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Rush: Book One of The Game

Rush - Eve Silver It’s always a bad sign when I finish a book and a few days later I can barely remember some of the specifics about it. RUSH, the first book in The Game series by Eve Silver (a romance author transitioning into young adult fiction), is one of those books where I am left trying to wrack my brain for answers. For example, I read a lot of reviews that mention a cliffhanger, but I can’t remember what happened. I can’t remember the main character’s name or where she was from. I remember that she was part Japanese and that she was in a love triangle with Personality-Less Boy Luka and Clearly-Not-Who-He-Seems-So-Blatant Jackson.Wait. That was supposed to be a love triangle, right?The thing about RUSH was that it was a great book in premise – a mix of ENDER’S GAME and READY PLAYER ONE meets reality. In execution, though, the words on the page did not add up to the book I was hoping for, especially given the hype out there for it. RUSH fell flat on a number of levels, from characters to literary skill to the outcome, and left me disappointed.TALK ABOUT MEHRUSH follows Miki, a 16 year old girl from Rochester, New York (I had to look this up) who, in trying to save the life of a classmate’s sister, is almost killed. Instead of dying, she is pulled into a game, which isn’t so much a game as it is a draft by some unseen forces to be teleported across the world and sent into battle against aliens that are hiding on Earth. She’s partnered with a team of fellow teenagers and sent into battle with no training, told only that if her health monitor goes red, it’s not good. In fact, she’ll die. In the game with her are Luka, a boy who recently returned to her school after disappearing for a few years, and Jackson, who never takes off his mirrored sunglasses and is quite the jerk.In literature, you often find a disconnect between promise and execution. The promise of RUSH was a high-stakes, action-packed thrill ride as Miki falls deeper into the game and the fight against the Drau. The execution, however, is a muddled mess of confusing themes, cardboard characters, obvious twists, and average writing. I will give Silver one thing – she knows how to write action well, and the action in RUSH did have me on the edge of my seat at times. It was like reading a movie, with pages jammed full of action and excitement. I just wish that the novel had been more like this overall, not just limited to the action scenes.TALK ABOUT OBVIOUS, TOOI’ll just say it – I saw the reveal coming from a mile away. Well, part of it. The other half of the reveal was a bit of a letdown because I thought I had the awesome twist figured out when it turns out the twist was a big fat letdown. And kind of an easy way out to explain things which could have made the stakes so much higher. Instead, Silver falls into a trap for keeping her love interest likable, even though there isn’t much to like about him. Jackson is a complete jerk who prolongs the novel by a good 100 pages by just refusing to tell Miki what he knows. If he would just admit to her five lines of dialogue, the book could have been tighter and less wishy-washy when it came to confusing threads and endless wandering through tunnels and Miki’s own confusion.RUSH could have been a better novel. I liked it enough, mostly on the basis of its action, and I might even read book two when it is released next year. Do I think it is the best novel of 2013? Far from it. It’s another entry on the ever-growing light science fiction list for 2013, and it’s just an average one. VERDICT: Action cannot save every novel. With confusing threads, cardboard characters, and an obvious plot, RUSH is barely redeemed by its well-done action sequences. Check it out from the library or borrow from a friend.