I reviewed the first book in this series a few months ago and made the comment that it had a very weak through story line, tending towards the episodic like the levels in a video game. Unfortunately, “A Very Different Game” starts out not too different; much of the story could be termed “A bunch of kids playing at an online game that mirrors their lives.” In fact, there is a rather unfocused first chapter, called “Aftermath,” which begins like a description of the backstory from Book 2. Then, if we take the time and effort to continue reading, the action of the Different Game starts. It continues in the same episodic way for about a third of the book.
However, once the tale gets going, an overall story arc does develop, as Abel and his Tavern-playing friends begin to realize that the game they created is having serious unforeseen effect on the real world and has attracted the attention of some very unsavoury characters from the world of magic. Once this action gets going, our attention perks up and holds until the huge good-versus-evil battle at the climax.
My other complaint is that this book involves a whole lot of telling by the author, and not a great deal of showing of emotion by characters. This puts a certain narrative distance between the reader and the story, and keeps us from getting too involved in the characters. This is unfortunate, because the richly developed and realistic characters are what keep the story interesting.
Recommended for gamers and Young Adult Paranormal fans.(4 / 5)