Book Review: The End Games

It’s Saturday!  Time for a book review!  Saturday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.


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.

T. Michael Martin’s debut novel is a transcendent thriller filled with electrifying action, searing emotional insight, and unexpected romance.-Goodreads summary

Judge the Book by its Cover:

  • In real life, the book cover is much darker, which makes the images extremely hard to see.  However, I quite enjoy the use of the dark reds and blacks.  These colors play an integral role in the overall plot, and I would like to think  that the cover artist did it on purpose.  Besides the coloring, the images of the two brothers and bellows are okay-not necessarily my favorites, but they, again, relate to the plot.

Things that Made Me Happy:

  • The book immediately jumps into the plot.  Quickly, I was swept into the apocalyptic world overrun by zombies that Martin created.  While he did instantly begin the plot, Martin provided ample “flashbacks,” which provided answers that readers may have concerning the world-building.  These moments never distracted from the main plot but provided ample explanations for the brothers’ current situation.  Overall, I enjoy this plot format that Martin exercised.
  • This book truly had some fantastic character development; I especially enjoyed the character development of Michael and Holly.  Throughout a majority of the book, I became increasingly annoyed with Michael.  I found him to be close-minded and never willing to accept the help from others.  Likewise, I felt pity for Holly.  She was a quiet girl, who I so desperately wanted to speak her mind because I sensed her potential as a character.  Simultaneously, these characters both realized their faults and attempted to work with them in order to create some goodness in this world.  Rarely, do readers see this kind of genuine character development.  I really enjoyed it. 
  • There were some hilarious pop culture references in this book.  The world that Martin created was bleak and depressing, so the little details of the boys sleeping in Pokemon sleeping bags and pretending like the war against the zombies was a Call of Duty game were lighthearted and deduced a lot of the book’s melancholy.

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

  • Within the first 100 pages there is a totally unsuspecting plot twist that completely destroyed the book for me.  Prior to this destructive plot twist, I enjoyed Martin’s concept; I found it to be unique and possessing an abundance of potential, which made me want to keep reading.  However, this plot twist shattered the unprecedented elements of this story and turned it into a typical “apocalyptic zombie story.”  Additionally, I felt that adding this twist was a last minute decision made my Martin and his publishing company because I found latter parts of this book to be full of inconsistencies as if that plot twist did not exist, which made the novel that much more frustrating.  Therefore, I found the rest of the book to be extremely dull, and completing the book was a huge struggle for me.  
  • In addition to the plot twist and the subsequent actions boring me, I had an inability to relate to any of characters.  While they did have some amazing development, I just could not connect with the characters and did not find myself really caring how their story ended.

My Rating:

★★★ 3/5 stars!


I’d recommend this book to those who like young adult fiction, science fiction/apocalyptic, action, and horror novels.

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