Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The God Game, by Danny Tobey {ends 1/28}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

“Hey!” Kenny shouted. “You promised.”

But before he could complain further, a creaking noise announced the opening of the fire gate, virtual smoke gushing out. They gathered around the furnace, which glowed a reddish orange, and the flames spoke to them.

What they whispered was a code, a series of instructions, commands and prompts and incantations basically – for at the end of the day, what was the difference between a hack and a spell? Both were a precise flow of words in a secret language known only to the initiated, to manipulate a reality that was inviolate only to those content to accept it as such. The Game gave them exactly what Hephaestus had promised: a tool that they could use in second period, when Kurt was in sight, to bring an invisible revenge down on him.

Just hearing the words and knowing what was to come, the Vindicators felt powerful, enriched.

Charlie’s phone buzzed.

There was a new text from God. But this time it was only for him.

While it’s not the first time I’ve read a book with this concept, I’m still so fascinated by good and bad deeds directed by an unseen person in charge.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The God Game, by Danny Tobey {ends 1/28}
They call themselves the Vindicators. Targeted by bullies and pressured by parents, these geeks and gamers rule the computer lab at Turner High School. Wealthy bad boy Peter makes and breaks rules. Vanhi is a punk bassist at odds with her heritage. Kenny's creativity is stifled by a religious home life. Insecure and temperamental, Alex is an outcast among the outcasts. And Charlie, the leader they all depend on, is reeling from the death of his mother, consumed with reckless fury.

They each receive an invitation to play The God Game. Created by dark-web coders and maintained by underground hackers, the video game is controlled by a mysterious artificial intelligence that believes it is God. Obey the almighty A.I. and be rewarded. Defiance is punished. Through their phone screens and high-tech glasses, Charlie and his friends see and interact with a fantasy world superimposed over reality. The quests they undertake on behalf of "God" seem harmless at first, but soon the tasks have them questioning and sacrificing their own morality.

High school tormentors get their comeuppance. Parents and teachers are exposed as hypocrites. And the Vindicators' behavior becomes more selfish and self-destructive as they compete against one another for prizes each believes will rescue them from their adolescent existence. But everything they do is being recorded. Hooded and masked thugs are stalking and attacking them. "God" threatens to expose their secrets if they attempt to quit the game. And losing the game means losing their lives.

You don't play the Game. The Game plays you....

Who wouldn’t like high school to be easier? Wouldn’t having all your dreams come true as a teenager be a great enticement just to play a game? Oh, but if you die in the game, you die in real life. This book was definitely a page-turner, as I wanted to know what was going to happen next!

The kids’ choices were believable, based on their options, and knowing about their backgrounds and motivations. One kid will do anything to avoid his father’s wrath. One will do anything for her family’s approval. And one of them will do anything, just to see what will happen next.

I really liked the references to actual philosophical theories as justifications for some of the AI’s scenarios. For instance, they discussed Pascal’s Wager when deciding whether to play the Game or not. Pascal’s Wager is a seventeenth-century philosophy argument that states believing in God is safe whether you’re right or wrong, but doubting the existence of God could be eternally damning (literally) if you’re wrong. This attitude influences whether or not the kids think they should play the God Game.

Overall, the theory of the Game and how it could change the kids’ lives was very interesting. Some of the coding and technology talk was way over my head, but I don’t feel that detracted from my enjoyment of the story. I’d give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. Also worth noting that while the book is about teenagers, it’s definitely for adult readers.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley can be found at SweetlyBSquared.com.


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The God Game!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Tuesday, January 28th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be emailed the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

The God Game, by Danny Tobey


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