Thursday, February 27, 2020

✱✱Book Review✱✱ The God Game by Danny Tobey

The God Game
by Danny Tobey

You are invited!
COme inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It;’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!
With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.
But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?
And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?
As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.
God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

Momma Says: 2 stars⭐⭐

I don't read a lot of either science fiction or tech thrillers, and this one felt a bit like both to me. However, every once in a while, a book's synopsis will catch my attention, which is what happened with The God Game. With so many RPG games and the like, it's easy to imagine a handful of impressionable teens falling prey to someone or something sinister. As I read, I felt like the story was very reminiscent of a couple of pretty big movies, except that it didn't quite make it to that level. Basically, the story just didn't quite do it for me. It is very fast-paced, and there is pretty much always something happening, so in that, I suppose you could say that this one is action-driven. The problem with that is it left little time for character development, and the teens here could've used some of that. As it stands, they aren't particularly likable. That's not to say that more development would've made them more likable. It's entirely possible that the author didn't want us to like them. If that's the case, he succeeded. It just didn't help me become really invested in the book. I will say that the author does a fair job with inclusivity with the characters even if they are a bit clichéd. To sum it up, the premise for this story drew me in, the action was just enough to keep me reading, but I guess you could say that the overall story didn't live up to expectations. Maybe I expected something different than what it was, and I suppose that's on me, but it is what it is. The story was just left of okay, and not something I'll remember fondly later on.

❃❃ARC courtesy of NetGalley and St. Martin's Press

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