The End Games
Martin, T. Michael. The End Games. New York: Balzer + Bray, 2013.
In T. Michael Martin’s The End Games, brothers Michael, 17, and Patrick, 5, are fighting their way through a zombie apocalypse. In order to protect his brother, Michael explains to Patrick that they are playing a real life video game, in which there is a Game Master, rules, points, levels and, eventually, an End Game, where the brothers will reunite with their mother and other unharmed civilians. The novel begins with the brothers traveling alone, eluding the infected Bellows, who only come out at night; however, when they arrive in Coalmount, they encounter not only Bellows, but a cult called The Rapture, who believes that the Bellows are God’s will and fight to protect these “sacred” monsters. In their escape from the Rapture, they are saved by Captain Jopek, who brings the boys to a secure location with three other survivors. Michael and Patrick must then discover who their true allies are, find a cure for the zombie infection, fight the Rapture, as well as the mutating Bellows, and attempt to find their End Game.
This novel is action-packed with fight scenes and will have a special appeal for those who enjoy zombie/apocalyptic stories and/or gamers. The consistent allusions to video games allow readers to compare events in the novel to video games like Halo. The End Games, however, does dig deeper than violence and basic survival; Michael struggles with the amount of control he has over his world, whether he’s helping or harming Patrick by creating The Game for him, coming to terms with his love for his mother, but also accepting her weaknesses, and connecting emotionally with others. I would recommend this title to readers who want plenty of action in their novels, but also some substance.
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