The Ultimate Game by Sean Austin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Set for release in mid May, Echo’s Revenge is the first book in the YA adventure series Echo Hunt and an exciting introduction into what could potentially be some kind of cross-over book/gaming interactive genre. I say
could be, because I don’t know the intent of the publisher. However, from a
visit to the AAA Reality Games website there are a number of possible
directions with interactive media this book series could take (beyond the videos
and ‘reality’ of marketing).
The book is about two young brothers, both skilled gamers who get caught up in a reality game of Echo when the ultimate villain Echo-7 becomes part of real life. When the boys decide to flee their abusive home, they (like their fellow Echo gamers) are kidnapped, put to work underground and must find a way to defeat the monstrous Echo-7.
This is a well paced action rich book with plenty twists and surprises to keep the reader guessing at what was really going on. I thoroughly enjoyed the brother characters Reggie and Jeremy, particularly when they acted more like kids than heroes. Other characters also come across as fairly true to life. They forget or ignore important information, have individual personalities and don’t always make the best choices (like trapping their self in a room full of angry ‘shockers’ when attempting a stealthy escape). In those ways the characters come across as very realistic in a story where virtually nothing else is realistic. Of course the unreality isn’t a negative in my opinion. The book is fiction, great fun with plenty of unbelievable but thrilling action.
I think this book would appeal to the young adult reader who likes adventure with highly improbable scenarios and those who enjoy some online gaming. The story is gripping and makes me think the book might be a good choice for teen boys who don't read very much.
For me, the story did become a little thin and murky toward the end. Plus there was a bit of a confusing character name change. However, it was not enough to really detract from the overall tale.
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