5 STARS. 5 STARS. 5 SHINING GLORIOUS STARS.
I was pulled into the Game.
Where I'm sent on missions to fight invading aliens.
But if I die, I die in real life too.
The Committee is the one who sends us.
The ones who pit us against the Drau.
But I'm starting to doubt their intentions.
There are too many secrets.
I want answers.
And I'm going to get them.
My name is Miki Jones.
Guys, today I am the amazing, super awesome and headstrong Miki Jones!
Author: Eve Silver (she is AMAZING)
Series: The Game Series
Book Status: Book 2
Setting: Rochester, New York (present day)
Genre: YA paranormal/sci-fi (aliens, different realiltes)
POV: first person, told by Miki
Favorite part: There is no "favorite" part for me. THE ENTIRE THING WAS AMAZING. From Miki yelling out Jackson's name when she's injured, to her confronting the Committee for both her life and Jackson's, to Jackson's reaction to seeing Miki safe, and did I mention JACKSON TATE?
*insert internal fangirl screaming*
Rating: 5 STARS
How I love this book. How I love Eve Silver. That being said, this probably won't be the first or last time I'm going to be posting about this book, or this series, for that matter. Because no matter how hard I try, I keep coming back to this book over and over again. Mainly because Jackson Tate is the love of my life.
*I will try to keep the spoilers at a minimum, but I make no guarantees because the chances of me getting overexcited are quite high*
Where to start? Miki is pure awesome. She the butt-kicking heroine here, who takes charge and does everything she can for her team. But what I love is the fact that she faces a whole bunch internal conflicts. All the fears and worries she has? It's all very realistic. Her anxiety over everything isn't over-done, because when you think about it, who wouldn't be freaking out? But even though she's freaking out on the inside, she remains cool and collected on the outside.
One of the great things in this book is that we get to see her actually be the team leader. In the last book, yes, she was leader, but she was battling shock and a whole bunch of emotional turmoil, meaning she led only by imitating Jackson. And given that it was the last mission of the book/climax, there wasn't much time to be able to fully develop her leadership skills. This time, she's the leader with her mind in a more stable place, and is able to lead them in her own way. We get to see the natural differences in leadership between her and Jackson. To be honest, though, given the choice, I'm not sure which one (Miki or Jackson) I would choose to be my team leader. They're both good in their own ways, with Miki being more empathetic with the whole we-stick-together-and-make-it-out-together thing and Jackson secretly watching out for everyone while stressing that it's every man for himself.
Jackson. Sigh. Have I mentioned how he's the love of my life? Yes? Well, I'm mentioning it again. All his emotions, all that inner turmoil, I just love it. The part where he admits that yes, he tried to leave the game by offering up Miki as his replacement? And then how it instead backfired on him when he fell in love with her? Oh my god, I died. And then I died again when I found out that Committee accepted Jackson's trade, but before they could let him walk free, he would have to lose all his memories of the Game and of Miki--something that Jackson refused to do. Can I get an applause for his devotion to her right here? So he instead decides to stay, but he tries to barter for Miki's freedom. Yes, she would lose her memories of him (the sacrifice Jackson was ready to make? It. Broke. My. Heart.), but she would be able to go free and live normally, as if Jackson had never condemned her to the Game. And of course, this is when we factor in Miki's headstrong personality, who refuses to leave without Jackson, and you put them all together AND IT'S A BEAUTIFUL STORY AND I'M DYING.
What I really loved in this book was how it explored both the mental aspects of the characters, and of how they were able to continue on with their day-to-day lives out of the Game. There's one part where Miki expresses her concern and paranoia of having not been pulled into the Game for a few weeks, which makes her anxious with an impending sense of doom. But it shows how you can't let those things--however dangerous and terrible they are--control your life. You have to be able to live in the moment, whether it's in the real world or whether you're in the Game, fighting for your life. And it applies to life in general too: being able to live in the moment, having a different mindset and focus when you're in different places, no matter how hard it might be. To be able to "steer the nightmare", as Jackson so eloquently puts it. (Jackson. *sigh* Did I mention that he drove Miki to buy cupcakes? That's probably my favorite scene, with the cupcakes. Especially when he holds them hostage.)
Sometimes, there really are things in life that are out of your control. Miki is a control-freak, but given the lack of control she has of the Game over her life, she has to make do with being able to control what she can, not everything. And I think that's an important message: do what you know you can deal with, but don't try to be able to control everything. Generally, doing that doesn't end up in a pretty place.
Let's talk about the Game now. The whole reach-1000-points-and-you-get-to-go-free? It's still not clear whether it's rumor or not for regular players, but we know that it's not true for those like Jackson and Miki, who have a specific gene too precious for the Committee to let them go, ever. There's no way out for them, but for the others, well, that's still to be debated. We shall see...
Push also introduced more types of characters participating in the Game, and the different reactions and mindsets players can have. We got to get a better understanding of what it means to be a griefer, which was first introduced in Rush (someone who hangs back and lets others weaken the enemy before swooping in unexpectedly and taking the killing shot, ultimately stealing other people's points), and what it means to be unable to juggle both lives in the real world and the Game. Mainly through Kendra, we really got to explore the desperation that some players succumb to, of wanting to make it out of the Game without dying in the process. Kendra begins to crack under the constant pressure of fighting such that it all becomes a matter of making it to 1000 points and walking free. And Lien is simply there to try to help her reach 1000 points to get out, because she worries over Kendra. Which includes helping her steal points from others, a big no-no for the team, because it could very well cost someone their life. But I get the feeling that Kendra and Lien don't know that if Kendra makes it out, she's going to lose all her memories of Lien...
The thing with the Game is that it can pull you in anytime, completely unexpectedly without warning. There's one part where Lien comments on how five minutes ago, she was in the shower, and when she gets pulled in, she's wearing flip-flops. If you ask me, flip-flops are not ideal for hunting the Drau in, given the fact that you can't really run fast in them. I don't know about you guys, but if I knew that there was a chance that I could be pulled into the Game at any time, I would probably start wearing clothes that I could run and fight everyday. Being pulled wearing flip-flops is already unfathomable for me. Imagine if you were in formal clothes...for the girls, running in a dress and heels? Just no. For guys, well, I guess it's not as bad, but running and fighting in dress shirts and pants? A little uncomfortable. I would definitely strategize my clothes accordingly, with no tight or restrictive clothing. And if that wasn't an option, I'd probably be in constant paranoia that I might get pulled into the Game wearing ill-fitted clothes.
Prime example would be when they got pulled in Halloween night. Everyone's costumes were relatively modest and suitable for running in. But can you imagine if one of them had been dressed up in something uncomfortable? Maybe Kendra wearing a nurse outfit or Luka wrapped head to toe in toilet paper as a mummy? There would have had to be serious alterations to their clothes before they went on the mission if they spawned in the lobby like that.
I'm really curious about the ending. I'm hoping that there's a happily-ever-after ending, that they defeat the Drau or the Committee or whoever the real bad guy is here. That they all go free, alive and well, back into their real lives. But...if that's the case, what happens after? Do Tyrone, Miki, Luka, and Jackson ever get back together in the real world to hang out? Technically, it's allowed now. They're no longer team members, meaning they don't see each other on regular life-or-death basis anymore. But the bond that they formed is still pretty strong, literally fighting together and trusting each other with their lives. You can't just cut people like that out of your life. You'd owe them gratitude at least, as the war is over and they were such a large part of making sure you made it through. And if they all do make it out of the Game (please please please! At least Jackson, Miki, Luka, and Tyrone!), they're allowed to seek each other out, right? I don't know about you guys, but I probably would seek them out at least once to thank them. Thank them for having your back and saving you multiple times. And rejoice that you no longer need to only see them in grim situations where everyone is fighting for their lives, but in no-danger zones. They're no longer people you need to worry about covering or trusting them to cover you; instead, they're respected peers, who you have a distinct pact with formed through unexplainable dire situations.
But if everyone dies...OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD.
(I'm probably going to be looking back at this post a few months from now, after Crash comes out and I know how it ends, and thinking, "wow, I was an idiot." But as of right now, these are my agonizing thoughts...)
Well, this ended up being quite a long post. But hey, I love this book, and I had a lot to say. Correction: I still have a lot to say, but I think this is long enough for everyone for now. ;)
Stay tuned for more obsession over The Game Series! And circle June 9th 2015 on your calendars when Crash, the epic conclusion to Eve Silver's series, comes out!
And remember. JACKSON TATE IS MINE.