Thursday, March 21, 2013

Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

My third pick for the 2013 Translation Challenge (hosted by Curiosity Killed the Bookworm) was an easy pick, especially considering it's been in my TBR way too long. (I'm loving that this challenge is prompting me to get to some of these titles that have been hanging around my shelves for an embarrassing amount of time.)

Something weird is going on with Nick's friends. First, Colin starts bailing on basketball practice and screening Nick's calls. Then more and more guys from the team start missing practice as well. Classes are half full and no one is talking about the reason behind the absences. Nick witnesses some of his classmates passing a small package around but it's not until someone passes it to Nick that he discovers exactly what's going on. It's a game. A game called Erebos. Once you begin playing, you have to stick to the rules (and secrecy is key) or you can be eliminated. Nick quickly becomes obsessed with Erebos, spending all of his free time inside the game. But playing the game comes with a price. Nick soon has assignments in the real world that affect his status in the game. And the game knows if someone fails to complete an assignment or breaks the rules in any way.

Holy moly! I got a bit obsessed with reading this book. First, I mentioned my insomnia has been pretty bad of late. I'm normally focused on trying to get back to sleep on these nights, but sometimes it's obvious that's not going to happen. And that was the case at least one night this week, which led to some 3 am Erebos reading (which led to reading through most of the wee hours, though I did manage another hour or so of shut eye). Second, the book drew me in in such a way that I was pretty desperate to get to lunch breaks and end of the work day just so I could get back to reading. I was dying to know what the real deal with the game would turn out to be!

Erebos moves along at a great pace, enhancing the overall tension of the story. I was as anxious about Nick's return to the game as he was and wondered alongside him just who the other players were. I absolutely loved the game play. I don't play a lot of games and part of the reason for that is that I do typically become a little too involved in them, playing for HOURS until all of the sudden I'm done and have to reintegrate myself into the non video game world. And I'm not very good at it, so the book world is much, much less frustrating. But I could easily understand the characters' sort manic obsession with the game. Poznanski does a great job of illustrating the emotion and the frantic desperation of the players.

But of course the mysterious Emily is one of my favorite characters. I won't say why, but she's pretty fabulous overall. I'd imagine I'd respond to Erebos much the way she does.

Reading multiple gaming thrillers this month wasn't entirely intentional. I can admit, though, that each of them has been such a good read that I'd happily continue the trend through the end of March! I'm considering it. I think have a few more appropriate titles hanging around.

This is the first of Poznanski's books to be translated into English and was released last year by Annick Press. Judith Pattinson handled the translation and has done a pretty great job. Some of the dialogue is a bit clunky, but I find that's pretty common in translated works for some reason. Overall it was a great read thanks to Pattinson's work.

Rating: 5/5

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