Book: The Game of Lives

"The Game of Lives"

Michael used to live to game. Now the games he was playing have become all too real. Only weeks ago, Sinking ino the Sleep was fun. The VirtNet combined the most cutting-edge technology and the most sophisticated gaming for a full mind-body experience. And it was Michael’s passion. But now every time Michael Sink,s he risks his life.

The games are over. The VirtNet has become a world of deadly consequences, and Kaine grows stronger by the day. The Mortality Doctrine–Kaine’s master plan–has nearly been realized, and little by little the line separating the virtual from the real is blurring. If Kaine succeeds, it will mean worldwide cyber domination. And it looks like Michael and his friends are the only ones who can put the monster back in the box–if Michael can figure out who his friends really are.

I am done with the Mortality Doctrine trilogy. Literally, because this is the last book. I hope. And figuratively, because… Well, this was one tough book to finish. And no, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to let go of the story yet. It was mostly because I found it hard not to root for the villains.

Halfway through the book, I was sick and tired of the main character, Michael.

But more than an unlikable main character, what I didn’t like about The Game of Lives is that it doesn’t provide a fulfilling conclusion to the journey we started with The Eye of Minds. It still feels like random events are happening to stop the main characters from achieving their goal without rhyme or reason.

And then there were the characters.

I love morally gray characters. They make stories interesting, because you never know if they would do something good, or bad. They’re even better when you can see why they would choose to do a good or a bad thing. But when they’re doing something obviously sinister, and then they say they’re doing something good without back-up evidence that they might actually be telling the truth? You get a villain like Klaine.

Come to think of it, my problem with the Mortality Doctrine from the get go has always been Klaine. I understand the need for a complicated villain, but I feel like we were short-changed with a villain who can’t decide if he’s good, bad, or just plain selfish.

I hated Klaine not because he was the bad guy, but because he was badly written. He is supposed to be scary, but he doesn’t really pose any threat. Not even during the last battle between good and evil. Not even during the last part where our main protagonist is duking it out with him.

Stories like this always needs a good villain. That’s half the battle. When your villain doesn’t live up to the title of head evil honcho? However you end the series will be disappointing.

And that’s what The Game of Lives is: a disappointing ending to a series that wasn’t all that stellar to begin with.

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