THE GOD GAME | Danny Tobey
01.07.2020 | St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 4/5 stars
You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!
With these words, Charlie and his friends decide to enter the G.O.D. Game, a new video game unlike anything they have experienced before. The game is run by underground hackers and controlled by an AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone screens and VR glasses the teenagers become fully immersed into this new virtual world. Suddenly they are surrounded by creeping vines, torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. The goal of the game is to complete missions to gain rewards, ranging from expensive tech to revenge on high school bullies.
Threatening messages and mysterious packages start to arrive, leaving Charlie and his friends to consider if this new game might be more dangerous than it first appeared. Leaving the game won’t be as easy as starting it. How far are they willing to go?
THE GOD GAME is a timely science fiction thriller, which offers up a plot that feels eerily plausible. In a world of ever evolving artificial intelligence, what’s to stop someone from creating an AI that could manipulate humans to follow all of their commands? The threat of death or harm to others is an age old mechanism used by humans to control those around them. This threat coupled with the reward of all your dreams coming true is something extremely hard to resist, which is exactly where we find our main character, Charlie, and his group of friends in this book.
I love reading science fiction books that have a premise that is entirely possible. Since this genre isn’t one I typically read in, I find it easier to understand what’s going on in the story if I can visualize what’s occurring clearly. Sure, there are always things that we make up in our minds as we read, but I need the general premise to be something I can grasp. The idea of AI becoming so controlling as with this game is one that we have of course seen before in other books and movies, but Tobey keeps it fresh with the inclusion of mythology and religious ideology being central to some of the game’s missions. It was a really nice touch to blend something very modern and cutting edge with something ancient.
What really sold me on this book was the group of friends, better known as The Vindicators. Charlie is our group leader, as well as the main narrator. He’s in a large part responsible for getting himself and his friends playing this game, so his actions and emotions are key. I found him entirely relatable and likeable. Charlie isn’t free of doing some cringeworthy things in the game, but his motivations are always very realistic. The same can easily be said for his group of friends and because they’re all high school students, the emotions and events of everyday teenage life are easy to relate to and connect with things the reader may have experienced during this time, such as peer pressure, bullying, and parental tensions.
I think THE GOD GAME is a fantastic read which fans of books like READY PLAYER ONE will really enjoy! There are multiple points of view, captivating action scenes, and plenty of tension to keep you turning pages and hanging out with The Vindicators late into the night!
A huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press for my sending me a free copy of this book!
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.