Endgame: The Calling by James Frey

The book is far less intriguing than the real-world game that stems from it. It’s clearly created in the same thinking of young adult thrillers like Hunger Games and The Maze Runner. That’s not inherently a bad thing, but the book is so blandly following that formula that I really couldn’t care less about what happens to any of the characters.

The cover is niftier than its lack of substance.
The cover is niftier than its lack of substance.

When a particular character died it was meant to be a pretty emotional moment in the story’s arc, but I really only felt glee that it might force one of the leads to become the slightest bit interesting. Every sympathetic character is also incredibly static. We have lots of well-trained hard-edged kids put in a tough situation… and they all stay exactly the same. Snooze.

The only reason I picked up this book is because it’s a project of Niantic Labs. These are the same folks who make the Ingress game I’m so in love with. Ingress and Endgame aren’t really connected, they’re just two different projects from Niantic. But I love one, so I figured I’d give the other a try. And the bit that doesn’t disappoint? The augmented reality outside of the book.

You see, there’s some ‘Endgame Gold’ being held at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. You can see it in person, or check out the live stream at EndgameGold.com. The gold coins are worth $500,000 and there’s a global contest happening right now in the real world to win it. How do you win? You read this book, decipher the clues within it, and find the key to the case.

If nobody figures out the puzzle(s) and claims the gold by October 7th, 2016, the contest will end. Full rules for the game are at EndgameRules.com.

I find that pretty damn intriguing, even if it is just a publicity stunt. But I really wouldn’t know where to begin with the clues (and red herrings) found in the book. There’s got to be hundreds of pieces of information included that may help you figure out the puzzle or lead you down a rabbit hole. I’m not intrigued enough to take up cryptology as a hobby, but it was enough to get me to buy the book for $4 used.

There’s more books coming, and probably a movie and junk too. I don’t really care. You can play some other games in the Endgame universe that will shape the story of the upcoming books… but you can’t make dull characters interesting without change, and this story refuses to make that choice.


Endgame: The Calling by James Frey
Amazon ; Goodreads ; Wikipedia

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