Published by HarperCollins on May 7, 2013
Genres: Adventure, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Source: Amazon Vine
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.
I’m kind of torn on THE END GAMES. I’m having a difficult time figuring out just what I want to say about it. It was one of those books I just liked — I didn’t love or hate it. I enjoyed it while reading, but afterwards, it was forgettable. But even though THE END GAMES didn’t stand out for me after finishing, I would still recommend the book for a few reasons.
The first reason is Michael, the main character. He talks and acts like a real guy. If you’ve read young adult books, you’ll know that male protagonists are hard to find. Michael is a video game nerd, much more comfortable playing a FPS (first person shooter) than interacting with other people. He’s also super protective of his younger brother, Patrick, and the close relationship between them was great to see. In a world that has changed, Michael does everything he can to protect Patrick, and to get them both to the Safe Zone.
The second reason is that the video game twist is refreshing. As somewhat of a gamer geek myself, I loved how the author sprinkled game references and lingo throughout the book. A lot of times when writers try to sound like teens, they fail, but in this case, the author nailed it. I was nodding right along every time Michael called someone a “newb,” or tried to emulate a sniper in a video game to get through a tough situation. That said, the writing style may take some time to get used to. Don’t give up.
For the first quarter or so of the book, I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough. Michael and Patrick are on the run from the Bellows, aka zombies. They score points for killing Bellows, finding supplies, and progressing towards the Safe Zone. They’ve been on their own for twenty days, surviving in a zombie-infested world.
But once Michael and Patrick find other survivors, THE END GAMES started to go downhill for me. I think it was due to the pacing. Even though Michael and Patrick were on the run for their lives, I actually never felt like either of them would die or that they were in danger. So the constant action wore on me. The book slowed to a crawl by the middle, and I kept wanting to flip ahead to see if anything was going to happen. The premise of the book changed; it became less about the game, and more about other things, which I’m not going to spoil for you.
THE END GAMES is a standalone novel, which is awesome considering how many young adult books are part of a series. However, because I was disappointed with the ending — I thought it was too open and I wanted more of a conclusion — this is a time when I wanted another book.
Readers that have already consumed a lot of zombie books might be bored by THE END GAMES, but maybe not. The video game twist does keep it new, and as the book progresses, it becomes less about the zombies and more about Michael and Patrick.
For me, THE END GAMES was almost over 9000, but not quite.
Let’s talk about it:
What’s your opinion on zombies?