(The Game, #1)
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Katherin Tegen Books; 361 pages
So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to know?
When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.
First thing was Jackson; not the character himself but I hate, like a pet peeve hate of mine, when a character is all like 'you shouldn't like me, seriously - I'm not a good person'. Like really? I don't know of any person that would actually say this especially if they truly do believe they're 'bad'. If you're not a good person, you know what? You're not going to let that person know ahead of time; you're going to be the dick that you are and totally screw them over, in whatever way you know how. That is what a bad person would do. Telling Miki multiple times that she doesn't want to know him because he's not a good guy - seriously? Just . . . no. This is probably one of the things that irk me the most about this book. It also falls in the 'show don't tell' category. If he's not a good person, don't let tell us about it, let us see it for ourselves.
That being said, I did enjoy the characters, as a whole. I really enjoyed Richelle; she was peppy, kind and optimistic. Miki, who is our heroine, was snarky (which I truly loved), easy going and mysterious. She's been through quite a bit in her young life, including losing her mother to cancer a few years earlier and her father having a drinking problem thanks to it. Her best friend Carly is one of those people who seem fine at first but then leave a bitter taste in your mouth. By the end of the book, I don't think she's a good friend at all and I really don't care for her one bit. Luka, who is hottie number one, is a guy who Miki used to know but he moved away then recently moved back to town. He's also someone you can't tell if he's interested in Miki as more than friends or not. Jackson - our resident hottie whose so dark and mysterious hidden behind his shades. Besides the fact that we are told he's not a good guy; he doesn't seem half bad. He and Miki mesh really well together - they both have snark and when they get in it, it truly becomes an interesting conversation.
The first half of this book really pulled me, to where I was having trouble putting the book down but then something happened where it lost it's momentum. The weird thing is, I can't even tell you what happened that made this happen; maybe it was the distance between them being pulled in to this game world? It got better, especially at the end of the book but there was just a good 50-100 pages where I was falling asleep (quite literally, but that could've been because I was tired, too) but I stuck through it because I needed to know where this story was going. It's very unbelievable but that's part of it's charm. The whole alien aspect is enough to put doubts in people's minds but then you add the gaming aspect, to where a teenager is pulled in to an alternate universe (in a sense) to kill these aliens without being killed themselves? If they're killed then they're whole world changes...
It's an interesting concept and it was delivered really well - if she would've only changed the whole I'm-not-a-good-guy thing with Jackson. The story was exciting, kept you in suspense (most of the time) especially when they were in the game, the characters were entertaining & likable and it left you wanting to more. A great first book to what could be a fantastic series. I recommend this book to Sci-Fi fans and gamer fans; also if you like Fantasy, this could be for you, as well.