played. Shockingly Eric accumulates more wealth in a few minutes than his friends have gathered in years of diligent and methodical gaming. Eric convinces his friends to join him in attacking a dragon, and against all odds, they defeat the creature and are suddenly in possession of immense wealth. Eric wants only to rescue his father, who was unjustly exiled by the council. To accomplish this, Eric undertakes a quest that could ultimately destroy Epic and forever alter society. The world of Epic blends past and future, pairing a feudal society with sophisticated technology. Gameplay is described in vivid language that immerses the reader in the adventure. With each battle the stakes are higher, and Erik must balance the risks to his friends and family against the rewards that accompany victory.
KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
On New Earth, violence is forbidden. All conflicts are resolved through a fantasy role-playing computer game called Epic, which is controlled by the autocratic Central Allocations Committee. When 14-year-old Erik's parents are threatened with exile—"reallocation"—he and his friends come up with a desperate, daring scheme to battle the Committee in the virtual arena and win. They must fight not only a powerful dragon in the game, but, unknown to them, the members of the Committee, who are vying for power with each other behind the scenes. Meanwhile, Epic is evolving on its own and revealing unsuspected depths, and the real battle turns out to be for control of New Earth's society. Fantasy fans, especially fans of role-playing games, will appreciate all the detail Kostick (a teacher of medieval history at Trinity College, Ireland, who also designs fantasy role-playing games) supplies in both the worlds he creates in this first novel. There's lots of swashbuckling action in the game—even a vampire and a pirate ship—which is of course the most fun, but there's suspense in the characters' hardscrabble, vaguely Scandinavian farmer-like lives on New Earth, too. Readers will be eager to continue the adventure in the sequel, Saga.
School Library Journal

Gr 8 & Up - Where fantasy and video games meet, there is Epic. In a society where violence is banned, people must settle their disputes in Epic, at the same time that they are trying to stay alive in order to accumulate wealth and status in both the game world and in reality. Impulsively, Erik creates his new Epic character to be female, and spends all his allocated start-up funds on beauty and attitude for Cindella rather than weapons, but something tells him that this is the way to go. She and his friends' characters use a succession of unusual methods to save Erik's father from exile and to challenge Central Allocations, the representatives who run the game, and thus, the society. Believable and realistic characters take readers through a thought-provoking story that juxtaposes a simple life working the land with the technology of a society simultaneously operating in a virtual world. Frequent turns of events that teens will know are coming, but not exactly when and how they will play out, keep the story moving along at a steady pace. There is intrigue and mystery throughout this captivating page-turner. Veins of moral and ethical social situations and decisions provide some great opportunities for discussion. Well written and engaging, Epicwill easily draw in avid readers and video-game players. Appealing to fans of both fantasy and science fiction, it is destined to see limited shelf time.-Dylan Thomarie, Johnstown High School, NY

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Kostick offers an engaging examination of an agrarian society whose economy and legal system operate inside a planet-wide computer game. New Earth has little technology-people ride in donkey-pulled carts and drink from clay mugs-except the vast, sophisticated computer game brought to their planet centuries ago. Physical violence is banned between real people, and all forms of commerce and justice take place between characters inside Epic. Fourteen-year-old Erik is spurred into action when Central Allocations, the ruling power, exiles his father for an old crime (a single moment of justified violence). Erik creates a new Epic character, Cindella, and takes her along nontraditional paths inside the game: Rather than drudge for years accruing tiny bits of money like his friends, spirited Cindella attempts world-changing adventures. Kostick's clunky phrasing and tendency to explain what he's already demonstrated are outweighed by the genuinely ambivalent relationship between humans and Epic. How far can this game go, and who will be served? The thought-provoking ending is oddly beautiful. (Science fiction. YA)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
4.36(w) x 7.36(h) x 1.15(d)

Meet the Author

Conor Kostick was a designer for the world’s first live fantasy role-playing game, based in Peckforton Castle, Cheshire. He is the author of the Epic Trilogy -- Epic, Saga, and Edda (all available from Firebird). He lives in Dublin where, having completed a Ph.D on the subject of the crusades, he now teaches medieval history at Trinity College Dublin. He has published widely on history, culture, and politics, including coauthoring The Easter Rising: A Guide to Dublin in 1916, and co-editing Irish Writers Against War, an anthology of writings by Irish authors in response to the war in Iraq. He has twice been elected chairperson of the Irish Writers’ Union.

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Epic (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 217 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
What if the quality of your life depended on how well you played a MMORPG? What's a MMORPG, you ask? It is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. Well, on New Earth that is exactly the way life is. On New Earth, violence is illegal. Epic (the MMORPG) was created for people to clip up, enter the world of Epic, and take out their aggression on fictional characters rather than doing harm to a real person. However, over the years, the purpose of the game shifted and became the determining factor for what kind of job you had, where you were able to live, and what supplies you received. Central Allocations, a small group of people in charge of all the decisions, controls everything. Erik's family is having a tough time. They have had some solar panels break and aren't able to produce enough olives to meet their quota. Their attempts at getting replacement solar panels have been unsuccessful, and the family is afraid Central Allocations will require them to move to the salt mines for punishment. In addition to the family problems, Erik isn't doing well in the game himself. In order to have a chance to go to University, you must accumulate wealth and status in Epic. Erik just continues to get his characters killed because he tries to kill the same dragon every time he enters the game. His last "death" is the final straw, though. Out of frustration, he does something he has never done before. Erik creates a character who is female instead of his usual male character that resembles him in real life. Instead of going by his own name, he chooses one he thinks befits a beautiful character - Cindella. Immediately upon entering the game as Cindella, things begin to look up. Characters that are a part of the game begin talking to her and giving her things. Soon, she realizes the characters are pointing her toward a quest. With his newfound status in Epic, Erik uses his accumulating wealth and the help of his friends to take on Central Allocations - once and for all. They are up against the most dangerous players. Ones with more wealth and experience. But, if Erik can defeat Central Allocations, he'll be able to save his family and possibly create a better life for them and those of his friends - possibly even the world. EPIC is an interesting story. There is no problem keeping up with the "real" world and the "Epic" world. The author does a great job of distinguishing the two. If you enjoy Fantasy or Sci-Fi, then you'll enjoy this story. There is also a sequel called SAGA that has already been released.
Lunanshee More than 1 year ago
The video game Epic is used as both the economic and legal systems for New Earth. Violence in any form is anathema. Seeking justice for his father, Erik and his friends must play for their freedom and their lives. Well thought out and very real! Kostick builds not one world, but two and does a very good job. Beautiful descriptions and sweeping adventure. I would recommend to any reader, whether you like video games or not. A MUST READ!
TEST NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
I loved he book and would highly recomend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EPIC is a tale of epic proportions. All the necessary characters are there: evil villains, swashbuckling pirates, chilling vampires, and the idealist heroes. The video game concept makes this a perfect book for those who love video games. The book is fast paced, easy to read, and hard to put down. Reading the book makes you feel like that you are inside the game as one of the characters. I recommend it to anyone who loves science fiction and video games.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good writing style that starts off with a great plot from the start.
Eric Mulligan More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book, but for some reason I feel like it was missing something. Don't get me wrong, I loved the book. The concept behind it was incredibly imaginative and relatable to any online gamer with the detailed World of Warcraft-esque setting. My only problem was that it seemed like the author skipped a few scenes that would have made it a great, intense,juicy action fantasy book, but Korstick simply mentioned such scenes. Great book for any dystopic fiction fan, but still missing something.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it. The story was great and the character were great to. The author really sucks you into the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No im not mad. Do i know u?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was an extremely well written scifi novel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy read for most part. If you love video gaming youll love this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What? Worst book i ever read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where is the next part? What the heck is book two Saga?! By the way you are still doing great!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved that last part Sk, and thanks for the character bio. <p> And I have 3 CHB/PJO related ads that might make you happy: <br> I have restarted my fanfic collection. Read the PJO/CHB one @ 'SOADS' all caps res. <br> Camp Half-Blood is @ 'rew' res. Please come! <p> And newly started, Camp Jupiter @ 'nymph' res! Please please please join this one! And if you know much about Romans/Camp Jupiter, you have a chance of becoming the second praetor! And all centurions are open!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to laugh a little when I sat down to type this part because 45 was the number of parts the story was supposed to last. That was before I changed some things, but I'll talk about that when the story is finished. Next part at book two Saga. This part will be in Sam's p.o.v. On with the story! --- I'd been chasing after Marcus for what seemed like ages. He'd gotten ahead of me on a gust of wind. I had to stop for a minute to catch my breath. I leaned against the wall and thought about one thing. What was I going to do when I caught Marcus? I knew that I couldn't kill him. I wasn't going to become something I hated. A murderer. Then, I heard footsteps coming from behind me. I raised my sword prepared for some of Marcus's troops. I dropped the sword on sight of my friends. Emily tackled me to the ground on sight. She had her forearm by my throat. "I swear to all of the Gods of Olympus if you ever do anything that stupid again I'll-" "Okay, I'm sorry." "Sam, where's Marcus?" Julia asked. "He's futher down the tunnel. I ran after him, but he got away for now." "What do you mean by that?" "The tunnel is a dead end in another three miles." "Then why are we here? Let's get going," Max said energetically. "Oh yeah take these Sam." He tossed me my old swords. I stared at the blades and realized why these swords felt natural. They were both sides of me. The bronze and gold blades represented my Greek and Roman halves. I came back to reality and we all ran down the tunnel. After a few minutes we saw Marcus. He was a few feet away and he was facing us. I tightened my grip on my blades. I had to keep my cool. "Well you've got me. I surrender." Marcus said as he got on his knees and put his hands behind his head. This was too easy and I wasn't buying it in the slightest. "Marcus who do you think you're trying to fool? I've learned so much about you. The time you learned you were a demigod, the time you battled a hydra, your adventures at camp, your journey to Tartarus," That must've struck a nerve because his expression changed. "I also learned about the effect you have on people. You get inside a person's mind and slowly gain control over them and you almost succeeded in doing so with me. The thing that saved me was one of the things that you abandoned. Friends." He rose and just laughed. "Well it appears you saw through my act, but you have to laugh at the fact that you think you know me. You don't even know what I've been through. In fact," He revealed a dagger. "I think you should learn!" He threw the dagger in the ground and the floor below us started to crack and give away. "Run!" Cary yelled, but we were too slow and started to fall. "Tell Tartarus I said hello!" Marcus yelled down as he floated on a gust of wind above. I reached above in vain and we all fell into the darkness. --- Well how was it? Let me know. - SK
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lil                                                             Wow.. after today. that actually means alot. thanks... :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lil                                                                                                     heh... that makes one. :) Thanks Lukaa.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lil                              Well that sure helps * sarcasm and disappears*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lil                                                                                                                 smiles* and says,some people are just so nice*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lil                                                               yeah you too luke. I dont lleavenow...OFF WITH MI HEAD!!!...Bye