Author: Eve Silver
Series: The Game #1
Genre: Teen Fantasy
Rating: 3/5 stars
The Overview: When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.
Based on the premise of Rush – involving live-action video game battles against invading aliens – I’m actually surprised I hadn’t picked it up before now. I love competitions (I know, you guys are sick of hearing that) and have always wondered what it would be like if the contents of video games were reality. Now, if I were to pick one to bring to life, it probably wouldn’t be a scary shoot-em-up alien game because I’m a wimp, but watching others live it was super intense and exciting!
The sequences that took place in the “game” were my favorite parts of the book. It set a cool atmosphere right from the start, and the way Silver presented it really drew me me into the story. I like the framework behind how everything worked and the rules within the game. It sounded like fun… you know, provided you weren’t actually living it. I enjoyed watching Miki, an ordinary girl, draw on strength she didn’t even know she had in order to adapt and survive. I will say, as much as I enjoyed the action sequences in Rush, I have a strong suspicion the bits found in Push will be even more fascinating. I won’t ruin the plot or anything, but suffice to say Silver set things up strongly for her sequel.
One thing I’m looking forward to in the sequel is going in with more information right up front – which is something that could’ve made Rush a lot stronger. I know you need an element of discovery to keep your readers engaged, but the back-and-forth Q&A in Rush seemed like it went on forever (when you get to the last couple chapters of the book and your main character is still trying to get basic answers – who, what, when, where, why – there might be a problem). I actually think including that information early on and cutting some of the lengthy Q&A sections would have added a great deal to the plot, and perhaps solved some of my dissatisfaction with the reality sequences…
While half of the novel takes place in the game, the rest takes place in reality where teenage drama and romance unfold. I have to say, the teenage drama part was okay, but I didn’t enjoy the love story as much as I thought I would. I hate to admit that I think the problem was an instalove – the sort with no compelling reason why the main character would be drawn to a guy… unless her only criteria was “he was hot.” After the fifth or sixth time she called him an asshole (and meant it), I just couldn’t wrap my brain around why she all of a sudden thought “Ooooooh, I really want to date this guy!”
Now, of course as with any teen drama, the boy she liked was not as awful as the façade he showed the world, blah blah blah, but that doesn’t change his behavior towards Miki, and I didn’t buy in to her sudden fawning, even knowing how these things usually go. Maybe if I was more convinced of their relationship at first, the reality scenes wouldn’t have drug out quite so much, but it is what it is. There is a silver lining though – even though I couldn’t understand the initial attraction, I can definitely see what’s holding the relationship together, so I might be able to enjoy the romance in the second book a lot better.
My rant about the insalove aside (which I swear I’ve never cared about before… I guess the blogosphere is rubbing off on me), the way it was done actually fit in well with the framework of the story, and I can see why Silver presented it that way. All of the story elements worked well together and it was nice to see how one thing built off of another.
Overall, despite a bit of dissatisfaction with the love story, the action scenes were enough to make Rush an enjoyable read. The author left things off in a way that makes me doubly excited to pick up the second book, so there’s hope any issue I had will disappear in the next installment. I’m sure I could find people to recommend this too – it had enough strong points and all the negatives were preferential. It’s definitely different… I think it would be perfect for someone who likes action in books, but doesn’t want all the depressing baggage that comes along with full-blown dystopians/post-apocalyptics.
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by Niki Hawkes
Like you i had a few issues with the whole love story part of Rush but i ended up giving it the same rating as you because despite that i was able to enjoy the action scenes and the overall plot. Sure, the ending didn’t completely work for me as i can see where it’s going in book two and i feel like that’s SO been done before i could handle it.
I am glad to hear I’m not alone – there are definitely some things she could have done differently to make it better. I do see what you mean about the second book involving predictability and all, but aside from that I think I’m actually going to enjoy it more… We will see I guess LOL. :-)