Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date of publication: January 7th, 2020
Genre: General Fiction
You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!
With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.
But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?
And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?
As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.
God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.
The blue light of the computer screen was flickering on Charlie’s and Peter’s faces, making them look like astronauts lit by the cosmos.The God Game by Danny Toby
I know I start 99.9% of my reviews off like this, but the blurb caught my attention. I have read plenty of books that use gaming a part of their main plotline. I have also read plenty of books where a game is using people for its agenda. So, what was different about this blurb that caught my eye? It was the shiver of suspense that I got from reading it. I needed to know what the GOD game was and how it was played. I will say that this book did deliver on that shiver of suspense, and it added a massive dollop of thriller also.
The God Game’s plotline is super fast. The whole book takes place within a couple of weeks of Charlie and Peter starting the game. It was so fast that I did end up having to reread some chapters because I missed things. Usually, I would be annoyed by that. But in this case, I wasn’t.
The plot for The God Game centers around Charlie and his group of coding friends, “The Vindicators.” Charlie and Peter discover The G.O.D. Game on the dark web. Charlie initially didn’t want to play the game, but Peter talked him into doing it. The G.O.D. Game is augmented reality and to play, The Vindicators got special glasses to play. The game was fun at first. Well, if you call breaking into the school and painting bloody pentagrams first. Since this was a morality based game, each good action was rewarded to Goldz or different prizes. But, each adverse action was rewarded with Blaxx. Get enough Blaxx and terrible things happen. The Vindicators soon find out that there is no getting out of The G.O.D. Game. But Charlie isn’t deterred. He and his friends (well minus Peter) are determined to quit the game. Even if that means someone dies.
There is so much that I want to say about this book. But doing so will end up with me giving away major spoilers. And it’s driving me nuts!! I will say that the author did a fantastic job of keeping me glued to my Kindle. I started reading this at breakfast (after dropping my six-year-old at school), and I was finished by 11 am. It was that good.
I would give The God Game an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would reread The God Game. I would recommend it to family and friends.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**