Tron meets Scott Westerfeld's world of Uglies and has a blast!
Most virtual gaming stories follow the same script: people's minds are hooked up to machines while their bodies lay still and useless (think Matrix or Total Recall). Carpenter takes things to a whole new level; like upgrading from Wii to Xbox Kinect kind of level. Sitting on your butt (getting strikes in bowling just by flicking your wrist) will get you nowhere in LifeGame...unless you count 'dead' as a place to get to. Guaranteed? Not quite. That's the problem. No one knows where the losers of LifeGame go and through a chaotic and thrilling course of events, our MC Gabby is determined to find out.
Extremely creative and thoroughly entertaining, Gamers is a sure hit for science fiction and dystopian fans alike. With detailed world building and a steady pace, readers are able to immerse themselves in Carpenter's universe and hang on for the ride until the end...which is NOT the end. Thank goodness because I would not have been happy. That said, I very much recommend this book and have added the sequel, Frags, to my TBR pile. I usually do not recap or summarize a book since the authors/publishers have their own but reading some people's reviews, it seems the printed 'blurb' was not enough to pique their interest or that the story is very different than what is implied. For this reason, I have come up with a summary/blurb of my own, including a couple quotes and my two cents. Ahem:
Gabby's world is earth with a virtual layer; everything you see may or may not be real. Confusing huh?
Normally, the games painted over the objects that were already there. This one had painted over the whole world so she couldn't actually see what was there. Gabby had the sudden feeling that she was about to run into a wall and had to steel herself to take the next step.
Thomas Carpenter. Gamers (Kindle Locations 1841-1843). Thomas Carpenter.
Having the knowledge that you are blind doesn't make it any less unsettling. So what are they not seeing and why?
Day and night, Gabby is subjected to endless games to defeat and earn points. Points determine a persons' intelligence and usefulness in society. The education system is specifically geared towards improving one's success in the games.
"The first rule is what can be gamed can be improved. The second rule is that everything can be a game and the last rule is to never look backwards because the past is a game that's already been decided."
Thomas Carpenter. Gamers (Kindle Locations 99-100). Thomas Carpenter.
School is fueled by competition which makes for shallow and fake friendships. Having one true friend, Gabby will do anything to keep Zaela by her side; even if that means risking everything and hacking into the system to help Zaela stay ahead. After a suspicious and violating request is made by the LifeGame Integrity Engineers (LGIE), Gabby's dreams come to a halt. Enduring interrogations from the school Administrator and her parents, seeing a boy no one else can see, and following a group called the Frags into the unknown, Gabby doesn't know who to believe. As more characters are introduced, doubts of who to trust increase and panicked decisions are sure to be made. When Gabby and friends participate in the "Final Raid" to decide their future careers, she comes to realize that this is so much more than a game. If not played just right, Gabby wont get to live her dream life...or live at all. This is life. Welcome to the Gamers.
That was it. Any thoughts? Well I like it ^.^ I won an e-copy of Gamers through the Library Thing giveaway and spoke my true thoughts...or wrote them...typed them...I posted (there we go!) an honest review. Thank you Mr.Carpenter!
(reviewed 68 days after purchase)