Title: The Voting Game
Author: Peter Gulgowski
Review: The opening to the Voting Game was great, we meet Darrius Young who has turned 16 and will enter the voting game. For what I gather is that every interaction Darrius has will be rated and this number is imprinted upon their skin and once you drop between 2.5 you are taken away like his mother was, and his father might be soon. For me, it reminds me greatly of the movie In Time. As he heads to the Bureau of Citizen Registration to get his clicker which allows him to rate others on a scale of 1 – 5. I really liked the strong relationship Darrius has with his father and his sister Jada, but the best relationship is the one he has with his boyfriend Jacob. For some reason, I get the feeling this novel is going to make me cry the same way They Both Die at the End did.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel, midnight approaches Darrius prepares to start his new life and enter the messed-up system he will be living in and before he even gets there he has a target on his back. Armed with his father’s advice Darrius feels ready for his first day as an adult in this new, terrifying world. Darrius starts off with a score of 3.0 and with his dad’s help he gets up to 4 on his first day but I have a feeling that his dad isn’t going to be around for much longer.
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel, Darrius is desperately trying to adjust himself to living within the system, but strange things start happening and he starts to notice that the society he has lived in all his life isn’t as nice as he first thought and that everyone is being fake in order to get higher ratings. The only advice he gets from people around him is to stick within his circle, don’t go lower and don’t go higher as it won’t be good for him. So far, I was really invested in the characters and the story, but I didn’t know where it was headed but there are two possibilities; Darrius falling into low numbers and trying to get himself back up, Darrius taking on the system or maybe a strange combination of both. When a supposed glitch in the system seems to be affecting Jacob, I was beginning to believe that people close to Darrius and his father are being targeted with low scores, although these aren’t legal ratings as they aren’t logged correctly. The build of suspense and tension here is great, leading us slowly but surely towards a greater finale.
As we approach the halfway mark in the novel, not a lot happens apart from Darrius’ normal life, going out with friends, getting coffee with his sister, visiting his mother’s grave etc. However, there are a few little moments where Darrius is pushed face first into reality and these are some of the best moments in the novel in my opinion, but I do have high hopes for some more action or intrigue in the second half of the novel.
As we cross into the second half of the novel, things take a sharp right at WTF street. Everything happens at once and I was literally reeling afterwards I couldn’t for the life of me wrap my head around but man, I loved it! Things start to pick up a lot of pace here with a hundred and one different things going on but it all seems to be connected to the man in power.
As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel, Darrius begins digging deeper and deeper into the mysterious circumstances he has found himself in and right now nothing seems to make sense, but I do have an idea of what could be revealed although I am going to have to read on to find out. When part of the truth is revealed everything really heats up and it did confirm some things I thought early in the novel, but it also hit me with quite a few curve balls as well.
As we cross into the final section of the novel, we are heading towards the climax, so we are expecting a certain level of action, drama and suspense. I can’t say much about the final 75 pages but wow, I certainly hope there is a sequel soon because holy hell I need to know what happens next. There are so many questions left and so much more potential, it is safe to say that this author is definitely going on my insta-buy list now. While this novel didn’t evoke the TBDATE level of weeping, there was weeping, be prepared.
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I received this review copy as part of a blog tour from @bookshelfbitch