Author: Derek Taylor Kent
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Genre/Themes: Fiction, Adventure, Mystery
Release Date: September 26th 2016
Page Count: 363
*Disclaimer: I was provided with an ARC of Kubrick’s Game by Derek Taylor Kent through the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion or rating in any way.
Kubrick’s Game is exactly what it sounds like. An adventure/quest based on the films and life of Stanley Kubrick. I mean how cool does that sound? When I was approached to read this novel, I instantly accepted. It was marketed to me as perfect for those who loved Ready Player One, and that I did. Kubrick’s Game was fast-paced and full of adventure, and perfect for those who are fans of Kubrick and his work.
Shawn Hagan, a college film student obsessed with legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, discovers hidden clues in his movies which lead him on a harrowing quest toward a mysterious treasure that Kubrick left behind. Endangered by sinister groups on the same quest, Shawn has no choice but to claim the prize first because in the wrong hands … “It has the power to change the course of history.”
What I Liked
The quest. I love a good adventure story. Even more so, I love a good puzzle adventure story. Sure, it’s not the most unique idea with existing stories like Ready Player One, National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code, but one thing that’s for sure is that these types of stories are always entertaining. This was no different for Kubrick’s game as I was on the edge of my seat the entire time the characters were trying to solve the puzzle.
The details. Derek Taylor Kent did his research when writing this book. Holy cow. The amount of Kubrick trivia within this novel was mind-blowing. There were so many things that I had no idea about and it really just made me want to watch even more of Kubrick’s films. I must admit, I’ve only seen A Clockwork Orange…I know *shame shame shame*, but after reading this book I absolutely need to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut + all of the others…like ASAP. Kubrick’s Game touches on all of Kubrick’s movies thoroughly and each one of them plays a huge part in uncovering the truth behind the puzzle.
The subject matter. Stanley Kubrick and his work has always been fascinating to me. As mentioned, I’ve only seen A Clockwork Orange, but it remains to be one of my favourite films (and books) of all time. When this book was pitched to me as Ready Player One, only it revolves around Stanley Kubrick, I knew I needed to read it.
The cameos. I absolutely LOVED that Malcolm McDowell, a.k.a. Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange, made a cameo in this novel. To have an actor that played on my favourite characters in one of my favourite films that happens to be the only Kubrick film I’ve seen made me feel so happy! I actually had the opportunity to meet Malcolm McDowell at a convention recently and visualizing him in this novel was fantastic! We also come across the one and only Steven Spielberg. It was cool to see people that exist in real life depicted in a fictional setting.
What I Didn’t Like
The characters. For the most part they were pretty bland. Shawn had an interesting dynamic going for him as a character with Asperger’s, but I don’t think this idea was explored enough. Rather than becoming someone unique, he ended up feeling a lot like characters that already exist such as Sheldon Cooper or Spock/Data. There was a good amount of diverse characters, I will say that…but none of them really stood out to me as memorable or unique.
It was a little anti-climactic. After all the characters went through, the ultimate prize felt like a bit of a let down. I understand that, in theory, Kubrick would have wanted the students to receive the prize that they did, but I was kind of hoping for something a little more earth-shattering considering the lengths that these students went through to reach the conclusion of the puzzle.
Overall, Kubrick’s Game delivered exactly what was promised: A Ready Player One-like puzzle solving adventure that revolves around the life and films of Stanley Kubrick. I had a lot of fun reading this one and I highly recommend checking it out!
About The Author
Derek Taylor Kent is an author, screenwriter, and performer based in Los Angeles. His award-winning book series SCARY SCHOOL (written under pen-name Derek the Ghost) has become one of the most popular new series for middle-readers ages 7 to 12. His new bi-lingual picture book EL PERRO CON SOMBRERO comes out August 18, 2015 through Holt/Macmillan.
His latest novel and first for an adult audience, KUBRICK’S GAME, is due for release September 26, 2016 from Evolved Publishing.
Other books include the award-winning educational picture book SIMON AND THE SOLAR SYSTEM and the magical adventure RUDY AND THE BEAST, both available now.
Thank you for reading!