Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier
Michael has only one aim: to finish the game, so his brother Patrick and he can get to the Safe Zone and go looking for their mother. It’s still a long way to the zone, though, and for now the zombies are happy enough to try to eat their brains. So far, the two boys fared well because they stuck to the rules, but not everybody does – Michael didn’t tell his brother the whole truth, and there are not only for Patrick some surprises waiting.
“The End Games” has not been what I expected it to be. Both title and description indicated an actual (and perverted) game, which was the aspect I was most looking forward to – next to the boys’ relationship. Sure, it sounds strange that someone would start a children’s version of SAW after the apocalypse, but why not? It just needs a good explanation.
Soon I had to discover that things are a little bit different here. It’s not difficult to guess, though the game is still of importance throughout the novel – it simply plays a different role.
When it comes to the brothers, again I didn’t exactly get what I wanted. Michael and Patrick may be at the centre of attention, but we soon get distracted. First (later as well), we learn about their past which can explain much that is going on now; and yes, I really started to like Michael and Patrick (though the latter could get a little bit annoying sometimes). The time with those two wasn’t as intense as hoped, though, and that’s because other characters pop up – dammit.
I’m not exactly unsatisfied with how the novel continued, and I loved the ending. However, in between some of the things going on are partly predictable and partly clichéd. That only applies to the characters, mind you, even though they themselves are not characterized in a clichéd way. It also applies to the romance which I couldn’t care less about. It was rather unnecessary, a friendship would have been perfectly sufficient. But of course you have to fall in love with the only girl ...
Anyway, mostly everything is fine with the plot. There is, of course, the issue with the game, but besides that the book is thrilling, especially the end, partly because of the twists and surprises the author came up with. What seemed easy to begin with turns out to be a little bit more complicated, though the origin of the zombies is never fully explained. Some points “just are”. It doesn’t matter, actually.
On the other hand, it’s so thrilling because it’s told that way. The writing style is how Michael would tell us the story. In theory, that’s how it’s always supposed to be, but in practice it can be more or less accomplished. In this case, it’s more accomplished. The text is casual and is often “interrupted” by Michael’s thoughts in italics. Those parts can be a little bit difficult to read (he really thinks a lot), but that’s not too often the case.
In the end, you do get the story of two brothers – especially the story about a brother fighting for the other one to be able to have a life. His methods might not be to everybody’s tastes and sometimes I wasn’t too happy with what he did, but that only makes him more realistic. If you try to do something great, you might fail horribly – but if that happens here, is yours to read.
“The End Games” is different than expected and I don’t say that in an overly positive way. Still, you get a thrilling story of a brother who had to take responsibility way too early – this book is no waste of time, though it might not be the best to read about the topic either.