Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson
SheltonSeries: Endgame #1
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Published: October 7th 2014 by HarperTeen
Pages: 477, Hardcover
Twelve thousand years ago, they came.
They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire and created humanity, giving 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, and assassination. Together the players are everything: strong, kind, ruthless, loyal, smart, stupid, ugly, lustful, mean, fickle, beautiful, calculating, lazy, exuberant, and 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.
This book was a pleasant surprise after my previous read. I admit that I was a bit skeptical before reading it, but all my fears were laid to rest as I became engrossed in the story.
The story was told from twelve different points of view which must have been hard to write. Each character had a unique voice and their own individual quirks. It was really fun getting inside the heads of people from different cultures around the world. Each person brought something different to the table based on their experiences.
The characters had all known about Endgame since they were born and have basically been training for it their whole lives, being forced to lead double lives while making sure they are prepared at all times. Every character has their niche and use it to their advantage, which was interesting to see. There are the savages, the skeptical, and the silent killers.
I loved the different settings in this novel. The author takes us around the world to some of the most remote and exotic places. You can tell that they really did their research, even though it was presented in annoying ways at times. While I enjoyed reading about these remote places, I felt that it was often presented info-dump style, and when I’m reading, I also don’t need to know that the characters are exactly 487.3843 meters from their location, because it can be distracting at times.
I’m not entirely sure if the genre of this book can be classified as Dystopia, because only a select group know what is actually going on, but I suspect that book two would be much more Dystopic.
The book was fast-paced and action-packed; everything was intense, and I found myself rooting for different characters in different scenes. I have to say that the ending really surprised me. There were some characters I was expecting to move on to book two that just… died. I admire that the author isn’t afraid to kill off a character for the sake of the story. Everyone has something to hide, and it was just so much fun trying to unravel the mystery (and, you know, figure out the puzzle).
The writing might annoy a lot of people, and to be honest, it annoyed me at first, but I just got used to it and enjoyed the story for what it was. There are a lot of weird pictures, symbols, and sayings placed randomly throughout the book, which might get kind of confusing. And for some reason, they cited all their facts and put links in the back of the book in case we were interested in checking them out. (But to be fair, I did learn some interesting things that school would never have taught me).
While I found the writing to be quite annoying at times, the story was action-packed, intense, and above all, FUN. A lot of people compared this to the Hunger Games, but I don’t think it’s anything like that at all; it’s its own story. All the characters are well-developed and interesting; we’re taken around the world to exotic places, and we get to explore different cultures. Don’t go into this expecting something deep and mystical, but instead keep an open mind as you explore “ancient” secrets.
Guest review contributed by Clockwork Desires. With books, poetry, and writing a ready topic, this blog is host to a variety of topics. Check out its book review page for a list of titles.