Friday, December 18, 2015

Game of Flames by Robin Wasserman, 2015

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Earth is in danger! The only thing that can save our planet are six essential elements scattered throughout the galaxy. It is up to the Voyagers—a team of four kids (plus one stowaway) —to gather them all and return to Earth.
Failure is not an option. The Alpha team knows that the second element is hidden on Meta Prime, a planet filled with metal mazes, catapults of fire, and warring alien robots. But what they don’t know is that another spaceship is following hot on their trail. . . .
Do you have what it takes to be a Voyager? Find out at

(208 pages)

This is the second of the two books I got through a giveaway from the publisher. I read it within a few hours of finishing the first book (Project Alpha, which I reviewed here), and it definitely solidified both the focus and the themes of the series.

In Game of Flames the characters take on a little more nuance, fleshing out the bare minimums provided in Project Alpha. Some of the mysteries left behind from the first book (including Chris's background, and the mastermind behind the team competing with Team Alpha) are explained in Game of Flames, and the plot - though slightly contrived - is a very engaging ride from start to finish. I'm growing to really love the main characters, especially as I begin to get to really know what makes each of them tick, and I'm looking forward to continuing the journey together through the next four books. Three out of the four of those books are written by authors whose writing I already know and love (Patrick Carman, Jeanne DuPrau, and Wendy Mass), so I'm excited to see how some of my favorite authors approach such a fun series.

I've said all I can about the book itself without spoiling anything too major, but I think a word or two (and maybe even three) should also be said about the website, I sat down a few days after getting the books, made an account and worked on unlocking my exclusive content. It was . . . a little bit more of a challenge than I was up for. You have a bunch of random codes written at the bottom of different pages in the books, and you have to take each and every symbol in the seven-digit code, compare it to a key in the front of the book to find its color combination, and then click the letter on the website that corresponds with that same combination of colors. Each seven-digit code unlocks a different piece of content, such as an interview with the candidates or some inside dirt on the characters. It's very interesting, and I bet kids will really love the spy-esque mode of unlocking material (in fact, I probably would have loved it a few years ago), but it's just a little too time-consuming and low-yield for me to enjoy it now. I unlocked the first few codes and left the rest of them unsolved - my younger brother is going to read the series, though, and I told him he could share my account if he wants to unlock the rest of the codes and get the bonus material. I have a hunch he'll have a lot more fun with the website than I have.

I honestly enjoy the books very much even without the online component, so I don't really mind skipping the "multimedia" aspect and just reading the books themselves. So far the books have been more than enough to satisfy me, and - barring some disastrous drop in quality - will continue to be perfectly fine without the website, but a part of me wishes the website was a little more interactive.

It's a great book, though, and I can't wait to continue the series!

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