Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Game runner by B.R. Collins

Rick is one of the lucky few in Undone, he lives in the sheltered environment of Crater, the biggest gameing company in Ingland.  It is a sheltered life where he is protected from the dangerous streets of Undone where gangs of feral children roam, and where the acid rain will poison and kill you if you spend time outside without the safety of a rain hood.  All day long he spends time in the tank running the Maze, the only game that really counts, the one that everyone is Undone would play if they had the chance - maybe even the whole world would play if they had the chance.  The world seems perfect and safe, until the night Daed asks him to enter the Maze and stop a player from reaching the end - that one request starts a spiral of terrifying events as Rick comes to realise that his world is not perfect, or safe, or secure.  Rick is on a race against time to figure out what is really happening, and to try and find a way to survive.

Dystopian novels for teenagers are a growing sensation, and they all seem to be looking for that little difference that will make their vision of the future stand out.  In many ways Game runner is a fresh voice in this genre, a different take on what is becoming a predictable formula.  Unlike some of the other dystopian novels this is a relatively quick read, building the vision quickly and then dragging you through the story at breakneck speed without any of the weighty prose or ensnaring plots that make some dystopian novels sooo long and complicated.  The detail is there, but it unfolds as part of the story rather than being a narrative on the sidelines that seems like a voice explaining the plot of the movie because you can't figure out what is happening on screen.  The one thing that niggles a little is that it seems a little too close to the Hunger games trilogy by Suzanne Collins - but that is possibly because of the shared Collins surname and the fact that they are both set in the future and that they both involve running through dangerous environments (although in this case a virtual environment).

Overall this was a very satisfying read, being nothing more or less than was promised.  There is the odd plot twist that makes you think huh, and the ending is not what you might expect.  While the target market appears to be teenage boys (computer games, a mystery, a shark in the swimming pool - need I say more) there is also plenty here for anyone who likes a really engrossing read that isn't going to take days to finish.  Hopefully Collins writes more of this time because she has a punchy writing style and has a knack for keping the story moving at a decent pace.

If you like this book then try:
  • Hunger games by Suzanne Collins
  • Because we were the travellers by Jack Lasenby
  • Enclave by Ann Aguire
  • Serpents of Arakesh by V.M. Jones
  • The walls have eyes by Clare B. Dunkle

Reviewed by Brilla

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