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Book Review: Endgame

November 19, 2014

From faking and exaggerating certain events in his memoir to using graduate students as cheap labor to turn out “commercial young adult books,” James Frey has had a writing career strewn with scandals. He is also known for writing with Jobie Hughes under the pseudonym “Pittacus Lore” to create the “Lorien Legacies” series, which began with the popular “I Am Number Four.” His latest work, entitled “Endgame: The Calling,” is the first book in a new fast-paced, action-filled trilogy, and is just as complicated as his reputation.

Photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk
Photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

“Endgame” is a mix of Dan Brown’s “Robert Langdon” series, George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series,and Suzanne Collins’“The Hunger Games” trilogy. This recent release centers around 12 characters from 12 different “lines,” which were the original bloodlines created by extraterrestrial beings.

Each line has a Player between 13 to 20 years old, and these twelve Players have trained for Endgame since they were eligible to Play. When humankind becomes corrupt and the original creators of the Earth decides that they will return, Endgame begins, and each Player must fight to find three keys that will stop the game. The only rule of Endgame is that there is no rule, and each of the 12 Players will stop at nothing to win.

Interestingly enough, “Endgame” can also be played virtually by readers. A puzzle is woven into the book, and readers are invited to participate in an online version of Endgame by joining different lines to find the first key. Google’s Niantic Labs have created dozens of links for readers to visit, and whoever finds the first key will win a $500,000 prize, which is currently being held in Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas. With each book, the prize will increase by half a million dollars, meaning that a total of $3 million will be out there for players to win by the time the last book is released.

“Endgame” is an adventure right from the first page, and readers are given no more information than that of the customary summary on the back cover. This book is enigmatic and mysterious, and remains that way even until the end. In this first installment, the Players travel all over the world to find the first key, leading to chaos and violence galore.

I initially had my doubts about “Endgame,” because I thought that it would just be a bloody, adult-friendly version of “The Hunger Games.” However, my doubts were soon assuaged, and I was left only with a body-numbing feeling of shock and excited horror as I read on. This book was a complete whirlwind, and I was sucked in by the constant plot twists that plagued the first third of “Endgame.” However, squeamish readers will have a difficult time getting through the book, as it is chock-full of bloody combat.

In addition to my skepticism surrounding the plot, before reading, I was put off by the potential challenge of having to follow twelve different characters and points of view, butit turned out not to be a problem at all. Becoming immersed in the book was easily accomplished, and I quickly grew accustomed to the constant changes in viewpoint.

Although the first hundred pages consist of constant plot twists, things slightly calmed down soon enough and characters began to show development. They stopped blindly following their orders and began to show some understanding of the reasons behind the game, which rarely happens in such fast-paced and action-filled books.

With a mix of both mindless action and thought-provoking character development, “Endgame” appeals to all types of readers. I thoroughly enjoyed “Endgame,” and I can’t wait to follow the characters in the next book, which has yet to be released.

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