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Rules of the Game – Review

Title: Rules of the Game (Engame #3)

Author: James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton

Genre: YA/Action

Book procurement: Bought from my new favourite bookstore Estoril Books.

Synopsis:

The revolutionary Endgame trilogy concludes in this explosive finale to the series. One key remains—can the Players find it before the end of the world?

The strongest are left.
One final key remains.
The fate of the world is in their hands.

The world of Endgame is populated by twelve ancient bloodlines. In each line, a Player trains for a catastrophic event that has not yet happened—until the Calling. Once they were called, the Players set off on a journey in search of three ancient keys that will save not just their line, but the world. Two keys have now been found, and the remaining Players must find the final key—before Endgame brings about the ultimate destruction.

Review:

First Thoughts

 

You know there was a point where I literally put the book down, put my head between my knees and shouted obscenities at James Frey and Nils Johnson. Honestly. I was angry because they just… ugh. Anyway.

The story continues where where Sky Key left off, and the approach of Abbadon – the beginning of the end of the world. Once the final player gets all three keys, that’s it. Game over. And Keplar 22b will do anything to ensure that a winner is crowned. Heading into this novel, I was worried about where the story would go. Who would survive. Who would kill who. A lot of drama, flared tempers, one crazy player who is losing their mind, and the entirety of Earth at stake. Still brilliantly written.

Writing

 

The writing flows right through from the first book to the final book. You can’t tell it is written by two authors. We still switch between all the respective players, experiencing their side of the story. It’s so fascinating to know all sides of the story and wanting to yell at the characters in the book who don’t know that they should turn around!! Riveting writing.

The characters were all real to me. Their personalities shone through with each chapter, their motivations clear and relatable. There was still a lot of action. Sometimes I wondered just how intense these teens’ training was that they can so easily fly planes, steal a car in under 5 seconds, pull off headshots from miles away, and still be teens.

Final Thoughts

The ending felt slightly anti-climatic but fair. Well fair in how it ends but not who survives Endgame – okay not fair to me. I’m still upset as you can clearly see haha. I would still recommend this series to everyone who enjoys a good action-adventure, thriller, sci-fi story about ruthless killer teens hoping to win an ancient game set up by Makers who traveled to the Earth ages ago. An interesting blend of religious context and alien conspiracy theories amalgamated into a fantastic series.

Rating: A satisfying 5 out of 5


Have you read the Endgame series? What series have you read and enjoyed and wanted to punch the author for their secret reveals and unexpected deaths? What would you recommend I read next?

 

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Wednesday Book Review: Endgame – Sky Key

Title: Sky Key – An Endgame Novel #2

Author: James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton

Genre: YA / Action

Book procurement: Bought from my new favourite bookstore Estoril Books.

Synopsis:

Endgame is here. Earth Key has been found. Two keys—and nine Players—remain. The keys must be found, and only one Player can win.

Queens, New York. Aisling Kopp believes the unthinkable: that Endgame can be stopped. But before she can get home to regroup, she is approached by the CIA. They know about Endgame. And they have their own ideas about how it should be Played. Ideas that could change everything.

Kingdom of Aksum, Ethiopia. Hilal ibn Isa al-Salt narrowly survived an attack that leaves him horribly disfigured. He now knows something the other Players do not. But the Aksumites have a secret that is unique to their line. A secret that can help redeem humanity—and maybe even be used to help defeat the beings behind Endgame.

London, England. Sarah Alopay has found the first key. She is with Jago—and they are winning.But getting Earth Key has come at a great cost to Sarah. The only thing that keeps the demons at bay is Playing. Playing to win.

Sky Key—wherever it is, whatever it is—is next. And the nine remaining Players will stop at nothing to get it.

Review:

First Thoughts

Well what can I say, I loved the first book. It was riveting and action packed and those players were ruthless. Some were human to a good degree. Others were monsters. This second book continues the ongoing saga to save humanity from Endgame… but the rules are changing. It’s amazing to see how at one point everyone was moving in one direction and then suddenly they are moving in a different direction. It’s brilliant.

Writing

Nothing has changed from the initial book in terms of writing. We switch between the remaining Players as they seek out Sky Key, the second of three keys that are supposed to save their line from Endgame – a world ending cataclsymic event.

Every character is unique. They have their own quirks that make them not only the best Players, but the best of who they each are as Players. Assassins. Snipers. Fighters. They are not only resourceful, but they are mentally amazing. I could never think, react or even manage to survive like they do. And the writing switching between the characters allows you to see from their own perspectives. There were times when I was freaking out because Player A knew Player B was approaching and Player B didn’t know! I was reading as fast as I could to get to the encounters! I almost cried at one point.

It’s interesting to see how some of the Players have changed during the course of the game. Moving from determined killer to compassionate killer. Other’s spiraling head first into pure psychotic behaviour. It’s brilliant.

Final Thoughts

Although I feel the ending is somewhat anti-climatic, it was a fair ending. A good ending. A proper ending. The first few hundred pages of the book I’m just trying to see where everyone is going. We as the readers know where Sky Key is and just waiting to see when everyone else will catch up. Then it’s a whole new game and I’m just trying to root for one of the Players but I have no idea who. I don’t even know whether I want them to find Sky Key after all or not. It was emotional in every sense.

Rating: An emotional 5 out of 5


You can find my review of the first book here: Endgame: The Calling.

If you have read the books, let me know what you thought. If you’re looking to get the books, ask me about them. No spoilers I promise.

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Monday Book Recommendation: Endgame Training Diaries

All three thrilling volumes of Endgame: The Training Diaries, the prequel novellas to the New York Times bestselling Endgame series, together in one paperback bind-up!

Before they were Players . . . Before the Calling . . . They trained to be selected as the one to save their ancient bloodline—and win Endgame.

Follow the Twelve through sacrifices and betrayals, broken hearts and broken bones, as they shed their normal lives and transform into the Players they were meant to be.

They must train, learn, prepare.
To Play, survive, and solve.
To kill or be killed.
Endgame is real.
Endgame is coming.
And only one can win.

 


I finished Sky Key the other day and after all the intensity and drama and death (I almost cried.) seemed to build up and… well the end felt a little anti-climatic. Nonetheless I move on to the final book in the main series, Rules of the Game.

James Frey is the author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. After battling with alcohol addiction and spending time in rehab, he wrote A Million Little Pieces which was published in 2003 in America and the following year in the UK to critical acclaim. He wrote the sequel, My Friend Leonard about life after rehab, which was published in 2005 in the US and the year after in the UK.

James Frey now lives in New York with his wife, daughter and dog. He is still writing. Most recently he has published Bright Shiny Morning, and his new book The Final Testament of the Holy Bible will publish on 12 April and is available for pre-order now.

He is also one of the authors that share the pseudonym Pittacus Lore, author of the Lorien Legacies.

Monday Book Recommendation: Endgame Series

endgame-final-cover-art endgame-sky-key endgame-rules-of-the-game

Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

For ten thousand years the lines have existed in secret. The 12 original lines of humanity. Each had to have a Player prepared at all times. They have trained generation after generation after generation. In weapons, languages, history, tactics, disguise assassination. Together the players are everything: strong, kind, ruthless, loyal, smart, stupid, ugly, lustful, mean, fickle, beautiful, calculating, lazy, exuberant, weak. They are good and evil. Like you. Like all.

This is Endgame.

When the game starts, the players will have to find three keys. The keys are somewhere on earth. The only rule of their Endgame is that there are no rules. Whoever finds the keys first wins the game. Endgame: The Calling is about the hunt for the first key. And just as it tells the story of the hunt for a hidden key, written into the book is a puzzle. It invites readers to play their own Endgame and to try to solve the puzzle. Whoever does will open a case filled with gold. Alongside the puzzle will be a revolutionary mobile game built by Google’s Niantic Labs that will allow you to play a real-world version of Endgame where you can join one of the lines and do battle with people around you.

Will exuberance beat strength? Stupidity top kindness? Laziness thwart beauty? Will the winner be good or evil? There is only one way to find out.

Play.
Survive.
Solve.
People of Earth.
Endgame has begun.


Endgame: The Calling was one of my favourite books of 2016 (Review here) and have been waiting for the next books in the series. Well I don’t have to wait any more, I got them all! Woohoo. A friend of mine works at a book store and he organised me both Sky Key and Rules of the Game, as well as Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series.

bookhaul

Endgame Series

Monday Book Recommendation

Endgame The Calling

Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

My review: Endgame: The Calling

 

 

 


Sky_Key_Cover

The sequel to the New York Times bestseller and international multimedia phenomenon, Endgame: The Calling.

Endgame is here. Earth Key has been found. Two keys—and nine Players—remain. The keys must be found, and only one Player can win.

Queens, New York. Aisling Kopp believes the unthinkable: that Endgame can be stopped. But before she can get home to regroup, she is approached by the CIA. They know about Endgame. And they have their own ideas about how it should be Played. Ideas that could change everything.

Kingdom of Aksum, Ethiopia. Hilal ibn Isa al-Salt narrowly survived an attack that leaves him horribly disfigured. He now knows something the other Players do not. But the Aksumites have a secret that is unique to their line. A secret that can help redeem humanity—and maybe even be used to help defeat the beings behind Endgame.

London, England. Sarah Alopay has found the first key. She is with Jago—and they are winning.But getting Earth Key has come at a great cost to Sarah. The only thing that keeps the demons at bay is Playing. Playing to win.

Sky Key—wherever it is, whatever it is—is next. And the nine remaining Players will stop at nothing to get it.


The second book Sky Key is already out! I can’t wait to go get it and read it *Squeals*

James Frey photo

James Frey is the author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. After battling with alcohol addiction and spending time in rehab, he wrote A Million Little Pieces which was published in 2003 in America and the following year in the UK to critical acclaim. He wrote the sequel, My Friend Leonard about life after rehab, which was published in 2005 in the US and the year after in the UK.

James Frey now lives in New York with his wife, daughter and dog. He is still writing. Most recently he has published Bright Shiny Morning, and his new book The Final Testament of the Holy Bible will publish on 12 April and is available for pre-order now.

He is also one of the authors that share the pseudonym Pittacus Lore, author of the Lorien Legacies.

Nils Johnson-Shelton photo

I lived in a nice home in San Francisco with both my folks until the age of four, at which point we moved to New York City. That’s right, my parents decided to move to New York City in the mid-1970s, which means they were either super-cool or super-dumb or super-shrewd about real estate investing (I can assure you it was not the latter). My mom worked at The New Museum, and my dad was a painter, and we lived in a loft, and I grew up around artists and their kids,…

Hobbies, Interests, and Enthusiasms:

I am enthusiastic about internet cat videos, long walks in the woods, my kids, and rock climbing (one of those is a fib). I also like video games way more than a grown man should, and I think Tokyo is the coolest place I’ve ever been. Oh, and deep-fried gator poppers. Those are pretty swell, too.

 

My Top Five 5-Star Rated Books

Reading

Reading is one of my greatest passions next to writing (gaming has fallen way down on the list surprisingly) and as most of you know, I have been challenging myself to read a book a week for the Goodreads Reading Challenge. It’s been tough and as far as I can see, I am a bit behind in my reading. Nonetheless, I have read enough to give you a list of five books that I have given 5 star ratings (4.5 counts too right?).


9780062332585-us

Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

Well of course Endgame: The Calling was going to be on this list. I gave it a 10 out of 5 but had to scale it down for the sake of being impartial, fair, objective, realistic, etc etc. This is a definite recommendation for those looking for something better than your typical let’s-get-these-teens-to-kill-each-other-off book… and the general populace who don’t mind some fast paced, heart thumping action.


The Program_1

Called back into the fold of the U.S. Marshals Service, Tim Rackley is tasked with retrieving Leah Henning, the daughter of a powerful Hollywood producer, from a mind-control cult. As Tim wends his way deep undercover into an insidious operation called The Program, he confronts a brand of mind-warping manipulation beyond his worst expectations.

This is the book that got me back into reading. I was away visiting the States (East Coast) and I happened to  visit a Thrift Shop, which had a selection of cover-less books. I picked this up, went to a random page, read the page, and bought the book. Yes it was that good. So good, that even now in real life I am skeptical of group meetings, where there is a leader trying to “sell” something and has advisers on the side are egging on the crowds into “buying”. Mind Control I tell you. Mind Control!


3583652

When a violent and incoherent naked Jane Doe is found cowering in the street near the scene of a brutal murder, a pair of bloody scissors in hand, Detective Frank Blackburn is faced with a tough question: is she a victim or the killer herself? Determined to get some answer, Blackburn takes the young woman to the Baycliff Hospital detention unit, to renowned psychiatrist Michael Tolan, in the hope that he will work his magic and get her to open up.

This was a book I also picked up at a random book sale, in a mall I never visit, run by an old couple who are hardly ever there, selling books at a ridiculously low price. The blurb was interesting enough but the story blew me out of the water completely. Dark. Gritty. Plot twisted. Fast paced. Action saturated. Supernaturally thrilling. This was the better-than-Stephen-King author I was hoping to meet.


Erin Morgenstern - The Night Circus

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

Magical. Magical. Magical! I don’t know where Erin Morgensten came from, but I am glad she did. An inspirational novel about a mystical circus, the people affected by it and the hidden magical realm that exists in and around the circus. Most times I am put off by long-winded descriptions but this was the exception, and a spellbinding one too.


9781415203798The world has been massively unappreciative of sixteen-year-old Baxter Zevcenko. His bloodline may be a combination of ancient Boer mystic and giant shape-shifting crow, and he may have won an inter-dimensional battle and saved the world, but does anyone care? No.

No. No one cares! In this sequel to Apocalypse Now Now, Baxter seems to be a changed young man. No longer leader of the Spiders and now exposed to the magical realm running rampant in Cape Town, Baxter is also trying to live a new life at a notorious magical school. And as you can imagine, chaos ensues. I loved it not only because it’s local (South Africa) but also because Charlie Human is hilarious and clearly South African in his descriptions. Ludicrous in other things, but all tied up so well I couldn’t help love this novel. South African authors are just as talented!


What are your top rated / favourite books? I’m always keen for some good book recommendations.

Wednesday Book Review: Endgame – The Calling

9780062332585-us

Title: Endgame: The Calling

Author: James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton

Genre: Adventure /

Book procurement: Exclusive Books Greenstone Mall

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

For ten thousand years the lines have existed in secret. The 12 original lines of humanity. Each had to have a Player prepared at all times. They have trained generation after generation after generation. In weapons, languages, history, tactics, disguise assassination. Together the players are everything: strong, kind, ruthless, loyal, smart, stupid, ugly, lustful, mean, fickle, beautiful, calculating, lazy, exuberant, weak. They are good and evil. Like you. Like all.

This is Endgame.

Play.
Survive.
Solve.
People of Earth.
Endgame has begun.

Review

When I read the synopsis at the back of this book before buying it, I was not sure what exactly to expect. Well perhaps I envisioned another Hunger Games or something of the sort. Twelve kids all trying to kill each other for their chosen tribe? Maybe I should not pledge my money for tribute.

What I got instead, was an action packed, emotional rollercoaster across obscure cities, landscapes, historical sites and entire continents, following Players as they each sought to defend their respective lines in the deadliest game ever: Endgame. Seeing the world through each of their eyes, stalking other players, betraying, killing, saving. I was riveted from the first chapter right through to the climatic end. When one speaks of suspended disbelief, this is the book I would refer them to.

The story is paced fantastically well. Not too slow and not too fast. I was able to follow each of the players without getting confused. I was able to understand each of their personalities and loved/hated each of them accordingly. Even one of the characters who is mute was portrayed believably. What I enjoyed most, apart from everything else that is, was how each character’s quirks and traits were written out. One of the Players has a stutter and was written with the stutters as part of his “thinking”, and not in an annoying or hindering way either. It fit so well that I could, in a sense, relate to him when I read his parts. Amazing character portrayal and development all round.

The action is intense. The authors did not hold back nor did they minimize the violence, showing just how far people would go when their lives and the lives of their people were on the line; even the young thirteen year old who was both childish and dangerous, was not afraid to spill blood for the sake of winning.

It’s been a long while since a book whisked me away from reality, has so thoroughly taken me, that I had to pull back out and remember there are no Players running around the world hoping to win some endgame.

If this book is not on your To Be Read list, it definitely should be.

Rating: Undeniable 10 out of 5… ok ok 5 out of 5!

Nthato Morakabi

Author | Blogger | Artist | Geek

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