Erebos by Ursula Poznanski and translated by Judith Pattinson0
An intelligent computer game with a disturbing agenda.
When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname.
Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game.
Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur. This utterly convincing and suspenseful thriller originated in Germany, where it has become a runaway bestseller.
It's such an awesome read. I loved it.
Erebos by Ursula Poznanski captures the reader's attention from the get go. It is the story of Nick, a sixteen-year-old who doesn't exactly have the best home life, as he becomes immersed in this virtual world. However, the lines between virtual and real become blurred as he is sent on missions not only in the game but also in his real life. There is no questioning in his mind that whatever this game maybe, it is definitely worth doing some measly missions to keep playing. His addiction continues to grow stronger as the missions continue to grow harder until he reaches his breaking point. Does he do what the game says and risk his real life or ignore his mission and be banned from this world he slowly can't see living without?
This story is incredibly well written. Everything seems to be so fleshed out that I can see myself chilling with Nick as he travels through the novel, struggling with his addiction. The descriptions are perfect in my mind because they give enough of an image to place the reader in the scene without bogging down the narrative of the story. All of the places Nick visits feel familiar, for they are familiar to him. It was so easy to allow myself to sink into the character and never want to get out.
The game is pure epic-ness and I could totally see myself playing it... which is bad. Yeah, oh well, I would totally play it. Even though it's sort of creepy and weird. And I would probably run away when they asked me to do something in real life but I would play it. Anyway, onto the review:
Nick was a pretty cool character, he is very relatable from the beginning. At least, I can see my friends acting like he does in the first chapter. I smiled a lot through all of the interactions he had with other people because he (and yup, I am a she) reminds me of myself. Addictive personalities run in my family and so it's really easy for me to become addicted to television shows and book series which leads me to replay until the show quits working or reread until the binding of the book is worn out. It was refreshing to see his behavior as an accurate portrayal of what addiction really looks like, especially when that person feels like they are sworn to secrecy. I personally like that he becomes attached to the game, well truthfully everyone does, and that he doesn't exactly try to hide his excitement even if he redirects it to something complete separate. After all, he is sworn to secrecy.
All of his friends play an interesting part of the story. Colin, who is introduced at the very beginning of the first chapter, is essentially Nick's best friend. Which is why he finds it disturbing to have his friend suddenly stop showing interest in him, in the things they did, and really anything in general. Of course, he takes interest in whatever the issue is and pushes to know more, although it is extremely dangerous. Their friendship is constantly shifting from they can tolerate each other to they can't even stand to be in the same room.
The next "friend" I want to bring up is Brynne. She is a case A girl who thinks her unrequited crush is definitely requited. It surprised me, though, how much of a part she actually had to play in the story. The awkward side plot love interests are typically forgotten once the real one comes along but she just keeps popping up. She totally reminds me of my brother's stalker. LOL but that's a story for a completely different time. Anyway, she is probably one of the most interesting characters of the whole story because she has a lot of depth and drive in what she does. It's funny to see how people react in real life and then in the game. I totally had no idea who her character was until the end and I was basically blown away.
Helen. I almost don't know quite how to describe her because I don't think I will describe her well enough. She is basically the girl that everyone picks on and she knows that she will never be a popular kid or even a normal one. From the first point she is introduced, I knew that I would feel a lot of regret by the end of the story for how Nick and his friends treated her. It's not hard to believe that she was pulled into the game because it seemed like it targeted people who were down or lost. Even until the very end, I felt an undying sympathy towards the girl who was mistreated and definitely misunderstood.
The last character I am going to talk about is the real love interest of the whole story, Emily. I really wish she would've played a bigger part in the beginning because I liked her character as the story progressed. At first she came off a bit abrasive and just not very interesting as the main romance for Nick. She slowly came to her sense, so to speak, and became to awesome character I knew she would be. I definitely approve of the Nick and Emily relationship, just throwing it out there, because I didn't at first.
This book was great. I really really loved it. It's worth reading and it gives you the chills. It sucks you in until you feel like you just can't not read it in one sitting. Seriously, check it out.