Todd’s Review of Buzz (The Game #2) by Anders De La Motte

16130351Fresh off of the nail-biting adventures of Game by Anders De La Motte, I was excited to see what else was in store for HP and his fight against the Gamemaker and his empire.  Not only did Game end with an amazing climactic action scene, but there was a definite cliffhanger that made me want to start Buzz as soon as possible.  I knew it was only a matter of time before HP found himself ensnared in the clutches of The Game again, and Buzz did not disappoint in this respect.

From Goodreads:

It’s been four months since he was dragged into the Alternative Reality Game that nearly cost him his life, and HP is still on the run. He has everything he ever wished for—freedom, money, and no responsibilities, but he still isn’t happy. Plagued by insomnia and paranoia, HP misses the rush and attention of The Game. Sometimes he almost wishes the Game Master would find him.

In Dubai, HP meets Anna Argos, a sophisticated and beautiful Swedish IT millionaire. When she disappears, HP is questioned by the police. Fearing he has been found by The Game, HP returns to Sweden after being released from custody. Determined to uncover the truth about Anna’s disappearance, HP uses a fake identity to apply for a job at ArgosEye, the company Anna worked for. In the business of online information management, ArgosEye is involved in some questionable practices, under the control of Anna’s husband, the CEO Philip Argos.

Meanwhile, HP’s sister Rebecca has started dating Philip Argos. When she unknowingly reveals her brother’s real identity to Philip, the police try to bring HP in for questioning again. On the run again, HP refuses to give up and tries to uncover what is really happening at ArgosEye. Before he can find the truth, HP is stopped in his tracks. Thinking he’s about to be thrown in prison, HP is taken to the outskirts of the city and left in the woods, where an elderly man hands him a piece of paper. HP believes the game is over, but is it really just beginning?

I think the best part about this series is the fact that it is multifaceted.  Just when you think that you’ve figured out The Game and HP’s place in it, your preconceptions are turned on their head and you are thrown for a loop.  Not only does this make the plot multi-layered, but it keeps you (and HP consequently) in the dark until the last possible moment.  Not only that, but HP’s overall likability and aloofness makes him an easy character to get along with and root for.  I found myself drawing some parallels between the twists and turns of this series (thus far) and my favorite TV show, LOST.  The plots of both of these franchises are complex and deceptive, and I think that’s what draws me in and makes me want to uncover the truth about The Game so badly, just as I wanted to find out the identity of “The Others” in LOST.  Therefore, it’s not surprising that I’ve rated Buzz so highly, and I cannot wait to read the exciting conclusion to this series: Bubble.

5 out of 5 Stars

Buzz by Anders De La Motte
Atria Books (2014)
Paperback: 496 pages
ISBN: 9781476712918

Special thanks to Atria Books for my review copy via Netgalley!

Todd’s Review of Game (The Game #1) by Anders De La Motte

GameWhen I first mulled reading Game by Anders De La Motte, I was quite familiar with its premise: A main character becomes involved with a perception-altering, omnipotent company/overlord that they were not aware of previously.  It’s something I was introduced to via The Matrix and am very familiar with.  In fact, I felt so familiar and slightly overloaded with this trope that I almost passed on reading Game.  And now that I’ve finished it, I’m incredibly glad I didn’t!  It was amazing and I can’t wait to read the next two installments in the Game trilogy.

Game begins with a man named Henrik Pettersson (“HP” for short), who is an average Swede with a slight criminal streak.  HP doesn’t have many friends, lives alone in a flat, and often commits small crimes such as petty theft to finance his lifestyle of generalized laziness and the occasional joint.  One day while on the train, he finds an expensive cell phone with the number 128 mysteriously printed on the back.  Just before he decides to pocket the phone and sell it, it asks him a question.  And not just any question, it’s a personalized one: “Do you want to play a game, HP?”  Although he is slightly alarmed, HP decides to play, thinking that it is a prank played on him by a childhood friend.  However, all is not as it seems…

At the same time we are introduced to Rebecca, a member of Sweden’s Special Protection Unit, which is analogous to the US’s Secret Service.  She is everything that HP isn’t: dedicated, cold, calculating, responsible, and predictable.  She’s rising through the ranks, and finds herself protecting the Prime Minister as he travels through the country on various matters for the European Union.  However, she doesn’t know that soon her world and HP’s will soon be inexorably linked, and that she will be facing a threat to her own safety and those around her that she could never have imagined.

As I said above, I was a huge fan of this book.  It was one of those instances where the beginning hook (the whole novelty of this “game” existing beneath the surface that the majority of the public is not aware of) was just enough to keep me interested.  It really wasn’t anything to write home about, but I stuck with it to see where De La Motte was going with the whole concept.  After this beginning phase, however, I really started to become invested in HP and his place within the game.  Although he doesn’t sound like the cream of the crop of society, he does have a good heart, which made me more sympathetic towards him from the start, and once the game began to take control over him, I really started to root for him and hope that he would find a way to fight back.

Additionally, when HP and Rebecca’s stories do align, it was in a way that I didn’t really see coming.  This was the start of several interesting revelations in the book, which added another layer of complexity that I definitely appreciated.  De La Motte takes a good amount of time to delve into the back story of both Rebecca and HP, so the revelations at the end of the book are especially poignant as they tie both the past and present together in a way that left me with goosebumps.  I can’t tell you much more than that, as this is a story with such great plot points that are so important that if I gave any of them away the whole setup would be ruined!  So, go grab a copy yourself and see what you’re missing.  I guarantee you won’t regret it.

5 out of 5 Stars

Game by Anders De La Motte
Atria Books (2013)
eBook: 384 pages
ISBN: 9781476712888

Special thanks to Atria Books for my review copy via Netgalley!