Genius – The Game (Leopold Gout) – Review (Minor Spoilers)
Rex, Painted Wolf and Tunde are considered geniuses. They are only teenagers but they are people who have skills that many will never have. Rex is an expert hacker. Tunde is a mechanical and technical wiz who uses what he has around him to make his creations. Painted Wolf knows how to get around obstacles to expose the truth.
Together the three of them have created an online group. They are best friends, helping each other when needed and relying on each other for understanding. Then they are all invited to join in The Game, a mysterious competition that it said to change their lives. They find out that there is much more to this game than they initially thought.
I picked up this book because I liked the sound of the story. I have read this premise before, the mystery game that will change lives. It is not a new concept but it is one that can be done a hundred different ways. Change the way the game is run and those competing and you have a whole new story. So, I was interested to see where this book would take that idea.
Genius The Game, had all the pieces but unfortunately they did not end up fitting together right. The characters were good. Rex, Painted Wolf and Tunde come from whole different worlds. They live in different countries, with vastly different families and life conditions. I liked that they built this strong friendship despite their differences. When they met face-to-face for the first time at the competition they melded together well. There was no tension, it was like they had always hung out. I liked that.
The biggest problem I had with the story was that the subplots didn’t feel like they fit in well enough with the main plot. The main plot is The Game. Everyone wants to win it, for some reward. (Though no one knows what that really is.) Then each of the characters has their own subplot.
Rex needs to find his brother, who disappeared mysteriously. Tunde has to build a Jammer for a war lord who is threatening his village and family. Painted Wolf wants to find out what her father has gotten himself tied up in.
The problem is that each of these stories feel like they were put in, in order to give the characters an excuse to go to this Game. The pretige and reward is not enough. Rex wants to use the quantum computer, Tunde needs the advanced technology available and Painted Wolf wants to follow the head guy in order to find out what her father is doing. I found it odd that they needed a further excuse to get to this Game. The Game wasn’t enough for them, which was strange.
The subplots would have been fine if they had been developed. The summary that I gave above was about all the amount of detail we got about them. I wanted more. I wanted to know if Tunde had a history with the war lord. Why choose Tunde? I wanted to know more about Painted Wolf’s father. Is he a shady character usually? Or someone who is gullible? What kind of relationship was there between Rex and his brother? How much did his disappearance really affect the family?
We got an idea that they all had other things to worry about but nothing too deep. I wanted these plots to develop the characters more, but they didn’t. They didn’t inform me of the characters or change them really at all.
I also had an issue with the believability of some of the plot points. First this Game is just something that pops up one day. The participants get the invitation and are told where to go. They have no other details.
These are teenagers, some who are as young as eleven. I do not see how all their parents just sent their kids on their way without one question. They just nod and say sure. They have no idea who will be there, what the place is like or who is in charge. My parents would have had like thousand questions about this. Few parents just let their kids run around the country or world without some questions or concerns.
Once at The Game Tunde has to not only win The Game but he also has to create a Jammer. I am not a tech person, so I am not sure how much time this stuff takes but I have a feeling it would be a while. In the story, they have two days to solve riddles and also to build this Jammer. He has to not only design it but build and test it. I feel like doing that plus solving the puzzles would take much more time. I just could not see how he could do both.
He builds the Jammer in a few hours without a problem. There is no urgency or sense that he would not do it in time. I wanted a tension between the two. I wanted him to almost to have to decide between the two, but never did. He completed it and moved on, no problem.
I did enjoy most of the story. It ended in a cliffhanger so I am curious how it will end. It just wish that there had been more depth included in the story. If the stories twined together better I think it would have been a much stronger story.