Game Over by Taylor Keating
Tor Books (Nov 2010)
Paperback, 405 pages
When I read the blurb for Game Over, initially I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It has a hunky dangerous man, (always a good start) separated from his body wafting around the place, and a computer geek girl (dubious at best) trying to create the next best thing in the tech world. Throw into that a Dark Lord and the two characters being submerged into a game that’s been created, it all sounds a little ridiculous (because we all know that vampires, werefolk and fairies are quite normal right?).
But what can I say. I started reading Game Over and was hooked. Although it wasn’t the fastest I have ever read a book, and I was able to put it down, I was always able to pick it back up easily enough and carry on from where I left off.
So, a little more about the people involved.
River Weston is a very clever and ballsy young lady, who is working with a small team, trying to invent the next super hit in the world of technology. She is the creator of a cyber world, where you gain access via a headset and a platform (yes this technology is around already, but she is maxing it out) and you are transported to the very real feeling world inside. Whilst there, you battle your way through the levels earning credits to upgrade your weapons etc. Although the game idea may not be new, its more about the quality of the experience, and River wants it to be as life-like as possible. Unbeknownst to her, she makes a deal with the Dark Lord, by offering up her soul in order that her game works, and he readily takes her up on her offer, trapping her in her own game.
This is where she meets Chase Hawkins. An ex military man who has been widowed, Hawk decided to volunteer for a new program where his body and soul were separated, in order that he could go out and search for lost Fae in his role as Guardian. His soul was captured by the Dark Lord and he has since been a prisoner. A prisoner, being held by a prisoner, as the Dark Lord is himself confined to a tiny piece of a dimension, trapped there by the Fae, but he has had enough, and wants out. In order to gain his freedom, he needs Hawk to ensure that River makes it to the final level in her now much amended game.
As I write this I realise that there is so much going on in Game Over, and the author has made a much better job of layering it all up, and explaining it in such a way that it is manageable to understand. There is a lot more going on besides the main storyline but I don’t want to go into it all and spoil the book.
I liked River. I am not sure what it is that has made me gel with her, but I enjoy computer games, so perhaps its something to do with that. She isn’t a quitter, and has just pushed herself to the extreme to be able to create this game, her baby, and there is a rather noble reason behind it, it’s not in any way financial…although I am sure that’s there somewhere, it certainly isn’t the thing that drives her.
I am a real sucker for a military man, and Hawk has this in spades. He is a beefy chap all geared up towards looking out for a species weaker than himself, but not condescending or patronizing in any way. He lets River take the lead when its obvious that she has a better understanding of the world in which they are trapped, stepping aside to let her take on a role he is obviously far more comfortable controlling himself in other circumstances… I sure as hell wouldn’t be kicking him out of bed!
There is most definitely chemistry between the pair, although it’s not massively in your face, and Game Over isn’t all about the bump and grind. Its more of a romantic slow sort of thing, and although they do end up knocking boots, its not the be all and end all of the book.
The main thread of the story is that River and Hawk are now trapped in the game, coming up against foes far scarier than the originals, in levels much harder than River originally wrote. In order to leave the game they have to get to the final level and defeat the Soul Man, that so far in the original game, River has been unable to beat.
Whilst Hawk and River are battling their way through the jungles and cities within the game, Rivers friends are fighting their own battles in real life. One friend (with benefits ) that is really struggling is Nick Sutton. Nick is one of Rivers game designers and with his help she has developed the game she is suddenly trapped in. He is keeping his eye on her body outside of the game, but has failed to pull her out, choosing only to monitor her vitals. He has his reasons, but I am not going to tell you them… go read it!
I thoroughly enjoyed Game Over and am rather looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Mind Games which I follows on from where this one leaves off, rather than jumping to a new couple, which I have to say I am rather thrilled about. Game Over is a fantastic new twist on a few different paranormal subcultures, that brings paranormal and sci-fi together in an amazing blend of storylines. Bring on Mind Games!
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- Game Over
- Mind Games
- Fair Game
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