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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review: The End Games by T. Michael Martin

TITLE: The End Games 
AUTHOR: T. Michael Martin 
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Children/Balzer + Bray
FORMAT: Hardcover, 369 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Horror, Science Fiction/Dystopia
ISBN: 9780062201805
It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

T. Michael Martin’s debut novel is a transcendent thriller filled with electrifying action, searing emotional insight, and unexpected romance.


I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. 

Well, I finished it. That’s saying something, right?

When I read the synopsis for The End Games, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it: A 17 year-old guy and his 5 year-old brother who survive an apocalypse and try to make their way to the Charleston Safe Zone, battling zombies (called "Bellows" in this book) along the way, so that they can be reunited with their mom. I love “end of the world” books, especially those with zombies. So, why did I have such a problem getting into it?

This was one of those books that I had to slog my way through. It wasn’t that the writing was bad. I think my main problem with it was the lack of connection to the hero of the story, Michael Faris. He sounds like a great guy who is very protective of his younger brother, who I am guessing is autistic. In fact, Michael and Patrick had run away from home on the night that the apocalypse struck because their step-father wanted Patrick to be institutionalized. In order to keep Patrick from having a melt-down as a result of the chaos surrounding them, Michael told him that the apocalypse is just a game and that they are role-playing. Aside from that, we don’t really know that much about Michael except that he was a bit of a loner in school and was definitely not one of the cool kids.

It took me a really long time to get into this book. Many times, I just couldn’t keep my eyes open because I was so bored. I expected it to be a lot more action-packed, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t until I actually started waking up a little early to try to read first thing in the morning that I started to make some head-way into the story, and it wasn’t until I was in over 200 pages that I actually started to like it.

Michael and his brother meet up with four other survivors: A US Army Captain named Horace Jopek whose personality is not unlike their abusive step-father, a kind middle-aged woman named Bobbie Louise, and a pair of teenage siblings named Hank and Holly – Hank, who is the epitome of the school jock, looks upon Jopek as their saviour and Holly, who is a bit of a brainy nerd.

I would have liked to know the back-story of why the apocalypse took place. Instead, I felt like I was thrust into this story and wandered around aimlessly, just like Michael and Patrick.

For me, this debut was a disappointment.

View all my reviews


  1. Sorry you didn't enjoy this =( The synopsis sounded so promising. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Cat @ A2H

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Cat! I thought it sounded promising as well.

  2. oh no, not connecting with the hero, boring plot, and no world building? those definitely turn me off to any book.. I was really looking forward to it but I've read more than one review like yours.. I can't afford to dive into another reading slump so soon!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

    1. Hi, Juhina. I was stuck on this book for nearly seven weeks! I was determined to stick it out and hoped it would get better but, honestly, it wasn't worth the time I put in :(


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