Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Title: Metagame

Author: Sam Landstrom

Publisher: AmazonEncore

ISBN: 1935597167

Release Date: 2010

Page Number: 400
Price: 9.45$ Paperback

D_Light has just killed someone. It was self defense (mostly). It was legal. And technically, it was just part of a game. But in D_Light's world, the game is something almost everyone is part of, and it's dead serious. In the game there are rules that, when in effect, let you kill others in exchange for a small fortune each time. There are humanoid products made by playing with genetics which are used for everything from servants to sex toys. There are smaller games, games that make you work out in exchange for fun, games that make work fun, and the most exclusive and rewarding of all, there are the metagames, which only royalty and their advisers can participate. And when D_Light kills the handmaiden of one of his royal 'mothers', D_Light finds himself a participating adviser in one such game.

Their first task is to find a specific criminal. That's when D_Light meets Lily. Lily isn't in the database as a criminal, or anything else for that matter. Except she tries to interfere with the catching of the criminal and gets branded one herself. That's when D_Light sees a way to profit, and agrees to help her escape capture with the intent of making the chase into a game against the game system itself. He figures he'll turn her in at the end, and get credits for showing flaws in the system. Except, instead of proving himself, D_Light becomes a criminal himself. But if his team can complete the metagame without being caught, he'll be pardoned. It's just a matter of winning the game.

I am a sucker for novels set in worlds like this. Anything with a futuristic theme where the entire world has changed some how. I loved Uglies, I loved The Giver, and when I saw this, I was prepared to love this from the start. I'm still not sure if the book delivered on my expectations.

The plot to Metagame isn't really all that particularly interesting. The main characters play a game, follow instructions, find some chick that they bring with them, follow more instructions, end. There are a few plot twists, action sequences, etc, but the storyline isn't anything to write home about. It's average.

But the setting to the novel is what MAKES this book. Metagame is set in a world where every is a part of a massive game. In this futuristic society, 'working' has been replaced by grinding games which get the work accomplished while utilizing the same psychological draw of video games: visible, steady rewards. Games that are just for fun force you to work out as you play them. The people consist of 'families', where you may not be genetically related, but anyone high enough in rank to you is your mother or father. There's a rule which, when used, states you can kill anyone and get away with it. Everything about Metagame's universe is different, but it's explained in short, light ways. There aren't entire chapters dedicated to explaining away plot holes or anything, but the explanations are nicely woven into the storyline.

While the storyline might not be amazing, reading about the different kinds of 'products', the games within the games, the very houses that people in Metagame live in, makes up for any 'bleh' factors of the plot.

The characters aren't particularly notable in any way, good or bad. None of the characters of Metagame are particularly bad, but neither are they particularly good. The main character has his share of quirks, as does Lily, but the rest of his team seem a little bland overall. The most interesting character of the metagame team, in my opinion, is the product which does and says the least.

Metagame isn't spectacular, and it certainly isn't going to be the next The Giver, but that's okay. It's a pretty good book for 'just for fun' reading, and I honestly think the setting makes it work reading all on its own. I'd recommend it to fans of the Uglies trilogy, as well as anyone who enjoys reading about futuristic worlds.

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