Author: Thomas Carpenter
Published: June 13, 2011
Source: Author provided review copy
Blurb:Two points for brushing your teeth. Ten points for keeping your room tidy. Seventy-two points for the Bioeconomic Game Design pop quiz on the ride to school in your personal FunCar. Another thirty for making every hurdle in gym class.
Life is a game, unless you’re not the one winning.
Gabby DeCorte, top student and reality-hacker extraordinaire, has been doing whatever it takes to keep her best friend, Zaela, from falling behind in LifeGame. Zaela has gifts of artistry that amaze Gabby, but none of those skills translate in LifeGame and with final exams coming up, they can’t afford to waste a single minute. But when a mysterious group called the Frags contacts Gabby claiming to know what really happens to the losers of LifeGame, she must choose between winning and what she believes in.
This book begins in a game with Gabby and her friend Zaela. Gabby has hacked the game to better Zaela’s score so that they can go to college together. In this world everything is a game. The top scorers go on to be great and the less than high scores. Well, no one really knows where they go. Some become members of the Frag. A group of individuals who are hiding from the LGIE. The Frag wants to be free from the game. They know that something isn’t right in that world and want Gabby to help them find out what it is.
I actually really enjoyed this book. It was fun and suspenseful. Considering how many hours people spend on electronic devices, playing games and interacting through the web it’s not hard to imagine a future where every thing is a game. Schooling is a game. You don’t learn world history. You learn gamer history. You don’t drive cars. You get in a car and play games and earn points while the fun-car takes you where you want to go. Don’t like how you look? Well, you can change that. Sick of your bedroom setup? Yep, just a simple fix to that. I am not going to lie. That sounds beyond scary to me. I would rather live in a world full of zombies than live in a world completely controlled via electronics, graphics and a big brother corp/government.
Gabby does anything and everything to buck the system. She has complicated hacks and signal bouncing skills to keep her friend at the top. She constantly as in non stop is gaming to keep her score up top. To make matters worse the government/corp record and keep track of your TPS (thoughts per second). You can be a great gamer but if you TPS isn’t high then you go bye-bye from your job, and who knows what else. She knows this and doesn’t like it one bit. She has real spunk and even though she loves the world she lives in I think she is just as scared of it as I am. She searches out real books, and real knowledge every chance she gets. She is loyal. She’s tough and keeps her cool in pressure situations.
The world was cool and futuristic. I dug it. It was fun/scary to see how much technology shaped humans lives. The action sequences were written wonderfully and felt like they could be real game play to me. I liked all of the MC’s. There were a few that I wish the author would have flushed out more. Namely Zaela.
There is software talk in this book. It isn’t overwhelming, but I am seriously software stupid. The last gaming system I owned was a game cube. The last game I beat was Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Sega Genisis. Yep. All this sweet short coding Rachel has on this site…way over my head. Lucky for me she’s already done the hard work and made buttons that I can just push, type some stuff into and bam! I have cool looking buttons etc. So needless to say all the talk of coding and hacking did confuse me a bit. However, a more savvy gammer/reader would have no problem visualizing the world and words that is used in this book.
I strongly recommend this book to someone who wants a fun, quick read. Fans of S.W. Tannapepper’s GAMELAND series will enjoy this book as well. It has everything, action, suspense, technology, future time setting, and yes, even a little romance.
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