Friday, 13 September 2013

Serial: Just a Game by Zachary Bonelli

Episode 3 of the Voyage Embarkation serial. I received a copy of Just a Game in exchange for my honest review.

In Kal's third adventure he is transported to an alternative world called Spele where his is immediately attacked by a girl called Rakan who explains that he is inside a game where children and young adults have to fight and kill each other on the behest of the adults watching. After attempting to reason with several of the young people involved, Kal gives up and is injured, only to have something of great importance be revealed to him.

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Just a Game is a short episode of Voyage Embarkation which looks at the darker and more violent side of human nature. Kal goes to Spele expecting a highly civilised society and instead gets a shock when he is transported to a jungle or forest and attacked by Rakan. Interestingly this then moves forwards into Kal considering that his nanotechnology might not actually be infallible, which is something he hadn't considered as a character yet.

By putting Kal into a more difficult and dangerous situation where he is physically threatened by another human being, it allowed Bonelli to show the reader a more compassionate and reasonable Kal (not that he was particularly cold and impulsive before) and so that allows his character to develop.

I couldn't help but think of the Hunger Games trilogy whilst reading Just a Game, not in the way that it was a copy, but rather due to the fact that both of these authors have recognised that mankind has the ability to be bloodthirsty in what they want entertainment wise, and that thought is actually quite chilling. Because, slightly worryingly perhaps, humans do find violence entertaining.

One thing that I think it is a good idea to bring up now that I have read a couple more episodes of Voyage Embarkation is the language. In my review of episode one I commented that the language was quite technical and that this could risk people being put off by it. I've now found that the language isn't a put off, it is easily understandable and any technical language is explained in a way that makes it clear!

Once again, Bonelli's writing for this chapter of Kal's adventures has been a pleasure to read and I look forward to reading episode 4!