Wednesday, April 24, 2013

REVIEW: Endgame by Nenia Campbell

Endgame (Voluntary Eradicators, #1) Endgame by Nenia Campbell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

CAUTION: minor spoiler

The book boasted ingredients for a fantastic thriller. The ingredients included virtual reality, hacking, corruption, and conspiracy. However, to my great disappointment, the book turned out to be one of those cases where just because the ingredients were awesome it doesn’t necessary mean the result would be awesome too.

+ the plot

A fine line demarcates between cryptic and confusing; the book treaded on the latter territory. The dream sequences/flashbacks were too many and too long for my liking. Instead of cluing me in or building up suspense like the scenes were supposed to do, they befuddled me, bored me, and disengaged me from the story. The flashbacks bogged the already sluggish pacing. The plot didn’t seem to go anywhere. How could it when the heroine reacted to problems as they occurred and did little to prevent them.

+ the characters

Vol was a passive heroine, which is why I didn’t care for her. Well, I did pity her to an extent but only about a centimeter. Vol did show some spunkiness but it was offset by moments of TSTL-ness. For example, she decided to meet her sexually harassing stalker alone, unarmed, and at the time he dictated in a place she was not familiar with. TSTL, Vol. TSTL!

I would haven’t minded it much if she at least showed me that she was capable of handling danger, but she didn’t. In all the virtual reality video game sessions, Vol got her ass kicked. It happened so many times that I didn’t understand why she was hired in the first place or why she hadn't been fired because the girl seriously stunk.

Vol also made the poor choice to take a love interest in Catan. Almost every time they met, he sexually harassed her. I eventually learned why he acted that way and understood where he was coming from, but it didn’t fully excuse his distasteful behavior. At the very least, he needed a good bitch slap, at least five bitch slaps.

It wasn’t just Catan who needed to be bitch slapped; about all the dudes in the story needed to be bitch slapped. Douchebags the lot of them. I did not care for the misandric undertone whatsoever. I also did not care for the casual sexual violence, either, even if it was simply verbal. I felt it was edgy in a very shallow, contemptible way and essentially lazy writing.

Spoiler ahead.

Frankly, the only character I liked was Tash. Tash was fierce and friendly. Out of all the characters, she alone made a strong positive impression on me. Of course, the story went and off-ed her at the end because we can’t have nice things can we.

+ the ending

It was not till end of the book, around the climax, that the book finally began to deliver a simulacrum of the things the blurb boasted. Answers were finally given, fucking better late than never. Still, ennui had settled in; it was way too late to save the book. Worse, the book had the disgrace to end openly on a horror note with a stupid twist.

Imagine a ship sinking and suddenly fire erupts because, hey, why not.

+ the writing

I love the video game theme, but the book could have done better at explaining the lingo. It took me a long time before I finally understood what “Marks” meant. I understood the word in the general sense (I watch TV), but I didn’t understand the context behind the word. Vol wasn’t a con artist or thief or anything similar, and the VR tourists weren’t being ripped off. So why did Vol hold such high contempt for them? I was unable to discern an answer.

Though I can make an educated guess, I still don’t really understand what Weavers and Spinners are. In short, a glossary at the end of the book would have done some good.

In Conclusion

I rate Endgame 2-stars for it was okay. The book boasted braggadocio. Thankfully, it was a relatively quick and easy read, and the splash of befuddlement was tolerable.

Goodreads | Amazon

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