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!