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January 17, 2014 / Leslie

Review: Game by Anders de la Motte

Game by Anders de la MotteGame
by Anders de la Motte

Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publish Date: December 3, 2013 (Orig Aug. 2010)
Format: Paperback | 400 pages
Rating: 4 of 5

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Aimless young Henrik “HP” Petterson finds a cellphone on a Stockholm train that invites him to play a game: in no time, he’s embarking on daring, high-stakes missions that turn his ordinary life extraordinary. HP loves the thrill, and the rewards, but is there a sinister side to the seemingly innocent contest?

Meanwhile, ambitious Detective Rebecca Normén is moving up the career ladder in the Swedish Secret Service but is troubled by the handwritten notes she keeps finding in her locker. Whoever writes them knows way too much about her past. HP’s and Rebecca’s worlds inevitably collide. But if reality is just a game, then what is real?

My Thoughts:

If I find a shiny new phone on a train, I’m heading for the lost and found – but that’s not what Henrik “HP” Petterson would do. Someone meant for HP to find that phone and they knew he would pick it up and keep it; they knew he would play “The Game”.

At first “The Game” directs HP to pull a few pranks and cause some mischief and in return awards him online status and nominal cash payments. HP can certainly use the money having no other income, and he loves the online attention and comments he gets from video posted of his game missions. But soon these tasks begin to escalate into dangerous assignments that can cause real harm to HP and to others.

HP was not a very likable character, nor was he someone I could feel much sympathy for, and yet his antics were compelling enough to keep my interest. As awful as he was in the beginning, his character does show improvement by the end of the book. Rebecca, a young police detective, is responsible and likable, the opposite of HP, but a troubled woman guarding a secret.

The novel shifts perspective between HP and Rebecca, often multiple times within a chapters. At first I wasn’t always clear who was speaking, but once I became accustomed to the style and the relationship between HP and Rebecca was revealed the book flowed much more smoothly. While these are not well-developed characters, the author peels back just enough layers to give us the information we need to understand their motivations. The main focus is on the action and “The Game”.

This was an interesting premise and something that could actually happen – or maybe somewhere it already has. The concept is original, fast-paced and fun. I enjoyed the humor and cultural references scattered throughout. One that made me laugh was when a small airplane chases HP across a field and tries to mow him down and he begins to yell that he’s “Cary Grant stuck in a Hitchcock movie”. (Ok, it was funnier in context.)

The final third of the book accelerates keeping the reader on the edge of their seat for a mostly unexpected ending. I say mostly because I did see one of the twists plot coming, but that in no way diminished my enjoyment. In the end, enough of the major plot points were wrapped up to make this work as a stand alone novel but there are also many questions left open for the second novel in the trilogy. The game isn’t over.

Source: Review copy provided by Atria Books.
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Leave a Comment
  1. BermudaOnion / Jan 17 2014 10:33 am

    That does sound like something that could happen!


  2. Suko / Jan 17 2014 2:06 pm

    Terrific review, Leslie! The Game sounds like a thrilling thriller. I’ll bet this would make a good audiobook as well.


  3. Sheila (Book Journey) / Jan 17 2014 3:36 pm

    OOH that sounds good… I wonder how it would be on audio?


    • Leslie / Jan 17 2014 4:02 pm

      It was very good, and I’ve got the egalley for the next book which I’ll be starting soon.

      As for audio, I think it would depend on the narrator. POV changes a lot, sometimes after only a few paragraphs. If I was going to listen to this, and from what I can see it’s not out in audio yet, I’d prefer two narrators.


  4. Leeswammes / Jan 19 2014 12:26 pm

    I enjoyed this, too. I didn’t realize it is going to be a trilogy. In my library this book was in the YA section, which I think makes sense, although it’s certainly a good read for any adult as well.


    • Leslie / Jan 19 2014 1:29 pm

      I didn’t think of this as a YA book because the characters were older, but I suppose it could be based on the topic. The trilogy was published a few years ago but is only now available in English. I just received book 2 from NetGalley.


      • Leeswammes / Jan 19 2014 2:03 pm

        Thanks, I looked and found it too! See if I get approved…


  5. stacybuckeye / Jan 26 2014 7:51 pm

    Intriguing review! I think I’ll be adding it to my wish list!


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