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.
This book wasn't at all what I was actually expecting and that's how it's meant to be. A revelation about the game comes pretty early in the book and it was a big shock but also really kept the book going. There were only a few points where I actually felt like I could put the book down and the end was absolutely gripping! I loved how the book ended - it's a happy ending, but it's not quite closed, so I still know that anything could happen to the characters from here on out.
The relationship between Michael and his little brother Patrick was the center point of this book, and it was extremely well done. I read that the book was inspired by Martin's real life younger brother Patrick which would probably explain why every aspect of that relationship seemed authentic. The amount of love that Michael had for Patrick was so touching - they both got each other through the apocalypse and learned things about themselves as they did it. The zombie apocalypse is only the setting for this book, what it actually is is the story of Michael's growth and it worked so well.
I honestly thought that all of the characters were well constructed, except that at times Michael seemed inconsistent - at the start he's an action man, able to keep Patrick safe so easily however when they reach the capital he becomes a wet blanket, and it isn't until near the end when he actually grows a pair again.
Overall, a thrilling and emotional story about a teenager's growth against an apocalyptic setting. Definitely something fresh and adequately creepy for all the zombie fans out there.
Overall Rating: B+
Book released 7th May 2013 by HarperCollins
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (Edelweiss)