I’m a judge for the Self-Published Science Fiction Contest, and while the semi-finalists are out, I’ve been circling back and reading through books from other groups that looked intriguing.
The Immortality Game by Ted Cross
Zoya is working prepping corpses when her brother convinces her to bring him a package. When things go south as she goes to deliver the package, she discovers that she has been handed potentially world-changing technology–and that people are willing to kill to get it from her. The action in The Immortality Game starts off fast and very rarely lets the foot off the gas even a little bit. Front-to-back, action moves quickly, bullets are flying, and revelations come fast and hard.
What I found interesting was that the bad guys’ stories were the ones that slowed the pace down at all. Indeed, I’d say it’s arguably true that the villains got more development than Zoya through the course of the novel. I’m not saying that as a complaint. It’s rare that I actually am looking forward to seeing what the villains are up to. Cross makes at least some of the villains into interesting characters in their own right, and I thought it was an interesting move to have the protagonist be basically straight action scenes with the villains having explanations for their motivations and why they’re chasing her and fighting in the background.
Cross also uses the premise of the novel to raise a bunch of interesting questions. It’s got a lot of cyberpunk tech, but the kind that feels more possibly real than not. With that kind of tech, some of the questions are typical to this subgenre, but occasionally I was surprised by how Cross approached the questions from a different angle. Instead of having brains wired for receiving chips as a voluntary thing, something only the rich or privileged get, or some other twist, in this world it’s become compulsory. A few subtle turns of the formula make the book more interesting than it otherwise would have been.
As an aside for those who like audiobooks- I listened to a copy of the book on Audible. I thought the reader did a good job with different voices and cadence throughout the novel.
The Immortality Game is an action-packed cyberpunk thriller. While Cross never had me rooting for the bad guys, he did make them into more interesting characters than they typically are. I would recommend this book to fans of cyberpunk and fast-moving sci-fi.
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I received a copy of the book for review.
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