Endgame by James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton

Title: Endgame*
Author: James Frey & Nil Johnson-Shelton
Genre: Dystopian/Sci-Fi
Length: 464 pages.
Published: 7th October 2014
Series: First book of the Endgame trilogy.

Twelve ancient cultures were chosen millennia ago to represent humanity in Endgame, a global game that will decide the fate of humankind. Endgame has always been a possibility, but never a reality…until now. Twelve meteorites have just struck Earth, each meteorite containing a message for a Player who has been trained for this moment. At stake for the Players: saving their bloodline, as well as the fate of the world. And only one can win.
Endgame is real. Endgame is now. Endgame has begun.
Okay, so this book. I wanted to love it. I really did. Obvious similarities have cropped up regarding the synopsis and that of The Hunger Games, which has confused/angered a few people, but after reading I can see that the two are actually very different. This book is set in what I think is present day (?), as there are several modern references made including one about Angry Birds and iPhones. To be honest I didn't really like these references, I prefer to be whisked away into another time/world when I read and to be honest the book could have managed that if it weren't for these random comments.
The book itself is actually told from a variety of POV's, 12 of them to be exact - each of the characters and players of Endgame get their own chapters so we can really follow them on their adventures. The only thing I didn't like about this approach was the writing - you couldn't really tell one voice from another, which I would have loved to have seen. The addition of one of the player's boyfriends was quite cringy, and the words 'true love' were thrown around quite a lot during these sections. The characters themselves I liked, there is a lot of variety and although the voices weren't distinguished during POV's there are a lot of trademark qualities about each person. It took me quite a while to get used to them though, as the jumping around at the beginning makes it hard to settle into one character.
The thing that made me dislike this book was the writing: it was very simple. There weren't any sentences that particularly stood out to me as well written or thought provoking, and the word variety was lacking. It was very monotone, even (to be honest) during some of the more exciting moments. Although there are plenty of those - this book is full of little surprises and action which starts right from the very first few pages. There's enough of them to keep you reading, despite the not so great writing. There are also a lot of numbers used in the narrative, which I find disrupts the flow quite a lot. These numbers are relevant to the competition that is running alongside this book: you have to decode the secret messages hidden within the book to win a cash prize. At the time of writing this review, I was unable to find a website to link regarding the competition. When I find one it will be linked to this post.

The thing that saves this book is its fast pace: there are a lot of surprises and action-packed, fast paced moments that push you through the read easily. There is plenty of gore, blood-shed and drama. I found the surprises quite sudden - but I think it was a good thing, as it catches you off guard. I also really liked the way that the Players were created. They are all from the original 12 lines of humanity, and have been trained pretty much their whole lives for Endgame, the job being passed down by each generation.
Overall, this book was okay. It wasn't great, although it wasn't terrible. The idea isn't exactly original but is played out in such a way that I think dystopian/action/sci-fi fans will enjoy. Despite it's length it's actually quite a quick read, so would be great for someone looking for something to travel with. I'm going to give this book 3/5 stars.

You can buy this book from Amazon. You can also watch the book trailer here.


  1. I wasn't a fan either. Have you read Conquest by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard? It's an alien book that I really enjoyed after finishing this one.
    Imogen’s Typewriter. <3

    1. No I haven't - I'll definitely pick it up though, I want to try and read some more Sci-Fi as it's not really a genre I've ever tried before x


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