Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Endgame by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton

Published: October 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 477
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: 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.

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.

People of Earth.
Endgame has begun.

Endgame felt slightly controversial to me.  It brings up an indirect comparison to the beginnings of human existence and I felt like it touched a bit upon religion as well.  The premise of Endgame was interesting...with the lineage of the winner surviving and the rest of the world perishing. But, what is the purpose of creating all of the lines if only to have one survive? And what if someone has genes from several lines? Do they have a better chance of surviving?

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I found it hard at first to remember everyone's names.  They weren't common but as the story unfolded and their personalities began to form, it was easier to distinguish the good from the bad and see who the real strategists were.  It was interesting to see how the authors paired players up and how these players seemed to have skills that complemented each other.  It took away from the brutality of the game.  And showed that they weren't just players, but they were also human.

(Personally, I was rooting for Chiyoko, the Japanese mute.  I have heard that movie rights have been issued for this trilogy.  If it happens, I am picturing Devon Aoki to play this character.)

There is the aspect of an actual game woven throughout the story which I think HarperTeen took a gamble on.  By the number of views from the linked YouTube pages, I would have expected this spin to be more popular and it leads me to wonder if this could be a publicity nightmare.  We shall see if it gains momentum with Book #2 and 3.

I will probably end up purchasing the book because I want to try out the links and why not participate in winning $500,000 in gold? Who couldn't use a little spending cash to say, buy a HOUSE, a vehicle and have some money leftover for a trip to Europe?  Book #2 ups the ante to 1 million and Book #3 will push the prize value up to 1.5 million.  Who couldn't use 1.5 million dollars???

Book #2 is coming out October 6th. I may not be standing in line to purchase it when Chapters opens but perhaps a pre-order may be happening.
James Frey has his own controversy with a Million Little Pieces and a certainly lady by the name of Oprah Winfrey but he has done quite well with the YA market with - I Am Number Four.  I wonder if his next series will have anything to do with aliens as well?  Something to think about....


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