Author: Danny Tobey
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Released: January 7th, 2019
Received: ARC (mail)
Warnings: Bully, suicidal thoughts, animal death
I received a copy of The God Game in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The God Game is the latest novel to come from the mind of Danny Tobey, and it combines science fiction with a most unexpected subject; god. Tobey asks himself the question; what would happen if AI and God were to merge?
The G.O.D. Game is a video game run by a very clever bot – one who roped Charlie and his friends right in. Together they’re about to face quests and demands, all to gain points with their G.O.D. ruler (of the game).
Unfortunately, this is exactly the sort of beginning one would expect before it all goes south. It doesn’t take long for their new gamer G.O.D. to start demanding uncomfortable and dangerous tasks of these wayward youths. And there seems to be no way out of the game they’ve begun.
“So said God, or at least the first artificial intelligence bot claiming to inhabit the persona of God.”
Warnings: The God Game covers a lot of heavy subjects. Some of those are going to be obvious, thanks to the title and description of the book. But others are going to be more surprising. This novel shows examples of depression, bullying, and suicide (thoughts and attempts).
The God Game was an intense and thrilling read. This novel blends together many unexpected elements. It is one part science fiction, one part thriller, and so much more. Seeing the events unfold was simultaneously unsurprising and horrifying in the extremes forced upon these characters.
The concept of an all-powerful program is not a new one. Yet Tobey did manage to throw several unique spins and twists our direction over the course of The God Game. The AI may have been the primary focus of the plot. But it was the humans that made it the memorable read.
Charlie and his friends all had wants and needs, and they really struggled here. They fought to know and understand the difference between right and wrong. They were trying to understand the rules of the game alongside the truth of life, all while still learning about their own inner selves. It was a complex and fascinating read through and through.
There were some parts of this book that were jarring enough to throw me out of my reading mode. But on the whole, I enjoyed the read. It bounced quickly from funny and entertaining to intense and dangerous. It was a vital balance, all things considered.
I imagine those that are more tech and coding oriented are going to enjoy The God Game more than their counterparts. The gaming and coding references are highly amusing, but I can also see them being very mild for somebody not immersed in that world.
I really enjoyed The God Game, and I am very much looking forward to seeing what Tobey comes up with next. I’ll also be curious to see what other readers thought of this novel.