The End Games by T. Michael Martin
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 6, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Horror
Pages: 369 Format: Paperback Source: Purchased
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 enjoy a good post-apocalyptic/dystopian book from time to time but I’ve never been big into zombies whatsoever. It took me ages to start The Walking Dead and I’ve already lost interest in the show. With that being said, I purchased The End Games by T. Michael Martin a couple of years back after hearing such high praise and it really was a wonderful story of survival and brotherhood.
At the heart of this story are two brothers, Michael and his little brother Patrick.. The two of them have been struggling across the back country of West Virginia to get to a safe zone and trying to win the “Game”. The care and concern that is shown between the two of them is just so intense and heartwarming. It really connects the reader to the story and makes you love and root for Michael and Patrick to succeed.
The End Games speak to survival amidst the horrors of the world whether it be human or monster. The zombies, “Bellows” as they are called, are quite frankly terrifying. They have just enough intelligence to yell back words said aloud, but it only gets worse from there. Survivors pose an even more prominent threat to the brothers. Even the tall trees, mountain peaks, and deep valleys of West Virginia provided a hazardous back drop for the end of the world.
The only issue I truly had with this one is how it all felt a bit too easy. There were multiple moments that seemed to resolve quickly and without concern. Don’t get me wrong, it was a brutal world for Michael and Patrick, but to survive with a five year old is stretching my imagination a little too far. That being said, I did enjoy the whole narrative plot and even its culmination.
Overall T. Michael Martin’s The End Games was a gripping, emotional tale of two brothers. Michael and Patrick were such inspired characters and the unfolding of their story was done so well. The hostile threats were all too realistic and provided a haunting narrative. I’m definitely glad I picked this up and would definitely recommend to all especially with Halloween just around the corner.
So, have you read The End Games? Do you like zombie stories? Have you read any great books with brothers? Let me know in the comments below!