Karen Lord's The Galaxy Game

Friday, December 19, 2014
Disclaimer: I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord

I really wanted to like this book -- I've always enjoyed my space opera with a side of political intrigue before. The Galaxy Game follows one teenage boy, Rafi, as he escapes government investigation for his psychic powers, travels to another planet, and tries to play his favorite game (wall running) with the elites.

But... I couldn't finish this book.

I spent the first 15% of this book confused -- so many different cultural references, so many different planet/base/city names to try and keep straight. I am a reader of epic fantasies and complicated space operas, so I like to think I can keep my character straights with the best of them... but this book was out there. I haven't read Lord's other book set in the same greater world (The Best of All Possible Worlds), but this book is being marketed as a standalone. As a standalone, it has a rather large learning curve for the backstory. 

I kept trying until Chapter 6 / 34%, but I couldn't do it anymore. The central character (Rafi) isn't really all that likable. When the adults in his life let him make a potential disastrous decision to go on the run from the government and then... they pout about it... I couldn't convince myself to continue to try and put the work in. I was just not all that interested in the central characters. 

One bright moment for me was the first time Rafi tries wall running. It was fun, as a reader, trying to keep up with the way gravity shifted with each level (and noting how quickly clumsy me would fail). But it was an interesting aside for a story that overall confused and frustrated me.

Rating 2/5.

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