Somewhere around the 10% mark, I really lost interest in the story or the characters. The book is written quite passively, with major action/events completely glossed over. The ‘game’ that has taken over the world is a generic World of Warcraft clone (our protagonist has to defeat demon bosses blech) and we’re to believe that it rules the world – people have implants that they ‘earn’ through playing and advancing levels. As with nearly all YA, our hero is a speshul snowflake with a special need (bad heart) that the game can heal if only he can get high enough in the leveling….
The generic nature of the game and the characters made this maddeningly disenfranchising. As well, characters speak without much gamespeak (e.g., no one uses hardcore game terminology such as “I play a hitscan dps as my main” and instead we get bland dialogue from very well adjusted people. For a game the whole world plays obsessively, it is surprisingly absent from the evolution of this dystopian society.
By the 50% mark, I was skimming until the ending came and it was a lot of nonsense. I was hoping the story would go elsewhere but no, it instead went completely off the road and off a cliff at full speed. It’s a shame considering there was so much build up as to why the game existed at all. I might have been able to give a higher rating, even with the mundaneness of the language, if not for the silly ending. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.