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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 24 October 2011
A fascinating look into the world of Rapture. Ryan deserved his end as the book reveals just what a nasty piece of work he was. I got the game again so I could play it again with this story in mind and it threw a different light on to it. You understood the tape messages better and you looked for things mentioned in the book. It was no wonder Rapture failed.

If you liked the games and you like reading then you can't go far wrong with this book.
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on 10 May 2013
Bought as a Christmas present for my Bioshock obsessed brother, after he had finished he insisted I pick it up.

Excellent insight into some of Rapture's history and downfall, very cleverly written for a video game book and the author knows his lore, I felt in some places parts of the character development were rushed or glossed over but these are minor things compared to how good this is as a whole.

If you are a Bioshock fan, I heartily recommend this as the author really captures Rapture's atmosphere in a way I wouldn't have thought possible outside the games, a worthy supplement to a great series.
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on 15 November 2011
Really enjoyed this book, despite not playing the games all the way to the finish yet, good coverage of the prequel story, well written and has been re-read 3 times.
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As a Bioshock fan, I really loved the book, of course, as any book of this kind, it contains slow and not-so-engaging parts, but that it's necessary to create the big picture of Rapture.

Very well written, the story is very enganging, going much much deeper than the part told in the Bioshock games.

If you are, like me, a Bioshock fan than you'll probably enjoy this book as it will allow you to see Rapture beyond games and learn about the ideas that built and destroyed the Rapture utopia.

If you are not a Bioshock fan or you have not played the games (give them a try, they are really good!) I think you'll enjoy too, maybe not so much because of not having the visual/sound references that the Bioshock players have, but the book will provide you one really interesting story anyway.
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on 2 September 2014
Good, fast paced story with some very nice character development. Many characters crop up from the audio diaries in the game and the main character, Bill Mcdonaghal is relatable and stands out as one of few good people in Rapture. My only gripes are that many lines the characters speak are straight out of the audio diaries, even when they're not recording themselves. Also Andrew Ryan, while developed and explored very interestingly, occasionally doesn't speak the way you expect him to for such a learned, well spoken man (e.g. using the word `kids`), but they're only nitpicking as the book is fantastic otherwise :)
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on 31 July 2015
If you like Bioshock then this is excellent. It fills in all the history of what happened before the original game starts. I've restarted the original Bioshock game again and its fascinating to listen to the characters you now know. Oh, its very well written and a good story too. Only down side is that I can't harvest the little sisters any more I have to save them instead!
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on 16 October 2013
This is a great book if you've played the first two bioshock games. its really well written, and very interesting. it has a whole host of details from the games and shows the slow decent that rapture makes into bloody chaos. if you've not played the games, it probably isn't worth reading because a lot of things you simply won't understand until you have played them.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 July 2011
I admit, I was a little sceptical of a book based on a video game.... I mean, look at movie adaptations of games, they haven't gone brilliantly so far have they? But nonetheless, anyone who knows me will know I love Bioshock, and anything related to it. So when I found out about this book, it wasn't a question of IF I would buy it, more WHEN...

So, I pre-ordered. I don't know the work of John Shirley, apparently he is credible within his field and also award winning. Good. I don't want to read crap. I was expecting a flimsy, poor to average read in the vein of the LOST Tv show tie-in novels (did anyone read those....painful, really....). Anyhoo, book arrived on release date, thank you Amazon. When it arrived I was pleased to discover the book was a healthily chunky 470 pages, not a slim novella in the style of the aforementioned LOST books. The story is a prequel to the video games, and covers the creation of rapture and the beginning of the rapture civil war, before the events of the first game. The story is mainly told from the point of view of Bill McDonagh (you may remember him as rapture engineer and owner of the Fighting McDonagh's Tavern in the first game). The book details how he met Andrew Ryan, Rapture's creator, their friendship and his part in the realisation of Ryan's dream.

Fear not if you were holding out for appearances from other Bioshock characters, they are all here, from Sander Cohen to Dr Stienmann, Tenenbaum and Suchong, Sophia Lamb, Fontaine/Atlas, Jasmine Jolene, they are all here. I must say I was impressed, the author did his research and really invoked the atmosphere of Rapture. I won't give the story away, but I will say I was impressed and enjoyed it, and it wasn't far off what I imagined lead up to the beginning of the first game.

Like I already stated, I am a huge fan of Bioshock and everything in the Bioshock universe. I wouldn't expect a non fan to be as enamoured with this book as I was. However, if you have even the slightest interest I would say this was well worth a read. It would probably work as a stand alone story too although I doubt a non-fan would even be aware of it's existence. But maybe if you are into sci-fi/fantasy it might be worth a look.

Negative points: I thought the ending was maybe a little rushed, not a bad thing but had the book lead right up to Jack's plane crash (start of Bioshock, for the uninitiated) I would have been very impressed. Some of the characters could have been fleshed out a little more. More Dr Steinmann and Sander Cohen would have made my day, but well, I'm just a fangirl.

Overall score? Well if you are a Bioshock lover this is an essential purchase. It only cost me £4.99 and it was worth every penny, 9/10. Not a Bioshock fan but quite like weird stories? Give this a go, 7/10. Don't know what the hell I'm on about? Go read the sun or something.
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on 19 July 2011
I ordered this book Exactly a year ago today, and have received it in the post at 12:07 this afternoon. I have been reading non-stop, and i have to say it's incredibly well written, faithful to fans of the games and is clearly written by someone who has done his research. Can't wait to read more. Definitely a must for all Bioshock fans.
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on 28 February 2014
I really enjoyed this prelude to the Bioshock games, I found the games far more enjoyable with the back story I gained from reading this book. Whilst it's not necessary, it is a fantastic companion to the games and a great read.
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