by Shane Scollins
Release Date: 03/13/13
THE GAME is a mystery/thriller with an unpredictable paranormal twist. It has action and
adventure and plays up the everyday exploitation of reality television obsession gone wrong.
Buy The Game from Amazon
From the publisher—
No matter where you are, they’ll find you, and put you in “The GAME”.
Candice Laguna’s life is being systematically dismantled, by an unknown force, for a reason she can’t imagine. But she is about to become the unwilling star of a reality game competition the likes of which has never been broadcast to the world.
Just when things get darkest, a mysterious man snatches her from the grips of doom. He is a man who is not what he appears, and not who he says. He has no name and his motivation to help Candice is not what it seems to be.
Sigh. Where do I begin?
Well, first of all, I have no idea why this is labeled young adult. There is nothing young adult about it unless you count the dreaded insta-love aspect. All of the characters involved are old enough to be out in the working world, living on their own, with car loans, healthy bank accounts and adult jobs. No young adults here.
The Game starts out beautifully as a psychological thriller. This part is really good with the realistic tale of what can happen when a sociopath has the technological ability to manipulate a person’s life and it all seems very possible. I was completely engaged…but then it just sort of fizzles with the game only lasting one round before all the captive participants are rescued.
The introduction of the paranormal element could have been really interesting but, instead, it struck me as overly convoluted—I still have no clear idea of why this demented form of time travel is happening and, in the end, I felt as though I had read incomplete portions of two different books. Either plot on its own could be really strong if fleshed out more but they just don’t work together. I also feel the romance seems forced, almost as if the author thought he had to add it because the readers would expect it, but it just isn’t very believable.
In a departure from so many other books, the protagonists and secondary “good” characters are kind of thinly drawn while the villains are clear and consistent and I believed in their menace. Rena, in particular, sticks out in my mind because she’s so amoral and, in a way, more evil than either Angus or Caleb. I have a pretty good understanding of Candice and Vince and, to a lesser extent, Zee, but I do wish the author had given us much more time with Alexis.
On a positive (to me) note, the construction of this novel is very well done with only a handful of incorrect words which I believe occurred only because Spellcheck won’t catch the inappropriate spelling of a word that has multiple correct spellings. I notice these because I’m just geared that way but many readers won’t and the author is technically good at what he does (and perhaps has a strong editor).
In the final analysis, Shane Scollins is a talented writer with some good ideas but the combination of mystery thriller and paranormal falls short this time. The Game ends with a clear opening for a sequel and I’ll be interested to see where the story goes next—and I hope to see this author’s work on other platforms rather than just Amazon.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2013.
About the Author
Shane Scollins is a freelance writer and author. Originally from New Jersey, he now resides in Upstate New York with his wife, Heather. He has worked as an automotive service manager, a website developer and a computer network engineer. Primarily a science fiction and paranormal novelist, Shane enjoys taking readers on surprising and unexpected journeys that twist reality. He is currently working on his next book.
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