So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to know?
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. In the game, 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.
A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my thoughts in any way.
Damn, I really don’t know what to make of Rush. I have to admit that the blurb and cover made me a tad bit excited; I anticipated this book for months. Before reading, I got The Hunger Games vibes from it, but after I finished the book, I can safely conclude it has more of a Divergent feel than anything else, with its fast-paced and action-packed scenes. But yet, it left me half fulfilled and half… empty. It’s not a bad book. In fact, I’d go ahead and say it’s better than some published YA sci-fi stuff out there, but like others before me, I liked some parts and vehemently hated many others. Let’s wing it again, shall we? Trust me, ramblings will abound.
The plot is actually pretty simple. It’s not something that would exercise your mind and leave you wondering about the meaning of life for days on end, but it’s successful in a way that it would leave you entertained. It’s reasonably paced and full of well-written action scenes that I couldn’t get enough of, but it has also left me confused and full of questions. For the first… I dunno, 85% of the book, we’re left in the dark with regards to the “Game”. So apparently aliens are coming to take over the world, but instead of fighting them head-on, certain teenagers who has met death are chosen to fight them in a sort of parallel dimension/alternate reality. You get points for every kill, penalties for every injury, and if you complete the mission you “respawn” in real life, healed and miraculously unscathed.
As someone who doesn’t quickly suspend her disbelief, I found this concept intriguing, but full of loopholes as well, and I was hungry for answers. What? How? WHY?? Quoting from a status update, why do they have to do it when they “die”? Why can’t they kill them outright? Why this game? Why are there fucking points every time you kill something if these things aren’t even video game enemies but REAL enemies? It doesn’t help the fact that every time the main character would ask something that would help her (and us!!!) understand the situation, the people with the information wouldn’t offer her any answers. Jackson (or should I say Jackass? Okay, I kid – he came off as a douche but he did soften my heart later) would give her cryptic and one-word responses, teasing the main character, teasing us, and I just found all of that completely unnecessary. I mean, dude! The fuck! Why are you stalling important information?!?!
I mean, seriously. There were times when the withholding of vital info became a tad old and annoying. So, there was this scene where something happened in a facility in Arizona. It was apparently so huge and so fucked-up it left the other team members quite traumatized. Of course, we have to know what happened, right? Why mention it if it isn’t important? But when you get the following lines, you just won’t help but feel steam coming out of your ears:
“Tell me, it might save my life.”
“If it isn’t like Arizona, there’s no reason for you to know.”
“And it if is like Arizona?”
“Then you’ll find out soon enough.”
Okay. So he won’t give her fucking answers either way. DAFUQ!! It was highly frustrating for me to have to follow this set-up. We DO get answers later on, but we’ll reaaally have to wait for a while for them to really make any fucking sense. And the explanations? They weren’t even worth the wait. You’d think they’d have explosive, gut-wrenching explanations for this and that, but noooo… they were so “random” and “trivial”, you’d find yourself asking, “THEN WHY ALL THE FUCKING SECRECY!!!
Aside from that, though, I think the plot was pretty decent. There are still a lot of unanswered questions and loopholes I want explained, but hey! There will still be succeeding books so I hope those get explored.
The heroine, though? It really took me some time to like her. In fact, I only started to like her in the last 10-15%. The rest? I felt like bitch slapping some sense into her. GIRL, SERIOUSLY! She prided herself as having 8 years of kendo under her belt, trained by her grandfather who was a master, but in the first few missions they had, she was as helpless as a newborn babe. I got that she was scared, but there’s this thing called common sense, and it seemed like she didn’t have it in the first half of the book. She’d be warned not to do this, not to do that, be careful of this and that, but she would go ahead and do all of them anyway D: No, girl, no!
She would oftentimes try to be sarcastic and witty, but they’d always come off as trying hard and sometimes mean and insensitive. According to her, this was because sarcasm’s her defense mechanism when she encounters something she doesn’t understand, but it only left me rolling my eyes. There was even a point where she also withheld vital information from her teammates, which only seemed to me as hypocritical, especially since she was so flabbergasted with all the secrecy, and here she went, doing the very same thing she hated getting from her peers.
She did get better in the last 30 or so percent, though. When she became assertive and finally pulled her shit together, I became proud of her and really felt she was as strong as she bragged herself to be. The only downside is we have to wait for a while for that to happen, but hey, better than nothing, eh?
I did find the romance quite… weird. I didn’t think the blossoming relationship between Jackson and Miki had any real substance and foundation. It seemed to me that they just suddenly liked and *loved* each other out of the blue. I wish there were more developments and instances that would justify their bond with each other. Half of the time they were together, Jackson was being a douche with his cryptic nonanswers. I mean, if I were Miki, I’d be punching the lights out of him T_T It did get a tad sweet later on so that’s forgiven. Luka’s sudden romance and interest in Carly did strike me as the oddest thing ever, though.. It was like, completely random. As in I found myself asking, “Did I miss something? Why’d he suddenly like her and why are they suddenly flirting??’ I hope this gets explored in the later books, though… OR ELSE!! O_O
I kid. There’s no ‘or else’. AND DAMN YOU CLIFFHANGER
Ok. That’s a long-winded review.
* If you’re a fan of Divergent and fast-paced, action-packed books, I think this one will be right your alley. I found such instances highly enjoyable and fun to read, and I was able to visualize them in my mind as if I was playing a movie.
* Ge this if you want to read a concept that’s highly intriguing. The game set-up is pretty fun to read, but you may need to wait for a bit to make sense if you’re the questioning type like me. Otherwise, it’s all entertaining.
* The main character was highly annoying at first. But I approved of her once she grew some balls, so, yeah. If you find yourself being irritated, stick to it; she’ll get better.
Final verdict: 3.5 / 5 stars
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