Endgame: The Calling by James Frey Review


I read this book with high hopes, and I am sorry to say that I am very disappointed. It started out with such promise and so many great ideas, but they were all abandoned soon after to pursue a VERY predictable plot. The story was similar to that of the Hunger Games, and that greatly upset me. After the Hunger Games achieved fame and glory amongst teens and adults everywhere, authors suddenly began to get the notion that if a very similar storyline was used in their novels, they would reach the same height of success. In reality, it does the complete opposite and bores the reader, who has likely seen and read countless spinoffs of the same plot. The book is clearly lacking in originality , which will drop the interest of the reader as quickly as it got it.

I have to admit though, it’s a pretty good conspiracy theory. The idea that the gods are nothing but extremely advanced aliens using us as slaves is a very interesting thought that I would actually enjoy reading about. This topic should have been the foundation of the novel. However, the author began to add his trite plot and more perplexing ideas to the mix and expected the end result to be a success. Sadly, the combination turned out to be confusing and unappealing, completely covering his wonderful theory, which made reading it a lot less fun than it should have been. The key to a good novel is simplicity. The author must choose one specific, creative theme to revolve his story around. And although some may want to argue, I feel like the author didn’t follow this advice and instead branched his novel off into many different themes that would be amazing by themselves, but together create a mishmash laced with unnecessary complexity.

The author also utilized multiple perspectives in an attempt to interest the reader. Introducing many characters with different personalities is clever, since the diverse group of teens reading it would have a better chance to connect to the people that they are reading about. However, I feel like this technique was used poorly and managed to ruin the character development. I found it hard to connect with the people I was reading about, since I hardly knew them! Many of their personalities were a mystery to me, and some of the Players were even shown as flat, emotionless characters. I like to understand the feelings and thoughts of the characters in the story, because I can then evaluate them and develop opinions on them. Readers are supposed to become close friends with the heroes in a novel, getting to know their strengths, weaknesses, and even their little quirks. They are supposed to develop strong attachments and struggle to let go once they finish reading. This book didn’t allow me to do that with any of the twelve characters, since their personalities were overcome with all the action and violence. I was very disappointed, since even the worst, most poorly written novels allow me to peek into the mind of the person that I’m reading about and create impressions that are either built upon or broken and replaced. I wasn’t even able to remember who was who in the book, much less understand things in their points of view.

The large amount of people present in the book was also a very poor idea. The author rapidly transitioned between characters, and I found it hard to keep track of them. To add on to my troubles was their complicated names and titles the other Players used to label them as, because I couldn’t remember them at all. It was hard enough to remember their weird names and associate it with a personality, but the author decided to further confuse the reader by referring to people with other titles, such as “the Sumerian”. This issue ruined the reading experience for me, since I couldn’t peacefully enjoy the story because I had to flip back to the beginning when the characters were first quickly and inadequately introduced.

That brings me on to my next point of irritation: the amount of people in a group. Successful stories usually contain one or two protagonists to so the reader doesn’t have to utilize his/her memory in order to enjoy. However, this book ignored this completely and decided to add twelve characters. The author rapidly switched off from person to person in his multiple perspective style, and I was left perplexed as to whom I was reading about. Moreover, the author decides to further complicate everything by adding complex names and titles to each of them. I personally find it fine and maybe even a good sign if the reader gets puzzled by the plot and storyline. However, it is completely pointless to trouble the reader over something as trivial as the titles of each of the characters. The amount of heroes added did nothing but stray my attention away from the actual story and instead dwell on the pettiest of matters, which was I believe was a wrong move that could prove fatal.

Overall, this book was just like any random one you could pick off the bookshelves to read. Boring and confusing, just like the majority of the recent teen novels filling up the bookstores, this book didn’t surprise or delight me at all. All the hype that you hear about it is simply beautiful icing on an unappetizing cake, and I wouldn’t suggest reading it. Unless you want to read a poorly written adaptation of the Hunger Games, don’t bother checking this book out.

My Rating:

one and a half stars


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