ARC REVIEW | THE GOD GAME BY DANNY TOBEY | WEAVING FICTION

THE GOD GAME 

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Writing Style/Quality: 3
Plot: 4
Characters & their development: 3
Originality: 4
Pacing: 2
Personal enjoyment: 3
Final rating: 3
WHERE DID I GET THIS FROM? Hachette NZ
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I liked
-The ideas presented to the reader
-The sci-fi elements.

I disliked
-the open ending
-the lack of realism

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GOODREADS BLURB

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.

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MY THOUGHTS

I am conflicted as all hell with this book. I loved parts of it, but was utterly bored by others. This novel follows a group of teens who get sucked into a game. The game promises that if they win, all their wildest dreams will come true, but if they lose? They’ll die! The stakes are high, and while everything starts off calmly enough, it won’t stay that way for long.

First of all, the premise was what got me on this. A game that is crafted in the idea of God, that offers you all your wildest dreams? Who wouldn’t want that. But as with everything in the world, there are negatives, and you watch the negatives pile up, as these teens get dug deeper and deeper into pits of despair.

As with most novels that feature teens as the main characters, the whole time I was sitting there screaming”GO TELL AN ADULT” but of course, that would ruin the fun wouldn’t it? My big issue with that however, is it still felt like there were adults they could have told, and I don’t even remember them trying to tell any adults at all. Wouldn’t that be your first thought when this game is telling you to cut yourself with a rusty blade and paint a pentagram? No? Only me? Ooooooookay.

I think this had a lot of potential, and it was a fun ride for the most part of it, but there wasn’t a big reveal, and while this isn’t explicitly a thriller novel, it definitely has been marketed as such which made me expect, something, some kind of grand reveal at the end. All we got was a small reveal that we saw coming, and a vaguely happy ending.

The writing in this novel was just okay, the characters weren’t the best people, and they got on my nerves but I think that’s what made them realistic and act like teenagers. The plot was definitely the highlight as it was unique and unlike any other novels I’ve read. That lead me to feel like this novel was quite original, in the way it uses modern day media and abilities to show off what we are really capable of, which is, honestly? Frightening. My biggest gripe was the pacing. Parts of it flew by, and then in others you were overdrowned with so much tech dump info, that you ended up skimming paragraphs to get back to the action.

But overall, for me, the negatives and positives mostly balanced themselves. In the end, I don’t think this is a bad novel, nor a great one. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested but if it’s not really peaking your interest, I don’t think it’s worth your time.

OUTRO

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