By Vivian Vande Velde
Rasmussen Enterprises has developed the ultimate RPGs (role-playing games) — total immersion gaming, or virtual reality.
When Giannine Belisario signs up to play “Heir Apparent,” her brain is hooked up to the gaming console so that she is her character, Janine de St. Jehan, a sheepherder who turns out to be half royal. As the game begins, her brain is filled with the memories of Janine so that Giannine knows what she needs to in order to navigate the game and its characters successfully.
Giannine, through the virtual-reality technology, is also able to feel the things that Janine touches, hear the things that she hears, feel hunger when Janine would be hungry, taste the food that she eats, and smell the things that she smells. (Of course, the smelling factor isn’t quite so desirable when your character smells like sheep dung.)
Giannine’s goal in “Heir Apparent” and the key to winning the game is to be crowned king of her kingdom. She must make allies with characters, figure out who isn’t to be trusted, and avoid getting herself in one of the infinite number of messes that will get her character killed and sent back to the very beginning of the game. Things are going smoothly for Giannine until a freak lightning storm in the game that only she can see throws off her concentration and one of the other characters vying for the throne kills her.
Shortly after the strange lightning storm, Giannine’s character begins to hear a voice and sees a godlike figure descend from above. This person is not, as Giannine figured, God, but is Dr. Rasmussen himself. He has broken into her game to inform her that the gaming console was damaged during a raid by a local group called Citizens to Protect Our Children (CPOC).
The CPOC vandals believe that Rasmussen Enterprises compromises children through fantasy game-play and have damaged the offending game while Giannine was well into “Heir Apparent.” Rasmussen explains that if they unhook her brain from the console too quickly, the chances of her sustaining brain damage or even death are great. The only safe way to unhook her brain from the console is for her to play to the logical end and win the game.
Simple enough … only, it’s not that simple. Giannine has a very limited amount of time to play before her body shuts down with the console. Now, Giannine must quickly navigate through the game with only a few cryptic hints from Dr. Rasmussen and be crowned king before her time — and her life — runs out.
Vivian Vande Velde has written many books for teens and has a knack for keeping the pages turning. She handles the transitions from Giannine to Janine and back well so that readers do not get confused. She also has a real talent for developing memorable and fun characters. Giannine is a savvy girl with a wonderful, sarcastic wit and the story’s secondary characters — including a wizard who munches on centipedes, a prince with more muscle than brains, and a barbarian king well versed in flattery — are sure to tickle readers’ funny bones.
This book is appropriate for all teens and adults.
Cari Boatright is the teen librarian at Joplin Public Library.
- Globe Life
Carthage Humane Society featured in YouTube series with Josh Duhamel
One thousand dogs at one time cared for by the Carthage Humane Society now have "forever homes" after their adoption through shelters in and around Minneapolis.
Ryan Richardson: Pet urine becomes indoor problem during winter
My dog and I are sick of winter, and she has begun a rebellion because of it. She has fought me when we go outside because of the cold and snow.
Frankie Meyer: Best starting point for family research is your life, not web
New to family history research? Don't pay a fee to use genealogy websites. Although they may be helpful later in your research, they are not helpful when you begin.
To start your family history, you must start with yourself.
Danya Walker: Ripley biography reveals cartooning history
Robert Ripley is best known for "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" cartoon sketches, books and museums, but I was interested in learning more about the man behind the drawings.
Lisa Brown: 'Blackfish' reveals darker side of marine attractions
It is a film that breaks hearts and angers people. It also changes the way people think -- something a good documentary should be able to do.
Frankie Meyer: Day trips give fresh perspective on old history
Family genealogies are most appreciated by loved ones who are interested in local and national history, too. When a person can imagine ancestors living during specific eras of history, the people come alive.
Ryan Richardson: Pets can pose problems for computers
When I started college back in the 1999, I was a computer science major. I had a promising job at a local cable service, working tech support and system-side support for our servers. I've always been the go-to guy when a computer breaks down with my friends and family.
Moving musical: Students involved with high school's last play proud to present it at MSSU
Mollie Sanders fell in love with "The Drowsy Chaperone" when she was in middle school.
The musical's wit and heart quickly snared Sanders' attention.
Jeana Gockley: Characters stand out in Sloan's 'Counting by 7s'
Several years ago, I had the honor of hearing Nancy Pearl speak at a library conference. She is a celebrity in the world of libraries.
Frankie Meyer: Experts imagine what future libraries will look like
What will libraries of the future be like? That is a question facing libraries around the nation.
- More Globe Life Headlines
- Carthage Humane Society featured in YouTube series with Josh Duhamel