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Me on Books

Me on Books features reviews of young adult novels, the occasional middle grade or graphic novel, and promotes Canadian young adult authors as much as possible. :)

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For Darkness Shows the Stars
Diana Peterfreund
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Lauren DeStefano

Rush: Book One of The Game

Rush - Eve Silver When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game, her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. Inside, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.Rush is a fast-paced battle for survival with teenagers forced into a battle they never expected, forced to eliminate a threat they never knew existed, all for reasons unknown and unexplained. When Miki gets pulled into the game, nothing is under her control anymore, and she's forced to decide whether or not to join in the fight. If she does, she survives. If she doesn't, it's game over.The vagueness and the lack of explanation at the start leaves the reader as much in the dark as Miki is left in, forcing both to constantly pay attention, forcing both to learn what must be done in order to stay alive. The others in the group know more because they've been in the game longer, but no one knows everything. No one knows the entire truth. Except for one person.Miki needs to be in control, she needs to know what's going on so she can be in complete control of the situation. But things in the game are kept from her, reasons and answers she desperately wants, and so she flounders and pushes back at Jackson in her need to be in control. It's like she has an anxiety disorder: Miki needs to be in control, because once everything is under her control everything will work out and no one will get hurt. If she isn't in control, she can't fix it.One thing that happened near the beginning that put me off was Miki's almost instant thought of, after seeing Jackson for the first time, how attractive he is. I didn't find it important at all. Miki has questions, she has concerns, she has no idea what she's been pulled into or where she is, and one of the first thoughts she has (not her exact first thought) is how good-looking this strange boy that she's never met is. She even acknowledges that her finding him good-looking shouldn't be a priority, yet it is. And she doesn't even like him, he keeps the truth from her and the rest of the group. It makes her look shallow and unfocused, especially when you consider her need for control and order.This is one of those books where 'seemingly ordinary' teens are taken and tossed blindly into a complicated and extremely deadly situation. No prep, no instruction, just instant danger. They're being pushed, pushed to their limits, pushed to see how far they will go. How strong are they, how tough are they, how quickly can they think and move and run. Who or what is in control of the game? How are they manipulating space and time to pull them in from all over? What is the truth?Hidden motives abound in this book, those of the ones in charge of the game, those of the Drau, even those of Jackson. Who is he really? Is there a way out of the game?I expected a different kind of science fiction novel when I started this. I expected more science fiction, I expected a distant future and a sudden shift in Miki from her life to her new life in the game, perhaps something similar to Monica Hughes' classic Invitation to the Game. Instead I found a modern setting with science fiction elements, with video game references and shifts through space and time, with dark pasts on distant planets and danger always on the horizon.I found myself intrigued by the game and the reason for its existence but not necessarily a fan of both the instant attraction and how early in the book it occurred. I'm curious enough in the game and the plot itself to want to know how the series will play out.