The Game Master
By Ian D. Copsey
First, I want to say that I rated this book on retail sites as 4/5 stars. My actual rating is 3.5 stars but I went ahead and gave 4.
This is an interesting book for a number of reasons. It incorporates video games and real life situations but it also has a serious side. The Game Master starts as a book about kids playing games, simple enough, but then those children are quickly faced with a side of gaming that proves to be much more than they bargained for.
The two main characters are a pair of friends looking to settle the score in who’s the best gamer, thus the story begins. But on this journey they are faced with philosophical questions and situations that ends up being much more serious than any game they’ve ever played before.
Copsey does a great job at tying in reality with fiction, but specifically video gaming with fiction. As someone who loves video games, I was greatly intrigued by the book right from the start. I’ve read many stories and seen many shows/movies based on players getting sucked into video gaming worlds but this one is unique, in my opinion. The fact that the game is more about life lessons than actual ‘gaming’ is a page turner.
One of the interesting things about this piece goes back to my last point. Since the children play a ‘Game of Life’, you would expect it to be simple and clean but its not exactly as ‘childish’ as you might believe. Readers can learn from the questions posed in this book. They can place themselves in the shoes and situations of the characters and find that this book, The Game Master, isn’t so much of a game as it looks.
Its always nice to learn from the material you read. That’s something I greatly appreciated from this book, to be able to reflect on what I’ve just read. To be able to put down the book for a minute and simply contemplate the words you’ve just taken in. I didn’t expect to have that sort of experience with a book written for a younger audience but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. I believe children need to be challenged, they need to be encouraged to ask ‘why’ or ‘how’ but that curiosity is often squashed because many adults believe children shouldn’t be involved in controversial conversations. The Game Master is a great demonstration that children need to expand their horizons just as much as adults do.
I think this book should be a decent read for younger generations. Considering the political mumbo jumbo we face every day, not every parent knows how to have conversations with their kids but in reading this book you can find conversations between the characters that highlight issues in our own societies. That’s one of the best and worst parts of this book.
I give this story 4 out of 5 stars for two reasons. It was hard for me to come to this decision because I didn’t want to shortchange a book I actually enjoyed. The first reason I rated it 4 out of 5 stars is because I felt the dialogue between the children wasn’t as ‘childish’ as you would expect from kids.
The writing was good, minus a few typos here and there, the flow and structure were well paced, and I could tell the author put a lot of thought, planning, and passion into the book. But I felt like the language of the children was too mature for their age, which is an odd complaint, right?
The second reason. As I said before, this game the children play is known as ‘The Game of Life’. The two main characters begin to see their friends and classmates differently as a result. This book focuses a lot on how children form the same opinions as their parents but it almost portrays that as a negative thing.
I’ve heard many teachers complain that their students think like their parents, or that they don’t have their own opinions on politics, religion, etc. That may be a legitimate complaint but if children aren’t influenced by their parents then who should be filling their heads?
There isn’t much of an answer to that question in the book which made it seem a bit one-sided.
My personal issue with The Game Master was that it focused very much on what could be interpreted as ‘free thinking’ but didn’t highlight the impact or negative results that may come with being too open-minded or too accepting. I thought it would have been beneficial to include a scenario that portrayed having standards, whether political, religious, etc, in a positive light. Because I think it’s important that children know and understand there’s nothing wrong with having personal policies or standards that may not be viewed as ‘open-minded’ to the rest of society. Maybe that wasn’t the goal of this book, maybe that idea dives a little too deep for the concept but that certainly leaves room for a Game Master Part II, doesn’t it? Just a thought.
I still think this is a good book and would recommend it to any reader, young or old. It’s a wonderful topic of debate and a great book that can serve as an introduction to political, racial, and religious issues that adults face every day. I enjoyed the story as much as I did the characters and unfolding of events. I hope others grab a copy soon!
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*