Ted Kosmatka‘s first novel receives our latest starred review. The Games has nothing to do with The Hunger Games, although it is a dystopian thriller that deals with a gladiatorial fight to the death (or rather, destruction), in a great blend of horror and science fiction.
Library Journal named The Games a science fiction/fantasy debut of the month, as did Amazon. There’s a terrific interview with the author on the Amazon blog, Omnivoracious. The Games widely draws comparisons to Michael Crichton’s work, and Jurassic Park in particular.
The first 50 pages are up on Scribd.
Adult/High School–Kosmatka’s debut novel is a slow-building, technological thriller that revs up like a racecar with a dose of bad attitude and steadily creeping horror. In the future, the Olympic gladiator contest sets the bar for world technological domination. The competition has one rule: no human DNA is allowed in the creation of the gladiators. Evan Chandler, an emotionally barren spatial genius, has designed the Bannin, a computer so advanced that it only operates in VR. Tasked with creating the next U.S. gladiator, the computer’s single directive is that the gladiator “Survive the competition.” The creature is so alien that Silas Williams, the head of biodevelopment, is full of misgivings and completely in the dark about its capabilities. Told through multiple points of view and with a hefty dose of technical genetic jargon, this is speculative fiction at its best, reflecting moral, philosophical, and ethical questions, set in a highly politicized arena. It all comes down to money, sponsorships, and greed, encapsulated in a humanitarian “good for the future” mentality. At its heart, The Games is a cautionary tale of what happens when man oversteps his bounds and takes his chances at playing god. Kosmatka has left the ending wide open for a sequel. Teens who enjoy the karmic boomerang of authors like Michael Crichton or Preston and Child should eat this up.–Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI