Saturday, 8 October 2016

The Games by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan (Private, #12) - Book Review

4.5/5 Stars

One murder at the World Cup was just a warning...

Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 366
Chapters: 105
Publisher: Century

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


The Games, also known as Private Rio, is tense and terrifying.

Patterson and Mark Sullivan immerse the reader in Brazilian culture as they cultivate a chilling tale around the Olympic Games. I hoped that The Games wouldn't be too similar to a previous entry to the series, Private Games, where we focus on the London Olympics, and the authors don't disappoint. This instalment blends the morally righteous with the morally outrageous to ravage the reader's sense of right and wrong.

What do you do when the victims of horror are overlooked in favour of the image and reputation of the rich? How do you rectify that with any kind of goodness? And if you can't, with avenues of change restricted, what lines do you cross to be heard?

The Games plays with these questions and much, much more. So get ready for a high-octane adventure that doesn't shy away from giving you a solid taste of guilt.


Two years ago, Jack Morgan was in Rio consulting on security for the World Cup. The tournament went without a hitch. Until a man died in one of the executive hospitality suites during the final, and the autopsy showed the cause to be a rare and deadly virus.

The story was kept from the media to avoid causing panic, but Jack feared that the death was no freak occurrence.

Now the eyes of the world are once again turned towards Rio for the Olympic Games, and Jack is back in Brazil's beautiful capital. It's not long before he uncovers terrifying evidence that someone has set in motion a catastrophic plan.

The death at the World Cup was just a warning. The Olympic Games could be the setting for the worst atrocity the world has ever seen.

Plot - 4.5/5 Stars

The Games follows two plots: A wealthy man's daughters have been kidnapped for ransom, and an angry virologist intends to use a deadly virus to enact change. Both stem from a very real and very heartbreaking problem. The villains behind these morally reprehensible actions are fuelled by anger at other morally reprehensible actions. It's hard to take a definitive stand against people with a twisted sense of the greater good in mind.

What pushes them, you ask? Wealth, or the lack of for millions of people. The Games shows greed in a startling light. The line between the rich and the poor is thin, but at the same time so vast, that the authors excel in painting a myriad of lives and struggles.

We see corruption and depravity, kindness and heroics, clashing principles that, coupled with the fantastical fiction created by the authors and interspersed with audacious action, really help bring this novel up to another level.

Pace - 4.5/5 Stars

Aside from a little disjoint here and there from managing the two high-stakes plots, The Games is fast-paced euphoria. Patterson's standard style of balancing action with questions and answers is solid. 

Characters - 4/5 Stars

Initially, the characters of the novel didn't impress me. The only real individual I connected with outright was the villain. We know right from the start the identity of one of the main antagonists, but it's hard to hate him. His history and motivations are expertly expressed with emotion by the authors, so while you absolutely stand against the murder of innocents, his goal is, confusingly, good and pure.

As the story progresses, though, the authors get a grip on the personalities of their cast. Jack Morgan leads the group, and he gets some surprisingly stellar development after being our stoic hero for so long. There is a little romance, which didn't impress me to begin with either, but there are some truly sweet moments that get me.

The biggest draw of the novel is its dissection of a population's standard of living, and the consequences that can arise from being on one side of the economical spectrum vs the other. It's not new or groundbreaking, but it's something we should try never to forget.

Writing - 4/5 Stars

The Games is another sharp story that rallies the best parts of the series and knits them together.

Its short chapters keep you turning the pages and its lovely descriptions of Rio paint a vivid picture.

Overall - 4.5/5 Stars

I've just realised that's me all caught up with the Private series, woo-hoo!

Previous Instalment: Private Royals
Next Instalment: Private Delhi

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