[Book Review #12] Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton


Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

For ten thousand years the lines have existed in secret. The 12 original lines of humanity. Each had to have a Player prepared at all times. They have trained generation after generation after generation. In weapons, languages, history, tactics, disguise assassination. Together the players are everything: strong, kind, ruthless, loyal, smart, stupid, ugly, lustful, mean, fickle, beautiful, calculating, lazy, exuberant, weak. They are good and evil. Like you. Like all.

This is Endgame.

When the game starts, the players will have to find three keys. The keys are somewhere on earth. The only rule of their Endgame is that there are no rules. Whoever finds the keys first wins the game. Endgame: The Calling is about the hunt for the first key. And just as it tells the story of the hunt for a hidden key, written into the book is a puzzle. It invites readers to play their own Endgame and to try to solve the puzzle. Whoever does will open a case filled with gold. Alongside the puzzle will be a revolutionary mobile game built by Google’s Niantic Labs that will allow you to play a real-world version of Endgame where you can join one of the lines and do battle with people around you.

Will exuberance beat strength? Stupidity top kindness? Laziness thwart beauty? Will the winner be good or evil? There is only one way to find out.

People of Earth.
Endgame has begun.

Book Specifications:

Author: James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton

Format: Hardcover

Part of a Series: Yes. Endgame #1

Release Date: October 7, 2014

Publisher: HarperTeen

No. of Pages: 477 pages

Price: 695.00Php

Genre: Young Adult, Action, Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery, Thriller, Dystopian

Book Review:

The Cover: Featuring a gold background with an insignia / symbol in the middle, the cover was certainly plain yet meaningful. And if you’ll look closely, the procedures of Endgame are opaquely displayed between the lines of the golden background. It was simple, yet highly elegant and regal. I loved it. (5 out of 5 stars)

The Story: With shades of The Hunger Games, Endgame: The Calling is a thrilling novel filled with detailed action & confrontation scenes, brain twisting (not to mention, interactive) puzzles perfectly paired with graphic images and last, but not the least, a few servings of romance and swoon. I am extremely fond of reading books with stories like this. There wasn’t a time when I was bored reading this book. Now, moving forward, to some people, the story might seem like it’s been completely copied from the bestselling series by Suzanne Collins, but what made it stand out is the interactive puzzles (which I will further discuss below). I must actually defend this book for its uniqueness. I loved it, and I don’t care what other people say. (5 out of 5 stars)

The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.* I’m so glad that Sarah Alopay, the all-American Cahokian, acquired the Earth Key. I’ve been rooting for her, and Jago Tllaloc, the Olmec, from the start! I don’t know why, but it just seemed that her story line was the most relatable for me, hence, the obvious favoritism of the character. Don’t get me wrong, I adored the fact that all the 12 players came from different lines, and cultures, but for me, Sarah’s story stood out because of it’s modernity and relatability. To add to that, I ship Sarah with Jago!!! Am I the only one who thinks they’re cute? Their budding romance happens to be cute to me for reasons I can’t even comprehend. And as for Christopher, Sarah’s clingy ex-boyfriend who can’t take a hint, it’s your own fault you’re dead. Why didn’t you just listen? *sighs* lastly, to move the topic away from Sarah Alopay, the revelation of the Sky Key within Shari Chopra’s grasp was quite intriguing. It felt like the story’s final pages were a cliffhanger to me. But I loved it, nonetheless. (5 out of 5 stars)

Additional Insight: If you guys must know, the mysterious puzzles, may be solved not only by the 12 characters/players in the book. We, the readers, can also go against the players, and interpret clues, piece together the puzzle pieces, and claim the prize of $500,000 worth of Gold Coins. The prize can also be viewed here. Interesting, right? Now, moving forward, one more thing that seemed to be highly criticized about this book, which I also have to defend, is the authors’ writing style. To some people, the writing style seemed basic. To them, it felt like reading a recipe. Step by step processes. But for me, it was one of the book’s strengths. The story’s aim was to give the readers several glimpses of what they were doing and feeling to give them ample chances to solve the mystery of Endgame. For me, without this “basic” writing style, the readers might not stand a chance against the 12 players in solving the puzzle. (++)

The Verdict: Overall, I have to say that for a start in a series, this book is superb! The Calling is just book 1 of the Endgame series, and yet, it’s already filled with great amounts of action, mystery, and romance. I will certainly wait for the sequel as well as the novellas. Can’t wait! I recommend this book to everyone! (5 out 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:

 “You are hard because hardness is what made you. But with me you were gentle. It is in you as well. Kindness. Empathy. Generosity.” – Chiyoko Takeda

“I’m not gonna let you die. And if you have to win to stay alive, then I am coming with you. I don’t give a shit about the rules.” – Christopher Vanderkamp

“My secret is that I have no secrets.” – Sarah Alopay

“She prays for luck and deliverance. But mostly she prays for vengeance.” – Shari Chopra


One thought on “[Book Review #12] Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton

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