by Anders de la Motte
384 pages - 11,99 $ (kindle)Atria/Emily Bestler Books
I heard about this trilogy based on a game and technology. Not just any game, of course, a global game and a game master who pulls the strings and plays with the lives of his players. Anders de la Motte is a former cop, a consultant in international security and now a recognized and honored author for this trilogy. Thanks Netgalley and Atria Books for this book.
Follow the rules and everybody gets hurt . . .
One Sunday morning after a long night of partying, Henrik “HP” Pettersson, a slacker with a lot of ego and very little impulse control, finds a cell phone of an unfamiliar make on a commuter train. Through insisting and slightly uncanny messages that refer to him by name, the phone invites him to play a game. HP accepts without hesitation.
The rules are that HP must complete tasks that range from childish pranks to criminal acts, as allocated by the mysterious Game Master. HP is the perfect contender—alienated from society, devoid of morals, and desperate for fame. His completion of the assignments are filmed and uploaded onto a protected server where viewers rate the Players’ performances.
The Game starts out innocently enough and then becomes increasingly risky, threatening the safety of someone close to HP. He is determined to become a superstar, but when the dark and tragic secrets of his family’s past are at stake, HP must make a choice. Will he suffer the humiliation of defeat, or will the need to win push him to the limit—no matter the cost?
First in a fast-paced and riveting trilogy, Game will leave you guessing. Follow the rules, andeverybody gets hurt . . .
What I think of it
The story mostly follows Henrik (HP) and his sister Rebecca who are very different from one another. HP is a very intelligent waster but a rotten family history has left traces in him, as in his sister. The result is that he has a fundamental need for recognition. It's this need that the game master uses to get him into the game. Rebecca has a need to control everything in her life up to leave messages on her answering machine not to forget to do something and finds herself drawn into the game. We don't really know why these two are targeted by The Game at the end of the book but it's clear that there is an underlying reason which will undoubtedly clear at the end of the trilogy. I confess that I have not really hung out with the two characters. HP lacks a bit too much moral for my taste to make him friendly. As for Rebecca, she is too much aloof so I really appreciate her.
The coolest in this book is to explore the many a time discussed theme of international conspiracy but from the (almost) inside said plot. Of course, we don't know who pulls the strings in the first book but to know how it works, it's interesting. Each stunt is the result of a multitude of actions issued by the players. Everything is very well explained in the book and it makes the game credible. Finally, the book end with a cliffhanger and answers a question (who recruited HP?) but that answer is just what you need to want to read the other books (if you didn't already).
The pace and way of writing are well chosen to reproduce the idea of a game. We move on to each character, one after the other like in a game. Paragraphs are sometimes very short, there are emails and texting. This gives the impression of being live, which reinforces the impression of being a spectator of The Game.
In a nutshell
While it's unfortunate that the two main characters are not the friendliest, game enthusiasts or international conspiracy lovers will love this book. I give it 3/ 5.