J.J. Abrams highly anticipated book triumphs through production values, but falls down over plot.

S is a bold creative project, conceived by Lost creator J.J. Abrams and written by Doug Dorst (Alive in Necropolis).

The story is told through a stolen library book, Ship of Theseus, authored by reclusive author V.M. Straka and translated by F.X. Caldeira. In the margins of the book, disgraced graduate student Eric attempts to solve the mystery of Straka’s real identity, and in doing so, beat his old academic mentor to the discovery of a lifetime.

Jen, a restless college senior, stumbles upon the book, and begins exchanging notes with Eric as they attempt to solve the mystery of Straka and Caldeira’s identities, and come to terms with their own struggles along the way.

The production value of the collection is incredibly high – it can really only be described as absolutely stunning. The hardcover has been cleverly packaged as the worn library book, with every page coloured to mimic its distressed nature. The book itself gives no hint that it is actually a work of fiction by Abrams and Dorst; only the box it comes in bears the authors’ names.

Between the pages of the book, readers will find photographs, postcards, letters, and even a graffitied napkin, all of which look and feel just like the real thing. The notes from Jen and Eric that feature throughout the novel are very clearly handwritten, and the pictures are drawn in – there is no cliched handwriting font here.

Yet the highly constructed nature of S also proves to be one of its greatest weaknesses. The additional materials make it difficult to physically read the book without them becoming dislodged. This would not pose such a problem if the various materials were not often directly linked to the notes on the adjacent pages.

The handwritten notes also ensure that the reading experience is more complicated than normal. Inevitably, the interactions between Jen and Eric are far more engaging that the text of Ship of Theseus, and it is difficult not to skip through simply to read their storyline.

The most disappointing aspect of S is that the very story that consumes the two would-be scholars is not all that engaging. Perhaps Dorst’s intent was for this story to move slowly and steadily, merely to provide a jumping off point for Jen and Eric. If this was this goal, Dorst has succeeded masterfully, yet the somewhat dull storyline does make it difficult to accept why so many people would be so concerned with Straka’s book. It also makes it difficult for readers of S to stay engaged with the multiple layers.

No fault can be found in the writing, and Jen and Eric’s voices are particularly enjoyable to read, as is the slow exploration of their own personal problems. The changes in their pen colours are used effectively to give the reader some indication of where in their relationship they are. While their correspondence does not demonstrate a linear progression of their relationship (they have obviously gone through the book multiple times, adding notes as they do), their interactions are not as difficult to follow as they initially appear.

S is far from perfect, but is worth reading for the experience alone. The book offers something entirely unique, and Abrams’ involvement may spark the increase in this type of product. Its strength lies in its production values, and while it is at times too slow or overly complicated, it offers readers a damn good first attempt at a completely immersive, multifaceted reading experience.

S by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst is available now through Mulholland Books and Allen & Unwin.

Images: Amazon

Robbie Reyes met an unexpected fate in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×08, and the cast and crew weigh in on what’s next for Ghost Rider.

Robbie’s decision to take out Eli Morrow in an act of self-sacrifice has left fans (and characters) wondering if Ghost Rider still has a future on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, showrunners Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon were classically noncommittal — but their answer definitely gives fans something to think about.

“We get the sense that some of these otherworldly elements might be coming from this other place, wherever that may be,” Whedon says, citing Doctor Strange’s Dark Dimension.

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Robbie Reyes met an unexpected fate in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×08, and the cast and crew weigh in on what’s next for Ghost Rider.

Robbie’s decision to take out Eli Morrow in an act of self-sacrifice has left fans (and characters) wondering if Ghost Rider still has a future on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, showrunners Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon were classically noncommittal — but their answer definitely gives fans something to think about.

“We get the sense that some of these otherworldly elements might be coming from this other place, wherever that may be,” Whedon says, citing Doctor Strange’s Dark Dimension.

“We do get the sense that things can come from there, things live there. [Robbie has] been dragged to that place, wherever that is. What happens to him there or where that goes is a ‘wait and see.'”

agents of shield 4x08

Tancharoen adds that, though Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will move into a new “pod” of story when the show returns in January, “That doesn’t mean that [Robbie] is gone.”

“Or that he will not be involved at some point,” Whedon says. “But it will definitely have a different feel.”

As for Gabriel Luna, the actor who brought Robbie and Ghost Rider to blazing life is optimistic about his character’s future.

“I’m not too worried about it being finite at this point,” he tells EW.

After all, he and Robbie still have a few loose ends to tie up. “My car is still parked on the cargo bay on the Zephyr, so I have to come back for that,” Luna says. “I’m not going to leave her in the hands of these jokers.”

And though his character was left on an emphatic question mark, Luna appreciates the culmination of Robbie’s story.

“He makes a really great heroic choice, and he makes it while in a form that usually has all the power,” he says. “So that’s really, really cool. I’m really excited to see how that plays out. It’s a first for us, in terms of story, actually seeing a decision being made while Robbie isn’t Robbie. That is pretty special.”

agents of shield 4x08

Luna is also looking forward to seeing the impact of Robbie’s apparent disappearance on Daisy Johnson.

“She seems to lose a lot of people,” he observes. “Even though we just met, we built this understanding between each other because of similarities in our lives, and we leave her in a moment of questioning and of hoping that this isn’t the end for Robbie.”

And the actor, like Daisy, and like all good constituents of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., has faith in a certain former Director.

“Agent Phil Coulson comes in and drops knowledge like a clumsy librarian, as he tends to do, and lifts her spirits and says to her, ‘I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of him,'” Luna says. “So that’s a good sign for everyone who loves the Ghost Rider.”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns on Jan. 10, 2017.

What do you think of Ghost Rider’s fate on ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’?

The biggest online retailer in the world has revealed the best-selling books of 2016, showing what Americans dived into most over the past year.

Can you guess? Can you guess the #1 best-selling book of 2016?

We’ll give you another second to think about it.

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The biggest online retailer in the world has revealed the best-selling books of 2016, showing what Americans dived into most over the past year.

Can you guess? Can you guess the #1 best-selling book of 2016?

We’ll give you another second to think about it.

Yes, duh, it’s Harry Potter eight (or at least the book marketed to be the “eighth story”), The Cursed Child. The script book that some people want to burn at the stake is the top selling book of 2016. Amazon says Cursed Child is the first script book to make one of their year-end Top 20 lists.

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Adult novels mostly eat up the list’s top 20 spots, with the exception being the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid novel. Take a look:

Best-selling books of 2016

1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2, Special Rehearsal Edition Script by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
2. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
3. The Whistler by John Grisham
4. The Last Mile (Amos Decker series) by David Baldacci
5. Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
6. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
7. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
8. Night School: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child
9. The Black Widow: Book 16 of Gabriel Allon Series by Daniel Silva
10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #11: Double Down by Jeff Kinney
11. 15th Affair (Women’s Murder Club) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
12. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
13. Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
14. Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate by Gary J. Byrne
15. The Wrong Side of Goodbye: A Harry Bosch Novel by Michael Connelly
16. The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines
17. The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
18. One with You: Book 5 of A Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day
19. The Obsession by Nora Roberts
20. Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale

Purchase any of the books on Amazon!

Meanwhile, the kids and teens best-selling books list shows a variety of favorites we’ve loved here on Hypable this year, including new entries from Rick Riordan, Kiera Cass, and Cassandra Clare. In addition, two more Harry Potter books (the Fantastic Beasts script book and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition) join Cursed Child.

Best-selling kids books of 2016

hidden-oracle-book-cover

1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2, Special Rehearsal Edition Script by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #11: Double Down by Jeff Kinney
3. The Trials of Apollo, Book 1: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
5. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 2: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
6. The Last Star: The Final Book of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 2) by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay
8. The Crown (The Selection) by Kiera Cass
9. Empire of Storms: Book 5 of Throne Of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas
10. Lady Midnight: Book 1 of The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare
11. Take Heart, My Child: A Mother’s Dream by Ainsley Earhardt and Kathryn Cristaldi
12. Glass Sword (Red Queen) by Victoria Aveyard
13. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
14. A Court of Mist and Fury: Book 2 of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
15. Gravity Falls: Journal 3 by Alex Hirsch and Rob Renzetti
16. Calamity (The Reckoners) by Brandon Sanderson
17. Give Please a Chance by Bill O’Reilly and James Patterson
18. Pax by Sara Pennypacker and Jon Klassen
19. The Thank You Book (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems
20. Broken Prince: Book 2 of The Royals Series by Erin Watt

Cursed Child was Amazon’s top-selling book overall, the top-selling Kids & Teens book, the most wished for book, and the most gifted book. Damn.

A new Fifty Shades Darker trailer was released on Wednesday and ups the sexy for the sequel.

Ana and Christian are getting back together in the Fifty Shades of Grey sequel, but the former has a couple of new rules: No secrets, way less BDSM. Christian agrees, but new problems come to light: Is someone from the millionaire’s past haunting him?

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A new Fifty Shades Darker trailer was released on Wednesday and ups the sexy for the sequel.

Ana and Christian are getting back together in the Fifty Shades of Grey sequel, but the former has a couple of new rules: No secrets, way less BDSM. Christian agrees, but new problems come to light: Is someone from the millionaire’s past haunting him?

Dakota Johnson continues to bring a fun vibe to Ana Steele, playing the awkward lines with self awareness better than Kristen Stewart ever did as Bella in Twilight. “Have dinner with me,” Christian begs. “Okay fine, I will have dinner with you, because I’m… hungry,” Ana replies. The line could come off corny if executed poorly, but Dakota has a strong hold on playing this character for fun.

Tickets for Fifty Shades Darker are now on sale. Check out a new poster for the movie below:

fifty-shades-darker-poster-2

The Fifty Shades Darker synopsis reads, “When a wounded Christian Grey tries to entice a cautious Ana Steele back into his life, she demands a new arrangement before she will give him another chance. As the two begin to build trust and find stability, shadowy figures from Christian’s past start to circle the couple, determined to destroy their hopes for a future together.”

The movie hits theaters this Valentine’s Day. It stars Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Jennifer Ehle, Victor Rasuk, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford, Max Martini, Bella Heathcote, Kim Basinger and Marcia Gay Harden, and is directed by James Foley.