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The Game of Lives

The Game of Lives, November 2015
by James Dashner

Featuring: Michael; Kaine
ISBN: 038574143X
EAN: 9780385741439
Kindle: B00QE1A6O4
Hardcover / e-Book
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"Conclusion to a unique and thought provoking science fiction trilogy"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Game of Lives
James Dashner

Reviewed by Debbie Wiley
Posted April 19, 2016

Young Adult Science Fiction

THE GAME OF LIVES picks up right where THE RULE OF THOUGHTS ended. Michael's world has changed rapidly with all the new revelations and he longs for the days where Helga bustled around the kitchen while Michael visited the VirtNet with no worries. Now, any visit to the VirtNet could bring death as Michael faces a virtual foe with masterful programming skills. In fact, Kaine's diabolical plan could end reality as Michael and his friends know it, changing the very definitions of what it means to be human and alive. What paths will Michael take as he tries to decipher just who he can trust in an ever- changing world?

THE GAME OF LIVES is the third and startling conclusion of James Dashner's The Mortality Doctrine trilogy. I would not suggest reading THE GAME OF LIVES without reading the prior two books first, as the world building is quite complex. In fact, everything we thought we knew in The Mortality Doctrine series is turned upside down as James Dashner keeps shaking things up.

James Dashner raises some thought provoking ethical dilemmas in THE GAME OF LIVES as Michael struggles to understand what it means to be alive and to what limits he will go to continue his current life. I applaud the underlying theme as it made me want to like THE GAME OF LIVES far more than I actually did. Unfortunately, the ever-changing alliances and rules made the plot drag just a bit. In fact, there is one scene that should have been deeply emotional but instead left me just annoyed by the events themselves.

THE GAME OF LIVES has the daunting task of concluding one of the more unique and original series I've had the pleasure of reading. The world building is absolutely stunning, although it perhaps overshadows the characters just a tad too much in THE GAME OF LIVES. I love the ending, however, as it leaves the imagination open to the possibilities. Fans of young adult science fiction will appreciate The Mortality Doctrine series as the thought provoking themes are well worth the read.

Learn more about The Game of Lives


Michael used to live to game, but the games he was playing have become all too real. Only weeks ago, sinking into the Sleep was fun. The VirtNet combined the most cutting-edge technology and the most sophisticated gaming for a full mind-body experience. And it was Michael’s passion. But now every time Michael sinks, he risks his life.

The games are over. The VirtNet has become a world of deadly consequences, and Kaine grows stronger by the day. The Mortality Doctrine—Kaine’s master plan—has nearly been realized, and little by little the line separating the virtual from the real is blurring. If Kaine succeeds, it will mean worldwide cyber domination. And it looks like Michael and his friends are the only ones who can put the monster back in the box—if Michael can figure out who his friends really are.

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