Epic

( 231 )

Overview

Generations ago, violence was banned on New Earth. Society is governed and conflicts are resolved in the arena of a fantasy computer game, Epic. Everyone plays. If you win, you have the chance to go to university, get more supplies for your community, and fulfill your dreams; if you lose, your life both in and out of the game is worth nothing.

When Erik, seeking revenge for the unjust treatment of his parents, dares to subvert the rules of Epic, he and his friends find ...

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Epic

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Overview

Generations ago, violence was banned on New Earth. Society is governed and conflicts are resolved in the arena of a fantasy computer game, Epic. Everyone plays. If you win, you have the chance to go to university, get more supplies for your community, and fulfill your dreams; if you lose, your life both in and out of the game is worth nothing.

When Erik, seeking revenge for the unjust treatment of his parents, dares to subvert the rules of Epic, he and his friends find themselves up against with the ultimate masters of the game: the Committee. If Erik and his friends win, they may have the key to destroying Epic’s tyranny over New Earth. But if they lose . . .

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Editorial Reviews

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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142411599
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/15/2008
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 131,886
  • 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. He lives in Dublin, Ireland, where he teaches medieval history at Trinity College. Epic is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 231 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(204)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 231 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com

    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.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    It is...Epic!

    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!

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2011

    AWESOME

    I loved he book and would highly recomend it

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2010

    Amazing!

    I loved it. The story was great and the character were great to. The author really sucks you into the world.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2010

    EPIC!!!!!

    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.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

    Great story in a mmorpg world

    Good writing style that starts off with a great plot from the start.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2012

    Dull

    The book had a good plot and all but I just couldnt get myself to enjoy it. I couldnt even finish the book.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 29, 2011

    Good read, but...

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2011

    Fantastic

    A great book that i highly reccomend.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    SCREW THE KATNISS EVERDEEN CLAN!!!

    They claim every good book to themmselves!!

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Just amazing

    This book is outstanding!!I would prefer this to anyone that likes Games!! Actually why only Them!?It`s outstanding to think about a Video Game that rules the world and makes it a "Better Place" . Conor Kostick actually thought about a better place the world would actually really be If Epic would "Rule the world"Just if people would stick with all the rules though.Anyways I prefer hs to ANYONE Thats loves good Books :D

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2009

    epic

    this was mabye 1 of the best books ive ever read. it is so creartive. ive ever even thought writng a book like this. i would ercommend this to everyone

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    yay

    That book was absolutely... epic! Sorry, couldn't resist the lame joke. But seriously, this book was just so absorbing. I could barely put it down. I don't even know what it was, but there was just *something* about it that made this book great. I've enjoyed it more than any book I've read in a long time, and I read a *lot.*

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2008

    A book of epic proportions

    ok, think of this. all violence is banned from earth and in place of violence is a video game. a fantasy role playing video game.for me, i love fantasy rpg's. majorly. and i also love reading. this book will get even the biggest gaming nerd to read. all game geeks will at least want to borrow this from the library. this book is just great.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2014

    One of first books i couldnt put down.

    Easy read for most part. If you love video gaming youll love this book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2014

    Read this

    What? Worst book i ever read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

    To SK or anyone

    Can someone tell me where the next part is? I just want to read it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    To SK

    Where is the next part? What the heck is book two Saga?! By the way you are still doing great!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    To below

    It's at the next book, saga

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    NRM @ SK AND ALL!

    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:
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    <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!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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