Book Review: THE GOD GAME – morality and A.I.

๐™”๐™ค๐™ช ๐™–๐™ง๐™š ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ซ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™š๐™™!
๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ข๐™š ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™จ๐™ž๐™™๐™š ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฎ ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™‚.๐™Š.๐˜ฟ.
๐˜ฝ๐™ง๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™›๐™ง๐™ž๐™š๐™ฃ๐™™๐™จ!
๐™„๐™ฉโ€™๐™จ ๐™›๐™ช๐™ฃ!
๐˜ฝ๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™ง๐™š๐™ข๐™š๐™ข๐™—๐™š๐™ง ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ง๐™ช๐™ก๐™š๐™จ. ๐™’๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐˜ผ๐™‡๐™‡ ๐™”๐™Š๐™๐™ ๐˜ฟ๐™๐™€๐˜ผ๐™ˆ๐™Ž ๐˜พ๐™Š๐™ˆ๐™€ ๐™๐™๐™๐™€.โ„ข
๐™‡๐™ค๐™จ๐™š, ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™™๐™ž๐™š!

Happy Publication Day to The God Game!

Charlie, founder of the Vindicators, a group of misfit teens at an Austin, Texas high school, receives an invitation to play the God Game. Spiraling downward since his mother died a year ago, he has nothing to lose by accepting, and his friends, the Vindicators, Peter, Vahni, Kenny, and Alex join as well.

Playing through their cell phones, the game overlays the real world with fantastic imagery, adding details like hanging vines in the school halls. When they play against imaginary beasts only to gain Goldz in the game which they can exchange for advantages, the God Game seems harmless.

But soon, it intrudes on the real world. They are asked to make illicit deliveries, perform errands, and complete tasks, after which they receive more Goldz and rewards like an ATM that dispenses cash freely. When they go against the game, however, they receive Blaxx, and the punishment might be more than theyโ€™ve bargained forโ€”how much further will Charlie fall before he can get himself and his friends out of the gameโ€ฆ if they game will even let them leave.

With short chapters and lots of action, The God Game by Danny Tobey is a quick and exciting read. Though the characters, who, if not always likeable, are interesting, are playing an AI game, the technology is subordinated to questions of morality. Before the Vindicators began playing the game, they each had secrets they considered shameful. The game further isolated them by requiring them to engage in behavior that ordinarily would be against their ethics. The pleasure of the book is both in the fascination of the gameโ€™s context and watching the characters handle the increasingly demanding and dangerous game while losing trust in each other.

At times, I thought Tobey shifted between points of view too quickly, without enough transition, and I was left with questionsโ€”such as how could so many people be playing an underground game. The book, though, was very entertaining, and I thought Tobey nailed the ending. The God Game is not just for readers who like books such as Ready Player One and Slay but also those who want to explore the impact of technology on morality or who just like a fast-paced, fun story.

Thank you to St. Martinโ€™s Press for providing me with an advance reading copy!

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