So, it’s been a long time since I DNFed The Game by Terry Schott. In not wanting to re-familiarize myself with all the reasons I put this book down by picking it up again–gosh, that just sounds awful–I skimmed through a few reviews to remind myself what my reasons were. Then, I decided I’d write this as a quick and, admittedly, somewhat incomplete review for a book I couldn’t bring myself to finish. Cause the truth is that The Game is really somewhat like it’s cover; a nice idea with rather poor execution.
Imagine a video game in which you can live your entire life. Then imagine that some people doing this are only 5 years old, but living out an entire lifetime from the experiences of a teenager all the way through adulthood and then being elderly before waking up five years old again once you’ve “died.” Imagine that the world outside the game is awful and decimated. Add in some terrible writing, one-dimensional afterthought female characters who are really only there to support the main male, and an incomprehensible jumble of several science fiction films and books that the author likes and you’ve pretty much got The Game in a nutshell.
What I remember most about this book is that I couldn’t deal with how poorly written it was. And this fact had its hands in everything. It wasn’t just that the writing was bad, but the character development was bad. The character development wasn’t the only thing that was awful, the world building was awful. And the truth is that I could go on and on here. I won’t. The premise wasn’t bad, in fact there have been many occasions where I’ve wanted to read more books like this. But somewhere along the way, the author simply couldn’t write the story that would work.
Ultimately, I feel like I could have read this book and enjoyed it if I was seven or younger. And that’s a big part of my problem. I was powering through 2-3 Nancy Drew novels a week when I was that young. For me to have to be a kid with little knowledge of better books to enjoy this made it incredibly hard for me to appreciate much about it at all. And sure, I think some people might like it. But the audience has to be sparing or young. And to have a five year old living out an entire lifetime in the span of enough time that they will still be five years old when they die in the game and return to their real life is a bit disturbing when you really sit down to think about it.