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Publisher's Summary

What if life as we know it was just a game?

What if instead of traditional schools, children learned by participating in a virtual reality simulation, one that allowed them to experience "life" from birth to death - multiple times?

What if one player, on his final play, could change the world forever?

©2015 Terry Schott (P)2016 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    23
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    17

Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A good concept mired by lazy writing.

Any additional comments?


The concept of The Game is a somewhat classic and attractive concept to sci-fi fans; that of a completely immersive VR world akin to that found in The Matrix. It plays with interesting ideas like 'what if life is just a computer simulation', and 'how might society change in response to the development of highly advanced VR'.

In general, the writing style and character development are fairly solid, and the performance is great. But the world-building itself, the most interesting prospect of the book, is executed terribly, and between the lines can be found an anti-atheistic message.

I get the distinct impression that this book was written for teens. Not in that the content itself is targeted towards teens, but rather, that there is an assumption of undeveloped intelligence and a lack of worldly knowledge that the author has used to justify lazy world building.

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To give a few examples (very mild spoilers):

1) We are told that viewing players in the game has replaced all other forms of entertainment (TV, movies, books, video games, etc). The only explanation given is that watching important, extraordinary, or popular people live out their day-to-day lives is obviously better entertainment, which it obviously is not.

2) We are told that time passes at a rate of 1 virtual year per 1 real day. We are also told that it is impossible to record the game. No explanation is given as to why recording is impossible (or how viewings are done), and no explanation as to how viewing is possible, especially given the differing rates of time, and no ability to record (and thus no playing back recorded video at a slower speed).

3) Lastly, we are told, in several pieces, that society has changed to completely revolve around the game. This includes the economy, education, entertainment, and the extreme classism that has since developed. Nearly no details are offered to explain how this came to be, or how society currently functions. There is, in essence, nearly zero actual word-building.

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The book also seems to promote an approach to life that abandons healthy scepticism and rational inquiry. While the protagonists seek out and absorb all that alternative medicine and religious studies have to offer, there's a telling absence of interest in science and evidence-based medicine. There also seems to be the clear message that faith and prayer are positive and effective forces, and that the absence of religion would ruin society.

I've read and enjoyed many fictional books with religion, magic, spirituality, or angels and demons as a central theme, the problem here is the execution; its inclusion seems to be for the purpose of delivering a message, rather than serving the story. I might not have bothered with this point if I weren't convinced that the book is targeted at a younger audience.

In closing, this book was a huge disappointment for me, and I certainly won't be purchasing its sequels. Decerning readers of fantasy and sci-fi should consider looking elsewhere.

29 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

pulls at the questions at the back of my mind

Not by the synopsis alone. I preordered The Game. From an unknown to me author. With the backing of one of my go-to narrators and a publisher, that does a really good job of picking up extraordinary titles. The summary pulls at the questions at the back of my mind. Why are we here? How did we get here? What is the point of life? Well, what if the point of life was to do your best at it. All the while scoring points in the game called life. Wouldn’t that be something? That is exactly where Zach, the protagonist, finds himself. Albeit with a twist.

Tygon is a world very similar to Earth. Pretty much everything is very similar, technology, corporations, and the media rule. However, the one major difference is this. At a very young age, every child is plugged into “The Game”. Think of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, similar to World of Warcraft. The world where the game takes place is a different planet called Earth. Everyone there is playing the game. Then everyone’s game life is available for the public to watch. If you get more fans and followers, when you come out of The Game you are rewarded with fame and fortune. But only if you have a fan base and can place in the ranking of all of the other players.

The Game follows one such player, Zach, through his “waking up” from a game and starting another instance. We get to follow his game life, from birth to his 40th birthday. Because in the game 1 day on Tygon is 1 year on Earth. This happens pretty quickly. I do not want to give too much away here, so let me say this. What if while in The Game you found a book that you wrote in your last game, and have no memory of writing, explaining that life is just a game. Along with that, what if you started to tell people this and they believed you?

Schott’s idea here is so perfectly epic. Yet so simple as well. Written in a way that makes sense to me. I was engrossed from beginning to end. Not wanting to stop listening for anything. I had to know what happened next.

WARING: There is a cliffhanger ending. Followed with a brief sample of the next book in the series that cannot be published soon enough.

Luke Daniels delivered this performance just as soundly as most of the rest that I have heard. Using his “trademarked” character voices. That all seem to always fit the story perfectly. For younger to older males. Female voices that are more believable than most speak. Full of strategic pauses and other unspoken traits of a truly skilled narrator. Going to file this under “Classic Daniels”.

Audiobook was purchased for review by ABR.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

31 of 45 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Glenn
  • Newport News Va.
  • 12-28-16

Not impressed

I felt like the author was attempting to enlighten me about living as opposed to entertaining me with a story of fiction.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Fun-Loving Gamer Novel — Minus the Fun

Another entry in the virtual reality sub-genre of science fiction. The twist here is that the players in The Game don’t remember their real-life existence and they live out entire virtual life spans learning skills and acquiring credits for upgrades on future game play. Some of the ideas are intriguing to think about but at the end I did not feel compelled to continue with the series – not immediately anyway. This novel takes itself very seriously and such an approach must then deliver with profound themes and the resulting advice on better living. But this book is a fun-loving gamer oriented story. I could love it if it had a bit more fun in the mix. Does the sequel offer more fun?

The fantastic Luke Daniels delivers just as I have come to expect. His efforts would have been much more appreciated if he had some elements of humor to work with. And that is the primary factor in my dissatisfaction with The Game. I regret that this sounds a bit harsh but after experiencing the Frontlines series narrated by Luke Daniels I got used to Daniel’s sarcasm. I missed that here.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great fun story

To start, I got this book because of Luke Daniels. Second the synopsis reminded me of Ready player one, which is one of my Favorite books. Truth be told though this book stands on its own two feet. The world building and character building is superb. I couldn't stop listening. The only thing that got me down was the cliff hanger. I look forward to more stories from the world of E.A.R.T.H and true.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing no doubt, much potential

Luke did great as usual. Eager for next installment and hope the story continues its upward arc. Personally I would like more sound effects and music in books, not much, but some and I may be in the Minority. True and Dani and the rest of the cast piqued my interest. Recommended. Please continue to explore. Question. How does Jesus play into this game world? My brain tries to tie in the inception of this since it was a replacement for childhood. Maybe someone or next books will explain. Well done overall. No dull or lull.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Refreshing Subject

I thoroughly enjoyed Book 1, even though this is not my usual genre. I highly recommend it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The truth behind fiction.

Love, love, love it! Amazing and so true! I love the affirmations!!! truth behind fiction!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting premise, but lots of holes in the plot

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I enjoyed this overall, but glad I didn't pay for it. Was a gift. The premise is interesting but the plot has a lot of holes. SciFi and Fantasy can get away with some, but having to suspend belief as much as I did with this makes it frustrating. I won't be paying for book II. It is too expensive to warrant the purchase.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Nice ending I thought. Unexpected. Made me want to buy the next book, but not for the $30 price tag. I'll pass.

What does Luke Daniels bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Not much really.

Could you see The Game being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Like watching The Matrix the first time; pivotal

Would you consider the audio edition of The Game to be better than the print version?

Yes. The best narrator I've ever heard turns great stories into masterpieces.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Game?

When I became convinced this was quite possibly real.

What about Luke Daniels’s performance did you like?

Luke brings the characters to life with an amazing array of dialects and authentic emotion. He does a full cast all by himself.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me shiver; alot.

Any additional comments?

Just look at the ratings. You can't go wrong on this purchase. This is in my top two list.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Adam Wilson
  • Adam Wilson
  • 02-24-17

Didn't grip me until the end

Promise for a very good story but I dont think I'll go any further.
I can see why people like the book so much the writer is clearly very talented and the performance is fantastic,did keep me entertained.
As said in the headline the end of the book was fantastic, I was expecting something with the few explanations before hand and character re-appearance but it did surprise me!
That said, it was a little drawn out. Over explanations on things, some characters I'm still a bit confused about but no doubt that gets ironed out later on. I just have a feeling the talking and explanations will draw out even more in the next few books so will keep it on the shelf.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 02-14-17

Was Expecting Morer

What other book might you compare The Game to, and why?

Ready Player One (but not as good).

Which character – as performed by Luke Daniels – was your favourite?

I though Luke Daniels did a marvellous job with all the characters but none of them really resonated with me which surprised me as I've been toying with the idea that this world is a simulation from well before The Matrix movies; I would have expected to connect in some way with a character thinking the same way.

Any additional comments?

This is an entertaining book with a good twist on the "gamer" type story. I do think the author could have done so much more with the idea by really tying it into the reader's life. I believe that a really great author could have struck a chord with his audience and left readers wondering if our reality might actually be a simulation as well but unfortunately this book never achieved that. It is worth a listen though and I will probably get the other books in the series to find out what happens to the characters.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-18-18

We don't just want the game, we need it.

Youth is wasted on the young, it is said, and in a world society becoming disfunctional, the Game was created to give full life experience to youngsters, to grow and make mistakes in safety and learn without it impacting on their futures. The hope for better behaved and fully functional future citizens did not quite work when the populations not inside the Game became hooked on watching those who were. And the finances became dependent on it
It is the 30th anniversary of the first one played, and this is to be special.

A total Immersion story with some clever, sometimes thought provoking ideas, following in particular two of the players, Zak and Danny, both experienced from past games and this will be their last. Both hope to win the vast fortune which waits for the person emerging as number one, enough to retire in comfort for all their lives as well as aquiring the adulation from their fans. Both enter, as do all the players, with no rememberence of any other world or life, born into it and growing older just as they would outside. For them it is real life, until death, when it finally comes, returns them back to their immersion chambers only weeks or months older than when they entered.

Read by Luke Daniels, his interpretation of the character's voices is distinct and individual, the narration flat, well articulated and expressive, all of which enhances the pleasure of the book. This is the first of what will be an enjoyable and interesting series beyond a simple LitRPG Fantasy series.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for OutOfThe80s
  • OutOfThe80s
  • 05-01-17

A passable written but excellently narrated story.

While this audio book has an excellent narrator that got me through it the story itself is rather lackluster with what felt like an agenda to push regarding 'faith', an example is the characters on more than one occasion push forward the miracles of eastern medicine and philosophy while at the same time dismissing the more scientific methods. The two main characters also seem far too perfect and while that can be explained as a result of events early on it just stops them being very relatable.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Harry S
  • Harry S
  • 04-30-17

An elective version of The Matrix

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The ending would've left me completely flat had it not been for the inclusion of the first chapter of the second book at the end. The fact that they did so appears to support my conclusion!

Have you listened to any of Luke Daniels’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Luke Daniels is probably one of my favourite narrators, and it was his narration over a number of books that brought me to The Game and, to be honest, kept me listening.

Could you see The Game being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Unfortunately, yes, I can see this as a movie.

Any additional comments?

Another Matrix-style "we're in a computer simulation" tome, but with some novel approaches to a tired genre that support it well. Perhaps my three-star rating is a little harsh, but I've listened to so many (in my opinion) better books recently on my commute that this just felt somewhat lacklustre. The core ideas have been done better in other books, but there were sufficient twists to keep me engaged and actually the character development was superb, but the story just felt predictable and wanting. Will I listen to the rest of the series? Maybe - there are certainly enough of them! If they will improve or be more to my tastes, I don't know. Meh.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for jack
  • jack
  • 02-05-17

good read obviously written for parts

The narration was excellent, Paul seems to be one of the best available. The story is enjoyable. Characters aren't overwhelming which is hard to achieve in this style of book. My only gripe is that the book is relatively short and clearly written into multiple short parts.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for kanundra
  • kanundra
  • 01-27-17

Very interesting

I can't quite remember who or what made me pick this up. But I'm glad that I did.

From an audio point of view this was an entertaining listen, there were some really cool ideas that melded in with our own world. The natural world that the species live on, we don't actually know if they're human or not, we just presume that they are is called Tygon. Their whole civilisation is built around 'the game' and they now live their lives entertained, and enjoying the whole process. Each person can follow a specific avatar and then those avatars make more money depending on followers.

I think the story line just resonates with so many religious aspects that it kinda makes you look around and go... 'oh, what if I 'm actually in a game' haha

But of course, we're not. They are though and their journey really is full of ups and downs.

The two MC's Danielle and True inside the game are interesting and their lives really do just seem to entwine without the 'luck of spending credits' and we really connect with them and their lives, from the first time they meet at 8 till much later in life.

The interconnecting narrative from the outside world is also really great. The whole complex process of the game is understood some more as the story develops, but there are some good unanswered questions, maybe because it's a series, that they're answered in later books. I'm interested to find out the ins and outs of why the game was really considered for development and use, and other than that, what it really does to prepare people for life on the outside?

Nice job and I've found someone else to follow. I will have to come back for book 2 and 3 though, I've some more to listen to first. but I'll defo pick them up. :)

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jakk
  • Jakk
  • 12-16-16

A hook that drags you into a new world

The books are so well written and with Luke Daniels performance it adds another dimension to this already exceptional series.

I can't wait to be taken through this series again
10/10

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mattias Gyllenvarg
  • Mattias Gyllenvarg
  • 01-30-17

Scifi at its best.

The story unfolds in a smooth flow that keeps you guessing at every twist. It never goes over the top and never disappoints.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for N. Lyons
  • N. Lyons
  • 02-05-17

its ok

I'm going to go through the series which started ok but it has nothing on 'Ready Player One'

If you like Ready Player One, TRY THIS.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful