What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The End Games by T. Michael Martin

                                                        Good morning and welcome to another Scary Tales Thursday.
The End Games is not something I think I would have normally just picked up to read. I don't know, something about it just wasn't speaking to me. But I thought it would make a good fit for Halloween, especially since it all started on Halloween, so I added it to the schedule.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: It happened on Halloween. The world ended. And a dangerous Game brought it back to life. Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks. In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good. But The Game is changing. The Bellows are evolving. The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules. And the brothers will never be the same.
What I Liked: 1) First off I have to say that I love the cover art. The way the "Bellows" look to be hand-drawn pencil sketches, it's very cool. 2) Michael is very protective of Patrick, and does a lot of things to make the whole situation a little easier for him to handle. I thought that he was very sweet to do everything possible to keep his brother safe, calm, and try to keep his fears in check. Sometimes I'll read a YA character that I think isn't really...at the correct maturity level for the given age. Sometimes I think they act too young for their age, and sometimes I feel that they act a little older than you would expect to find. But Michael, at age 17, I think acts his age. He does a few things that I think...well, that probably wasn't the best decision. But then I think, ya know, that's probably the decision a 17 year old guy in his position would make. I love it when I can recognize things like that in books. I was definitely pleased with how that turned out. 3) I liked the concept of this being a game for Michael and Patrick. But then...when I learned some of the details, it became something that I didn't really like. It's a huge part of the story and I can't go into a lot of details without giving some stuff away that is pretty important. Suffice it to say that I was expecting this to be something completely different, and...it gave me something to think about. So points for that. 4) If you haven't figured this part out yet...then I'll apologize. But the Bellows are zombies. That's what they are. I think you get that when you read the summary though, so I don't think I'm giving anything away. These zombies (okay, they aren't Jonathan Maberry's zombies) are freaky. They actually kind of terrified me because they seemed to think. At least about how to stay out of sight and then do the most damage. But they weren't even the scariest part. To me, Jopek was the scariest part of this story. The way Jopek terrorized Michael psychologically was what made this book a candidate for Scary Tales Thursday. I don't want to give away the details, but this kind of psychological warfare was not only one of the scariest parts of the story, it was one of the most interesting.

What I Didn't Like: Does anyone know if this is a series? *looks it up* Okay, after scouring Mr. Martin's website and Goodreads, it looks like no, this is not a series. Since that's the case, I'll say that this was a very unsatisfying ending. I would not be saying that if this was a series. Part of it is because you are left with the impression that...arg. Okay, I'm not going to give it away, but it is just not a very satisfying ending. There are enough questions left unanswered that you may (I did, anyway) think there should be another book. Because the way it ends...it kind of happens twice in the book, where you think things might be safe. So too many open questions for me to feel that this makes a good ending for a one-shot. Also, there were some issues with editing, in my opinion. Some sentence structure and word usage that could have been cleaned up a little better.

Overall Thoughts: The End Games is a nice choice for a Halloween read. Of course I always think zombies fit in well with Halloween, and then there is this one person who is just...well, he's just scary. So the scare factor is up there. I was sad that I wasn't really sure what ended up happening with the characters in the end. I like endings to be mostly wrapped up with a bow when I finish a one-off book, or a series. I know some people really appreciated an open-ending, where it's basically up to the reader to imagine what happens. But for me personally, I prefer to know for sure what is happening. It was a pretty good book, especially for a debut, and I think that Mr. Martin will continue to learn and grow in his talent and we should expect more and even better things to come from him in the future.

My Rating: 3 candy corns

Don't forget to enter to win a copy of Gena Showalter's Through the Zombie Glass as a part of this week's Trick or Treat Tuesday!

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