The Game by Terry Schott
Published by Smashwords Edition on August 22, 2013
Series: The Game is Life, #1
Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, science fiction, young adult
Format & Length: e-book, 273
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A virtual reality simulation played by over a billion children around the world. The best players are celebrities, adored and worshiped by countless fans. Zack is a superstar among players.
His final play may change the world, forever…
The Game is a young adult dystopian with a concept that strongly reminds me of The Matrix.
“The extraordinary is simply that—a little bit extra than ordinary. There is great power in that little bit extra.”
In this book, life on Earth is a virtual reality game that children plug into, gaining experience and learning from living life over and over instead of attending traditional school. Although the idea is not wholly original, the way the world is built out is unique, with references to historical figures, facts, and landmarks to help ground the concept in reality. It also includes nods to notions of déjà vu and past lives, but then delves deeper into discussions of faith, belief, and religion in a way I hadn’t expected but did appreciate.
The author clearly put a lot of effort into building a world (and world within a world) to expand on his premise, and it shows. Every small detail helped to add depth and make it easy to visualize. And these were, by far, the strongest parts of the book for me, leaving the plot and characters to be wanting in comparison. As the first book in a series, I hope that these elements improve in later books to match the strength of the concept and world building in order to not lose traction.
In the end, The Game was effective at compelling me to want to know more. I might try the next book in this series with the expectation that it further fleshes out the ideas that intrigued me so much here.