Book Review

Book Review of The End Games by Michael Martin

The End Games book review

*I received an ARC (advanced review copy) of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The End Games is one of the worst books I've ever read. I hate tearing books apart but unfortunately sometimes a huge pile of dreck comes my way and there is literally nothing good to say about it. That's exactly where the End Games falls. After seeing all the five stars, I wondered if I'm just on another planet with this …because I struggle to give it even one.  I guess as an adult I'm probably not the target audience. Though an absolute connoisseur of Y.A. titles, The End Games just didn't make the cross-over into adult territory successfully. In fact it didn't even really strike me as a Y.A. level book. The writing is very juvenile with constant references to video games and comments like the following quotes from the book:

"I'm a butt!"
"I've got butt pimples!"
"They crawled through a small cove in the sandbags, Patrick going first, fake farting the way through."
"I think I spelled it wrong in the snow…With my pee,"

Then there are all the video game references (of which I give you a small sample of):

"It was the same excitement as when he and Patrick had beaten Halo 4 on Legendary Mode…"
"Like Modern Warfare, Michael breathed out hard to steady his crosshairs…"
"A plan, fully formed, flashbulbed in his mind, and its brilliant light seemed to transform the world around him into something like a high definition video-game screen shot…"
"Because what Michael saw outside was something out of Modern Warfare."
"But besides the fact that you hit the x button to reload in first-person shooters, Michael knew nada about such heavy-duty weaponry."
"Captain Jopek, his gunlight lancing like a glisten-sharp sword, looked like the point man of a covert team in Battlefield 3."
"But the captain only laughed and opened fire, filling the room with his perfect, video-game hero's fire…"

I literally have 48 pages of Kindle notes with pages and pages of garbage like the above. Besides all of the video game references, there are what seem like mini-commercials for Mountain Dew Code Red, Google, a current T.V. show, X-Box Live, Nintendo DS, Vin Diesel, Mario 2, Martha Stewart, Buzz Lightyear, Playboy magazine and other such nonsense that is going to quickly date itself and not connect to future generations of readers and/or simply jars you out of the story with all of the materialistic name-dropping.

All of the tension of the story is so highly manufactured and phony. The main character, Michael, shoots his way through the story like he is a video game god and along the way… SURPRISE…he manages to even have time to have a crush on a girl who just happens to be the only other young person his age and magically available and get this…she sees him naked… Wow, how embarrassing! That is some plot action right there! I don't know what to do with my nine-year old self! Blush blush blush. Someone please end this book and put me out of my misery.

I was so extraordinarily disappointed in the story because it drew me in with the beautiful cover and started out with so much promise. Two boys are struggling to survive in what seems like some sort of game filled with shambling zombies. Michael must earn points and get to the next destination the "Game Master" sends him to. He has to make it to the next level. He has to do whatever he can to protect his little brother. I kept waiting to figure out the deeper meaning of the "game" and to find out who this mysterious "Game Master" was. Sixty something pages in I was scratching my head. I'm 40+ years old and I've read thousands of books, but this one was eluding my grasp. I pride myself in my intelligence and yet I wasn't getting the story behind the story because surely there was more. Right? What in the world was going on here? And then, on page 62 all is revealed and I realize I was being strung along with some interesting promise that fizzled out into nothing more than a cover up for a total waste of time. This is not some deep novel with some intriguing game going on (if only the author had stuck with that instead of devolving the book into the  pile of trash it quickly became). No, it's merely a poorly written zombie romp…for children.

And that's what it all boils down to. If you are nine, you are going to love The End Games. If you are an adult looking for another dystopian or post-apocalyptic read, there is nothing to cut your teeth on here, unless you enjoy chewing on steaming turds.

Now for the MOM part of the review:

I don't recommend The End Games for any children, teens included. It's filled with cursing, violence, has a reference to Christians that is just plain bizarre (why is it that Christians must be painted as weirdos??!!). As a mom, I was just plain mad to read such trash in the guise of a book for kids.

Note: I recieved a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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