Hey all, Dani here.
Today’s review is for a book that I wanted to read because the concept was giving me some Ready Player One vibes and I seriously loved RPO. I’m hoping to dive into a re-read sometime before 2017 is over…and then maybe yet another reread in preparation for the movie release. Anyway, I picked up this particular book last year with the intention of reading it shortly after I got it. Instead it fell into that stack of forgetting in the TBR zone…at least until the sequel popped up on NetGalley and I decided to request it. Of course getting approved meant that I now was obliged to read both books. So here we go, and I’ll hopefully have a review for Genius: the Con next week.
By the way, this picture does not do the cover justice. It is shiny and there is a beauty in the simple design. Also, there is artwork and schematics and other creative elements throughout the book so if you enjoy sort of mixed media stories, this is something you’ll probably want to check out. Oh, and the front of the naked hardcover has the brain stamped into the cover, which is also a cool design element.
Trust no one. Every camera is an eye. Every microphone an ear. Find me and we can stop him together.
The Game: Get ready for Zero Hour as 200 geniuses from around the world go head to head in a competition hand-devised by India’s youngest CEO and visionary.
Rex– One of the best programmers/hackers in the world, this 16-year-old Mexican-American is determined to find his missing brother.
Tunde– This 14-year-old self-taught engineering genius has drawn the attention of a ruthless military warlord by single-handedly bringing electricity and internet to his small Nigerian village.
Painted Wolf– One of China’s most respected activist bloggers, this mysterious 16-year-old is being pulled into the spotlight by her father’s new deal with a corrupt Chinese official.
The Stakes: Are higher than you can imagine. Like life and death. Welcome to the revolution. And get ready to run.
Rating: 3.5 stars…maybe 4…I’m still debating honestly
I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t love it either. The premise was intriguing and there were parts that were fairly interesting, but a lot of the time I felt like I was forcing myself to keep reading.
I will say that I thought Rex, Tunde, and Painted Wolf all had unique voices, so that was a definite plus. Though there were times that the phrasing in Tunde’s sections were quite confusing to me. I understand adding in certain words or alternate/phonetic spellings so the character sounds more ethnic and such, but it has to be done well for that to work. Otherwise it is just confusing and a bit distracting.
Also, sometimes the diagrams and illustrations and photograph/screenshots were helpful and added to the reading experience, but sometimes I felt like they were there so it wouldn’t be necessary to describe something in the text itself, which seemed a bit lazy to me.
I did like the friendship between the three main characters and how they supported each other. That was cool.
The concept of The Game was cool as well, though again naming the competition “the Game” has a certain laziness and lack of creativity to it. Now, I’m not saying that I’m always a uniquely creative person, but I have seen a number of books, TV shows, web series, etc where you have items or events or whatever with unoriginal names: The Game, The Corporation, etc. And I wanted to know more about this competition too. With RPO there are plenty of details about the Easter Egg hunt and the world of the OASIS, which helps to immerse the reader into the situation. With this book I always felt like I was on the outside looking in, trying to figure things out.
So this was good, but I needed more from it to really like it. I’m hoping the sequel shows some growth in character and story development and in the writing itself. The skeleton here is decent; now it just needs more guts and muscles and such.