Josh loves hunting zombies. He knows the rules of the game, and he’s good at it. He’s quickly risen in the ranks of zombie hunting and his skills no few bounds. There’s only one problem – his parents have banned him from playing this virtual game because it hits too close to home.
This is the year 2032, and Josh knows about the deadly virus that created a war between the well and this stricken that happened 15 years ago. It was a virus that slowly deteriorated the brain, creating “zombies” of those that had no control over their synapses anymore. It was kill or be killed, and to this day, Josh’s mother won’t talk about her experience much. But to Josh, it’s past history, and the game rocks. There’s nothing like killing meatbags and trying to out maneuver them to be the best torcher in the game. He and his best friend Firecracker, play online together when they can, but it’s Josh who receives a strange message from Charlie, THE best player, that’s an invitation to something deeper, something hidden….
When Josh finally meets Charlie, he’s amazed, not only that she’s a girl, but that there’s real zombie hunting going on without anyone being aware it’s happening. She invites Josh into a dark secret, where a real game is being played… humans vs. zombies… and televised live to a wealthy audience. Josh not only gets to play the game he loves, but also make some money at the same time.
But with all secrets, dark and deep, this secret holds a deadly consequence. Josh doesn’t realize it at first, but the more he plays the real game, the more he realizes he’s in over his head. But is it too late to stop playing? Can he just quit, or is he an unwitting victim in a game he thought he was in control of? Is Josh the player or the played?
What a great dystopian book that has so much written into it! Michael Thomas Ford has created a unique and brilliant premise not about zombies as monsters, but how a small virus infected the human race, one that put strains on relationships and families, both well and infected. The game simulation Josh plays under rides the main theme and focus of this book, but plays so well alongside it, making this one readers won’t be able to get through fast enough. This is one guys will pick up and read, and girls will too thanks to Ford’s main characters. I’m hoping there’s a sequel….it definitely leaves it open to one!