A pleasant mix of Hunger Games meets Ancient Aliens, Endgame: Sky Key by James Frey and Nihls Johnson-Shelton is an exciting, non-stop thrill ride filled with twists and turns…and very dangerous highly-skilled characters trained to deal with each twist and turn thrown their way.
Sky Key picks up right where The Calling left off: with Stonehenge transformed, Earth Key retrieved, and the remaining Players now on the hunt for Little Alice (AKA, Sky Key). The central plot of finding the keys and stopping the apocalypse is engaging on its own, but what really makes this story stand out are its characters. Each one has a different path toward their shared objective, creates a series of interwoven storylines that all manage to be independently unique and universally together at the same time.
There is no real protagonist in Endgame. There are only Players. Sarah and Jago struggle with the ramifications of securing Earth Key, both on the game and their relationship; Macabee and Baitsakhan continue their unexpected partnership as they track down (and hopefully snag) Earth Key; Hilal is given the divine mission of destroying Ea, a kepler no one’s keeping an eye on when they definitely should; An plans to kill each of the remaining Players and is one of the most sadistic, evil characters I have ever found in any book I’ve read (and it’s great); Aisling teams up with the government in hopes of stopping Endgame; and Shari sits tight, waiting for the other Players’ inevitable arrival for her daughter, Little Alice. Each Player has a mission. Each Player has a story. Each Player is their own protagonist against the antagonistic kepler 22b and the Makers.
The characters are what make this story interesting. And I’m saying that as the biggest fan of Ancient Aliens. The plot alone should make Sky Key—and the Endgame series as a whole—a knock-out, but add on top of that the converging independent storylines of its Players and you’ve got yourself a story that isn’t just good, it’s great. Chapters bounce back and forth between characters so you’re never with one for too long. You can’t get bored reading this book. There’s always a new setting, a new set of characters, a new story entirely after each chapter.
There’s an online puzzle component to this series, too. Different images and phrases and pictograms and stuff like that between each chapter, but in all honestly, I haven’t dug into it at all. It feels a little gimmicky at times, and the story itself carries the book, but for those readers who appreciate an interactive novel, this’ll be right up your alley.
I wish I had read this book closer to having finished the first (which was a little under three years ago). It would have made my experience better, and it would have been easier to jump back into this world remembering what it was all about. But still. This book is great. I recommend it. I’m ready to read the third already.