One Sunday morning after a long night of partying, Henrik “HP” Pettersson, a slacker with a lot of ego and very little impulse control, finds a cell phone of an unfamiliar make on a commuter train. Through insisting and slightly uncanny messages that refer to him by name, the phone invites him to play a game. HP accepts without hesitation.
The rules are that HP must complete tasks that range from childish pranks to criminal acts, as allocated by the mysterious Game Master. HP is the perfect contender—alienated from society, devoid of morals, and desperate for fame. His completion of the assignments are filmed and uploaded onto a protected server where viewers rate the Players’ performances.
The Game starts out innocently enough and then becomes increasingly risky, threatening the safety of someone close to HP. He is determined to become a superstar, but when the dark and tragic secrets of his family’s past are at stake, HP must make a choice. Will he suffer the humiliation of defeat, or will the need to win push him to the limit—no matter the cost?
What a cover.
Kudos to whoever designed that cover. The bottom should be designed like Apple though. But getting to the book…
I expected a lot from GAME. I have to say that it was definitely not exactly what I was expecting, but that turned out to be a good and a bad thing.
I didn’t like HP as much as I thought I would, but I liked the concept and the plotline of the story a lot more than I expected. When I first cracked open this story, I figured it would be somewhere the lines of a European NERVE by Jeanne Ryan mixed with MIRAI NIKKI, otherwise known as the anime and manga THE FUTURE DIARY. If you’ve read or watched NERVE and MIRAI NIKKI, you know what I’m getting at.
Except GAME isn’t quite as brutal as MIRAI NIKKI was… And in a way, I sort of wish it had erred on the side of MIRAI NIKKI and not so much NERVE. Yes, I do admit that MIRAI NIKKI had it’s faults. It was in no way, shape or form one of my favorite animes or mangas, but the concepts it brought to the table and the way it demonstrated the sheer brutality of the game was really interesting to me.
NERVE, however, came dangerously close to ending up like THE TESTING by Joelle Charbonneau, which–in the end–was basically just a bunch of kids killing each other in the most brutal way possible. I’ve got to say, there were a lot of ways that Suzanne Collins could’ve really messed up THE HUNGER GAMES, but she didn’t. THE TESTING is basically THE HUNGER GAMES gone wrong. And that shows you how I felt about NERVE.
Yes, both MIRAI NIKKI and NERVE had some really fascinating concepts. Yes, they both had their ups and downs. But while MIRAI NIKKI was brutal and kept you on the edge of your seat in a good way, I was just pondering the many different ways that the different characters in NERVE would go insane.
The best thrillers I’ve ever read were brutal, hard-hitting, fast-paced, gave me an adrenaline rush and were just freaky enough to keep me up at night. Many of the elements in a good thriller are the same good elements in a mystery. And while GAME had some great themes that really showed off these elements, I just felt like it was missing something somehow. Maybe it was HP. I didn’t really ever feel a connection to him. Maybe it was the brutality of it all. It was missing something in that, too. But overall, I can’t really pin down what it really is.
Don’t get me wrong, GAME was great. I loved how Anders de la Motte wrote this story and how he did the plotline, but the characters (and something else) just didn’t make it for me. 3.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 372
Series: HP Pettersson
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