DNF: The End Games by T. Michael Martin

Title: The End Games
Author: T. Michael Martin
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Pages: 369, Hardcover
Source: Library

It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

I tried guys, I really did. I just... I can't. I can't. And here's why:

1. I had no idea what the hell was going on. Nope, not a clue. Are they playing a game or not? At first I was convinced they were. Then I got to page 61, and I was convinced they weren't. By page 110, I don't have the damnedest idea. And...

2. What the hell? Ok, so they are running from zombies. {Got it.}They are trying to get to the Safe Zone. {Ok I am still with you.} They come across Zombie worshiping religious folk. {Umm...what?} A scary looking man arrives in a hot air balloon to save the day. {Did you just say hot air balloon? Yeah, you lost me.}This is all just bizarre and I have better things to do with my time then mentally prepare myself for whatever ridiculous and unbelievable thing the author had planned next. 

3. I hated the writing. It was choppy and immature and confusing. And it wasn't just when he was talking to his 5 year old brother, his internal dialogue was the same. It was hard to follow, and extremely difficult to enjoy and it only enhanced my overall feeling of 'WTF'.
"Dang, she's so cool.
Dang, don't think that.
Dang, why?
Because of on account of this being the most horrible time to get a crush on a girl.
Oh. Right. Daaaang."
4. I just. don't. care. I literally had zero desire to keep reading. Let me guess - they find the safe zone after a few battles with some Bellows or Zeds or whatever. Maybe some secondary character that I don't have any connection with dies. And I'm going to guess that they find their mom because everyone loves happy endings and shit. But if this happens or not - makes no difference to me. 

I feel like I was reading a different book, because I am usually not super critical and quite a few people enjoyed this... like 4 stars enjoyed this. I can appreciate that Michael would do anything to keep his brother safe. That's commendable. But I can read a book that doesn't drive me bonkers to feel a touching relationship between brothers.

Maybe it's me. I don't know. But yeah.. that's why I opted to not finish and pick up a book I actually give a crap about.


  1. 1. Nope, the game was an invention of Michael's to help keep his brother calm.

    2. You're right about that. Straight up bizarre. There's a similar zombie-worshipping cult in the second Forest of Hands and Teeth book, but no hot air balloons.

    3. The writing was unique, but that's not always a good thing.

    4. Fair enough. Not caring at all is the best reason to DNF. I often finish the rage-inducing ones, but if I'm yawning UGH.

    1. Thanks for clearing number 1 up for me hah. It's a bad sign I couldn't tell though. I haven't read The Forest of Hands and Teeth either, and even though I hear its good, I'm not sure if it's for me. I don't think I am a fan of zombie books really.

  2. Oooh yikes. I may still try this, but it doesn't sound like I'll do well with it either, mainly due to the writing. If the whole book is like that, more likely than not, I won't be able to make it through.

    1. It is worse in the beginning. I did notice it lessen as I got near my DNF point but it was still there and at that point everything bothered me hah. I hope you have better luck! There are quite a few people who found this book enjoyable!

  3. I think, for any book, it always depends on the reader whether they like it or not. I'm sorry to hear that you didn't have the best experience with The End Games! I've been curious about this one for a while, and may still check it out.

    1. Definitely! Everyone has their own triggers! I am usually not very critical so I am surprised this bothered me so much. Then again, maybe I am becoming more critical. I think as I read more I am also becoming more comfortable with not finishing books.

  4. Oh, this sounds like the type of book you either hate or love. Sometimes, authors have a certain writing-style you have to like. I'm not such a fan of choppy sentences though.. It's a good thing you decided to DNF it, why bother reading a book you clearly don't enjoy? :)

    1. Yes! And in other books - Blood Red Road and Shatter Me come to mind - I didn't mind the unique writing style. But I think this one was a little immature compared to the others so that must be it. I am glad to see others support the DNF.

  5. The whole time I was reading The End Games, I kept thinking, "Is this MG?" But I think the writing might even have been too juvenile for that. I'm not even sure juvenile is the right word, though, as you alluded to.

    But there were many problems with this beyond just the writing. I'm not sure I'd read anything by this author again, and I don't often say that.

    1. Yeah I should have listened to you. I might not totally ban his books but I can see myself being a lot quicker to DNF if I see the same signs. This one was definitely NOT for me. =/

  6. I was really intrigued by this one because of the two brothers, but that writing sample you provided does scare me away a little. I think I could handle bizarre twists if they end up making sense, but I guess I'll only know if I give this one a shot at some point! Thanks for letting me know what to expect!


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