Author: Eve Silver
Series: The Game: Book 1
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Publication Date: June 11th, 2013
Format: Personal Copy
Genre: YA; Adventure; Sci-Fy; Romance
When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.
My Thoughts and Reflection:
(SPOILERS OFTEN PRESENT IN THIS SECTION)
This book has such an interesting premise, don't you agree? The game is utterly grabbing. With such an inticing premise, you'd expect that the first chapter would jump right into the action. Instead, it drags on this incredibly boring and strangely paced set up. I feel like with this book should have started at chapter four and then had everything else just sprinkled about the rest of the book. I don't like books with no background, but this one just placed it in the wrong place.
This poor placing also ruined the pace of the book. The slow beginning met with a sudden fast section, followed up by a mellower middle after we get used to things caused the book to feel choppy.
Along with the poor set up chapters, it takes quite a while to get a feel for our protagonist, Miki. Eventually we figure out how awesome she is, but it takes a while!
I have mixed feelings about The Game. On one hand, I think that it is incredibly creative and the whole Drau aspect is exciting and surprising, but on the other hand, it takes soooooo long for us to get an explanation that it started to feel like make believe and not sci-fi. Miki also needed to feel more disbelief about the situation. So many sic-fy/fantasy crossovers with contemporaries do a poor job of making their characters have realistic reactions to the paranormal or supernatural. However, Miki does get answerseventually, although it is towards the end of the book.
Again, the poor set up chapters caused another difficulty for me; understanding and keeping track of which boy was who. In the beginning we hear about Luka, and his first description makes him seem like the mysterious boy. Then, after we jump into The Game, we realize that Jackson is the intended brooding bad boy. (Who had an uncanny, really uncanny, tendency to act/talk EXACTLY like Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth). After meeting the two boys I sort of sighed and almost wrote this book off as another love triangle. Except, that's not exactly what happens.
Carly, Miki's best friend, (who is pretty much a cardboard character) originally calls dibs on Jackson, so Miki, the doting friend, lets him go, and tries to like Luka. But then Carly decides that she now likes Luka, and Miki gets confused. She did like Jackson all along though, so it sort of worked out. After that it's unclear whether Jackson and Miki are really together, but Luka and Carly are, sort of. It was a strange love triangle/square.
Miki's development in the story was very much centered around The Game. When Richelle dies Miki takes the death really badly, and that changes her mind about The Game, about Jackson, about EVERYTHING.
The only character that feel like had any development, besides Miki, was her father. We get this whole backstory about Miki's mother dying, and his drinking problem, and how he doesn't fish as much or something like that. Anyway, compared to the other characters in this book he was a breathe of fresh air.
I have to say, Luka was a strange character to figure out. He turned out not to be the brooding bad boy, but he was the golden boy either. Somehow this author managed to create a real character among a bunch of archetypes. It's amazing sometimes what authors sneak in there.
Jackson is, well, as I said above, pretty much Four. Exactly Four. If you haven't read Divergent, read that and not this, because it's better.
The ending; completely disappointing. If I read one more cliff hanger ending I might just– but that's an argument for another day. Anyway, back to the cliffhanger ending. Yes, of course, Jackson's wrist band goes red in the last mission against the Drau. Why wouldn't it?
Can you sense my sarcasm? Haha.
The fact that his book had a cliffhanger ending was beyond disappointing. This ending didn't even feel like an ending. Rush was an entire book of build up for the story that will be the sequel. Why couldn't the author just have mashed the two books together and published something SATISFYING?
Ugh, there was one moment, one moment that could have made the entire book flip me around and slap me across my face. That was the moment when Miki has Jackson's dream about the car accident. At first, we don't know that it's Jackson's dream, and I got so exciting thinking that there was going to be a plot twist with Miki having a sister. Maybe her sister's death was connected with her mother's? I don't know, but of course, my plans were foiled and the dream turned out to be Jackson's.
I feel like I've just shredded this book to pieces, but let me make this clear, I really did like this book. Despite all of my frustrations, I'm almost thinking of it as the first half of the story. I want to see more from these Drau, I want to explore more with Jackson, his connections with the Drau, and The Game creators. Most of all, I want to see Luka and Miki manifest as characters.
SPOILER FREE CONCLUSION:
This series has a lot of potential, despite my frustrations with pacing and characters. I am awaiting the sequel with anticipation.