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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

ARC Review: The End Games by T. Michael Martin

When John Green tweeted about this book, I know I just had to read it. It was sitting on my shelves collecting dust and I wasn't really up for reading a zombie novel again, but then I picked it up, and mayhem ensued.


Title: The End Games by T. Michael Martin
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Published by: HarperCollins
Source: Publisher (Thanks Christine!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Summary:

It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

The world ended on Halloween and Michael has been fighting the monsters for weeks. It's The Game, and they follow what the Game Master says, keeping Bellows at bay, and living long enough to reach a Safe Zone in their hopes of finding their mother alive. But it wasn't easy when you have a five year old boy in tow who needs to down Atipax and fight panic attacks. Michael knew he had to reach the Safe Zone and fast because he wouldn't be able to keep up with the fighting for much long, but along the way they stumbled onto people who are as much a threat as the Bellows they're running from. Now Michael had to do everything in his power to stay alive and protect his brother but until when?

There are things in this book that worked well for me and there are more that just made me wonder how I got through almost 400 pages without giving up. Michael is a walking irony, a nerd who never fit in, whose only friends were those in his online world, until he had to fend for himself and his little brother the night the world fell apart. He's also seriously screwed up inside. There was a healthy abundance of people with erratic behavior in this novel that I just but gave up trying to cope and understand all of them. Michael, for all the bravery he had showed for lasting for two weeks without any help just had to become stupid at the worst possible time, go crushing on a girl the moment he sees her, and be sentimental in such a bad time. He was a gun totting savior one moment and an insecure nerd who never quite fit in the next.

I'm also a little bit on the fence with Holly. You expect a girl to develop a certain strength considering what has happened to the world but Holly didn't. Not until the very dire of situations. She's your average girl who thinks she's useless, stubborn, and never trusts someone else until it's too late. I barely noticed she was there half the time because she tends to fade out in important situations, oftentimes appearing to argue with Michael. She's not the ideal person to be a love interest but her clashes with Michael provides much of the conflict in the book.

I also had problems with the unexpected things the characters seem to do. A perfect example: will you really spend time kissing when you know time is of the essence to save your brother and you're about to go inside a cave with thousands of zombies inside? Also, if you know a person is deranged and way beyond reason, why are you sticking with him when you know he might kill you anytime you turn your back from him? Why save a person you do not know, who will turn into a zombie because she's bitten, and put the lives of everyone else at risk? Emotions get the best of the characters in unexpected situations that creates more problems for them when they could have avoided it.

The presence of the Captain and The Rapture is what gave this book quite a different feel. The characters have their plate full by battling the Bellows and yet they still face other threats. It makes you feel that the world has gone mad and the people went even madder, insane, twisted. The whole story entered a new dimension of insanity with the addition of the Captain and The Rapture. They lend the story the more scary factor, because you know you can take your chances with the zombies outside, but with these people? There's not enough reasoning to convince them that everything will be fine if they will just fight to live. They will go to great lengths to save themselves, and I mean whatever it takes. Killing other humans? It's fun for them. Sacrificing people? It's what they should do. Worshipping zombies? Yes, they do that. They're the perfect example of what happens to people when they lose hope.

I give kudos to T. Michael Martin for having written a zombie novel that goes deeper than your average zombie filled tale. How closely intricate is the game to Michael's life, the representation of the Game Master, the Betrayer, the invention of The Game itself and its effects on Patrick. It's not something you usually see in a novel where your first expectation is for the survivors to kill everything in sight for it to end. T. Michael Martin was able to blend well the devastation outside to the horrors inside Michael and make one scary nightmare out of it. It's an intense read that made me feel like I will burst because of the thrill and adrenaline rush the story provides. I might not like the characters, they're foolish enough to get themselves killed on the first minute, but the whole story and the way the author spin this frightful tale is something to be admired.

Some people might like a book like this. If you ever get to read it, tell me your thoughts about it and if you liked it better than I did.

My rating

Content (plot, story flow, character):
They sometimes just don't make any sense, they know they do and they don't do anything about it and they also do things they know they shouldn't and keep doing it, which frustrated me to no end a couple of times.
.5
Okay: Liked, but The Goddess demands more!

Book Cover:
Ominous cover, perfect fit for the story.

5 comments:

  1. I think it's awesome the first thing you notice about this book is it happens to start off with the world ending on Halloween and the main characters name is Micheal (Priceless)!!!!

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  2. Not sure though if I'd actually read this one considering the content issues and the just plain confusion it seems to give the reader.

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  3. Great review. I absolutely love the cover and zombie novels are absolutely my thing. About the points you made with the unexpected things that the characters happened to do, that would be such a turn off for me in this novel. Like when Andrea from The Walking Dead was just talking to Milton rather than working on getting out of the handcuffs that she's in before the guy turns into a walker. Things like that just get on my nerves. Nevertheless, I might give this book a shot, it does sounds pretty interesting. :)

    Courtney Ann @ Rondo of a Possible World

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  4. I think your review was spot on. The characters were just not very likable and that is a book killer in and of itself. As for my thoughts I figured it's best to link you to my review rather than rant on your page. It tends to happen when I get talking about this book.

    The End Games Review

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  5. I'm itching to read this one but I want to wait for the paperback edition! It bothers me reading hardbound books. And omg the world ends during Halloween? I'm totally reading it. Glad that you liked it although the characters' actions were a bit off.

    Leigh
    Little Book Star

    ReplyDelete

I love getting comments from my readers and fellow bookworms, and I try my best to respond to all of them. Feel free to give me a piece of your thoughts. Also, this is an award-free blog. I simply don't have the time to highlight them anymore, but thank you for thinking of my blog!

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