by Faith Blum
Do not read the end of this book just before bed. You will not be able to sleep unless you can turn off the millions of questions that come to mind when you finish reading. This is the first book in a series and it definitely needs a sequel. That being said, on to the review of book #1.
“We live in a game. Somewhere ‘out’ there, our real bodies are plugged into a very real virtual reality simulation. Earth isn’t real, but it’s important to those running the game. What we call God, or Allah, or the Universe, or whatever spiritual name religion gives it…is simply the super computer that runs our universe. How can I be so sure of this? Because I’ve spoken to it. And it has spoken to me…”- The Game by Terry Schott
Life on Earth is just a game created by Brandon Strayne. This game was created to replace the government school system on Tygon. Children are given credits to purchase what they need in the game. They are then put “in statis” to live their life from beginning to end on Earth, which is just a mega-computer.
As one of the Eternals (angels) says, “Here’s the basic idea; you log into the Game and you’re born. You live your life as best you can and, when you die, you return to your real body taking the lessons you learned and the memories of the experiences you had. Many return to live multiple lifetimes, many do not. You have no memory of the real world, or at least you’re not supposed to.”
Zack is one of the top players in the world and he enters The Game for the last time. His goal is to retire from the game as the #1 player. All of Tygon will be watching to see if he succeeds.
Alexandra failed miserably a year ago when she last entered The Game and has been sent to one of the best government schools (read: Oliver Twist-like living conditions and working in sewers and other lovely places like them). Because this year is the 30th anniversary of The Game, a free play is awarded to a random contestant. Alex is chosen. One last note, the last time Zack and Alexandra were in The Game together, they tried hard to find each other in The Game and get married. They failed, Alex’s avatar died, and Zack could not find Alex when he came out of statis.
Brandon Strayne is Zack’s patron. He has a hidden agenda somewhere in this 30th anniversary edition of The Game, but it has not yet been revealed. All we know is that time is running out…
The writing is very good. The editing is so-so. A few well-spent dollars would have gone a long way toward making this good book excellent. There were not a lot of typos, but there were enough to be occasionally distracting. The author has an engaging writing style. I cannot say that I could not put this book down, but it was not because I did not want to know what was happening. It was because I had to give my brain a break. Some of the stuff that happens is so mind-boggling, you just need to set the book aside for awhile and come back to it later.
Good and bad. There are some things I really love about the spirituality in this book. Other things…not so much. In The Game, Zack and Alex’s avatars are big into spirituality. Unfortunately, they are into the “all roads lead to heaven” mentality. This is obviously where the author himself leans and he makes that a decent sized theme of the book. This turns me off slightly, but since it is not discussed at length, I am willing to look past it. However, because of this, I would recommend that only mature Christians read this book.
The sexual content was kept behind closed doors or was barely hinted at. Two people “make out”, but that’s all that is said. A reporter flirts and sends suggestive hints to Brandon with her eyes. Personally, I think these could have been left out, but they weren’t. None of them are in detail and, as I said, only suggested, so it would not deter me from reading it again or recommending it to others.
There are a few four letter words, mostly (if not all) the ‘d’ word. They are spattered through sparsely, so unless you have a “no-swear words allowed” rule, it does not detract from the book.
I recommend this book to mature readers for three reasons: 1. the spiritual content issues mentioned above, 2. the mind-boggling aspects of this book, some teens and tweens would have a hard time truly appreciating the book, 3. the language and sexual content should be an issue for the parents of teens and tweens.
The main problem that I had with it is that at the time I read The Game, the second book wasn’t out yet! The ending is powerful and makes you desperately want more. The author makes it very obvious that a sequel was planned. After all, time is running out…