Review: The End Games

Title: The End Games
Author: T. Michael Martin
Pages: 369
Published: May 7th, 2013
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Rating:

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.

T. Michael Martin’s debut novel is a transcendent thriller filled with electrifying action, searing emotional insight, and unexpected romance.

The End Games was a really hard novel to kind of put a review for because I really enjoyed this novel, but then again I really didn’t. Which is why I’m giving it a three. The story and the writing are just fine, I think, but I felt like there was something missing from the novel, but I can’t really pin it.

The story revolves around Michael and Patrick who are surviving the zombie apocalypse through the idea that the world is now a game. Michael does this in order to protect Patrick (Patrick is five years old, so along with other issues there’s that). This of course becomes a pretty big problem during the book because the lie is fine between Michael and Patrick–there’s no one to cross reference and of course shatter the lie–but it’s not fine when Michael and Patrick finally come in contact with actual living human beings again.

This is essentially “what would happen if shit went to all hell?” the novel. Which, you know, is completely fine. In a good story there’s a conflict and what we drama nerds call the “inciting incident” and there’s a climax and a resolution. Bam. This book, though, felt like there were too many bad things happening. It was “what else could go wrong?” in 369 pages. I kind of enjoyed the first couple of chapters where it was just Michael and Patrick trying to survive and doing it very well and in a smart way. When things started going south I started to lose the feeling that anything would be resolved. At all.

I mean if that was on purpose, kudos to you T. Michael Martin. If that was the case, then I very much enjoyed the novel and give it a 4.

The book also felt really slow moving despite so much happening. Which is strange because usually in those moments, you think about certain things that could’ve been taken out, but I didn’t. I felt that everything needed to be there and that they were important to us as an audience to understand Michael and Patrick, but for some reason the book moved way to slow for me.

Now let’s kind of move onto the parts that I did like.

Zombie apocalypse. Easy.

The characters were really fleshed out. All except maybe Hank, but meh. I really cared for Michael and Patrick’s well being so I wanted them to have a “Good End” and live and survive whatever else the apocalypse has to give them. I cared about some of the other characters too and I immediately felt the “I want these people to live and these people to die” syndrome. I didn’t feel like any of the characters were just static and there for x, y, and z. I felt like they were their own person.

The world building was pretty good. I mean it’s the zombie apocalypse in West Virginia, but still I felt that I got a good handle on the environment.

A lot of the back story and the background of Michael and Patrick were really fleshed out. I felt like slowly we were getting more and more of the brothers and their relationship throughout the novel. It was a really good way of making me want to care for the brothers and want them to find a happy ending. There was a lot of character building for both Michael and Patrick and that’s what I really love at the end of a good novel.

All in all, I really recommend this novel to zombie lovers and apocalypse lovers both. I think this is a good story that shows real reactions in response to such a travesty and it has a pretty damn good story. It’s just a lot of small technical stuff that irritated me, but story wise I think it’s a good read.

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