The God Game – Danny Tobey

I am very excited to be part of the big Gollancz Blog Tour for The God Game by Danny Tobey! Many thanks to Stevie Finegan and Gollancz for inviting me to participate and sending me an early copy for review. Please also check out my fellow bloggers’ posts for their thoughts about this fantastic book!

A Sci-Fi thriller you can not put down, addressing social issues, theology, video games, relationships and morality through the lens of high school seniors struggling to find their way, this is a must-read of early 2020. I loved reading this book, and could not stop thinking about it – it was quite upsetting to be reading this while finishing up an essay for University, which meant I couldn’t just read the whole book in one go.

RELEASE DATE: 09/01/2019

STAR RATING: 4.5/5 ✶

SYNOPSIS: Win and All Your Dreams Come True™!
Charlie and his friends have entered the God Game.
Tasks are delivered through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them. Charlie’s money problems could be over. Vanhi can erase the one bad grade on her college application. It’s all harmless fun at first.
Then the threatening messages start.
Worship me. Obey me.
Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them.
Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?
As Charlie looks for a way out, he finds God is always watching – only He will say when the game is done.
And if you die in the game, you die for real.

OPINIONS: Once you get sucked into The God Game, it does not let you go. This is true for both the book, and the fictional game inside the story. Danny Tobey has done really well crafting a gripping narrative that keeps you invested throughout. Stakes and tension are high, and pacing is excellent. You almost expect to receive a text message yourself, asking you to join the game.

Through the clever inclusion of theology, and specifically biblical imagery, a vengeful, old Testament God is evoked, playing with their victims and demanding absolute devotion. This can be taken as an allegory for the many things our society has taken to believing in, such as popularity, technology, and, yes, still, the various kinds of religion and hate still propagated today. This system gives you points for following the system, which rewards you with tangible rewards, and so-called Blaxx for resisting, which, when accumulating lead to real-life consequences… It is a very scary perspective on society, and all too possible in many parts of this world, making The God Game an incredibly timely novel. While most of the central characters are teens, I would not classify this as YA (Gollancz is also an Adult SFF imprint).

There are no good people in this book. All the characters are morally gray and struggling, although as the story progresses, some will show themselves to be rather more villainous than others. They are well crafted and human, something which is very important to me as a reader, and which I’ve been lucky enough to encounter in many of the books I’ve read recently. Through the story’s structure, their aims and goals are very clear, and there is a strong focus on the question what they are ready to sacrifice in order to achieve these.

In any case, I strongly recommend you check out this thrilling, intriguing book, add it on Goodreads, and (pre-)order it from Book Depository or your retailer of choice!

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