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The Games

3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,538 Ratings  ·  301 Reviews
Jurassic Park meets The Hunger Games in this stunning new high-energy, high-concept tale from first-time novelist Ted Kosmatka, a Nebula Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist.


Set in an amoral future where genetically engineered monstrosities fight each other to the death in an Olympic event, The Gam
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Del Rey
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Community Reviews

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3.5 stars

DO NOT pick this book up for character development (there isn't much of that).

DO NOT pick this book up for meaty prose of a philosophical bent that introduces new ideas and deep thoughts. Nope. Not much of that either.

DO pick this book up for a pulpy, page-turning thrill where, if you don't ask too many questions, and fully suspend all disbelief, you will be majorly entertained by high octane action sequences of cinematic gore and splendor. Cause we all need that guilt-free catharsis o
Oct 25, 2015 David rated it liked it
Content: 3
Audiobook: 2

In the Games, each country puts forward a genetically engineered creature, a gladiator that will fight with others to the death. The only rule is that the creature cannot contain any human DNA. It is a source of national pride in biotechnology, that the American creatures have always won, up to the present day. But this year, the American monstrosity is different type of killing machine. A genius has created a super-computer that has redesigned the genetic code from the gro
Feb 29, 2012 j marked it as to-read
You had me at, "In this amoral future, genetically engineered monsters fight to the death at public Olympic gaming events."
Lisa Eskra
Feb 14, 2012 Lisa Eskra rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this one, but it never really came together for me. It didn't help that there were so many plot holes and inaccuracies, I could drive a truck through them.

The blurb casts this as "Jurassic Park" meets "Hunger Games." It's more like "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" with mutants (and without the compelling plot that went along with it). And I don't know about anyone else, but the gladiator seemed to look a lot like Toothless from "How to Train Your Dragon".

The entire premise for th
Interesting beginning, long draggy pointless middle, predictable climax, probably exciting ending but I couldn't be bothered anymore. Perhaps would work better in book form rather than as an audiobook because Scott Brick's narration didn't really evoke any sort of emotion from me (maybe it's the plot at fault, I dunno) other than 'uh-huh, so...okaay...duh...yawn'

The actual Games upon which the book was titled, much like The Scorpio Races, was wrapped up in about a tenth portion of the whole stor
Jun 05, 2012 Leanna rated it it was ok
Shelves: a-distant-future
Arg. This one had the potential to be great, but unfortunately it turned out not to be to my tastes. I was hoping for more mad scientist-ish stuff, but instead got a lot of action- which is okay, but it felt like a cheesy action movie rather than a book.

The end was kind of crappy too, I mean (view spoiler)
Terry Brooks
May 14, 2012 Terry Brooks rated it it was amazing
The choice was easy this month. I just finished a new book called THE GAMES by a writer named Ted Kosmatka. No, it is not a riff on THE HUNGER GAMES. It isn't even fantasy. It is a SciFi Thriller about a future in which the Olympic Games includes an event pitting genetically manufactured creatures against each other in blood sport reminiscent of ancient gladitorial contests. What happens when the perfect fighting machine becomes a threat to its creators? Nothing good, you can be sure. A page tur ...more
Oct 28, 2012 Rusty rated it liked it
Bio-engineering. Monsters. Savants. Olympics. Tall people. Super computers.

What more do you want? Naturally, Scott Sigler could have done this better, but it's not a bad read.

Ben Babcock
Genetic engineering used to be purely science fiction. It’s a mark of how far we’ve come that these things are now becoming part of our everyday world. The once-hypothetical question of how to deal with augmented athletes in events like the Olympics is no longer so hypothetical. In The Games, Ted Kosmatka deals with the question in a simple way: no tinkering with the human athletes, but attach a single event that allows countries to showcase their skills at genetic engineering. This is a blood m ...more
Aug 27, 2012 Jack rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Hard SF, Thriller readers
Ted is an alumnus of the increasingly famous Highland Writers Group in NW Indiana. He's another person that I have, on occasion, dined with, drank with and had grand discussions. Probably one of the most intellectual members of our group to become published, but also a down-to-earth kind of guy that you can simply sit down with and have an interesting discussion.

I am normally not fond of dystopian computer stories; at least, not since reading D.F. Jones’s “Colossus” many, many years ago. Like He
Sep 01, 2012 Sarah rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
The prologue to this book is very intriguing - though disturbing on several levels. I was really ready to begin the rest of the story in chapter 1, but was disappointed with the manner in which Silas' character is introduced. It almost seems as if readers were supposed to be impressed with Silas and the direction of the story, but I just couldn't stay interested. The gladiator "monstrosity" that comes out of the cow at the beginning was a built-up moment that fell flat on its face as soon as wer ...more
Feb 01, 2014 Ric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book in two parts: the first, a very hard SF extrapolation on genetic engineering applied to the making of a monster warrior, and the second, an action-driven thriller with elements of Street Fighter (the game) and disaster movies of the 1970s.

I enjoyed the SF elements which were treated in the detailed, reasoned approach generally characterized as "hard" SF. Not knowing much about biology and genetics, it all seemed quite believable. However, the parts about the electric grid and power flow
Jan 23, 2014 Harry007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This poorly written book frequently got on my nerves because it's about a gladiator competition where genetically enhanced monsters are pitted against each other, and most of the time I was thinking the author was simply writing unnecessary scenes (such as inane phone conversations) to make his lacklustre story longer. I don't know why he would do that - anyone could have told him stuff like that needed to be cut. This is a debut novel, so there's no excuse for laziness. Half the time, sentences ...more
Apr 09, 2012 April rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
In a technologically advanced future, people have added a genetic engineering contest to the Olympic Games. Each country uses it to show off its prowess, and the United States has won since the inception of this twisted arena fight to the death.

This time around, though, Silas Williams, head of development for the project, feels something has gone terribly wrong. Using a different tactic, Olympic development has allowed a computer genius to use his supercomputer to help create the creature. From
Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside)
Fast-paced, inventive, with a plausible use of real science, The Games is an exciting and fun read. Kosmatka's writing in this novel is sturdy and competent and straightforward, and that's the reason for a three-star review instead of a four or five. I'm a big fan of the author's short fiction, which flawlessly blends hard science with intensely emotional, gorgeous prose and literary-style character depth. I was hoping for an entire novel of that kind of writing in The Games, but instead I got a ...more
Jul 12, 2014 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-i-read
As Ted Kosmatka's award winning debut novel I had high hopes for this book, perhaps too high as it was a bit of a let down which is mindboggling considering it had elements of Jurassic Park and Hunger Games. I seriously think the award must have been based on its plot and nothing else because that was one of the few, if only things I enjoyed about it. I found the character development lacking, their pension for describing ones ancestry annoying and there was no finesse in the way time progresses ...more
Jamie Stanley
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. thank you so much!
Tom Tabasco
Apr 04, 2013 Tom Tabasco rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike (the Paladin)
Ahh...again the dreaded 3 star rating. Not really good enough (in my opinion of course) to go all the way to 4 but better than the barely passable 2.

Also...I am definitely going to have to establish a "science-fantasy" shelf. This is a science fiction read but there are things in here that really strain the boundaries of science. I mean I'm only somewhat aware of what advances have been made in gene splicing and what may be possible...but I'm pretty sure this one tripped over reality.

So, do some
Thomas Edmund
Jul 01, 2012 Thomas Edmund rated it it was amazing
In the future, performance enhancing drugs aren't the concern of choice for the Olympics, genetic modification is. But rather than trying to ban GE the international community instead decides to hold a gladiatorial competition each year where the only rule is 'no human genes'

The U.S. has won the competition for the past few years (and thus the right to host the olympics [like I said preposterous]) but this time around the geneticists may have bitten off more than they can chew.

Silas (not evil d
Rob Ballister
Jan 23, 2016 Rob Ballister rated it it was amazing
In the near future, the Olympics as we know them are preceded by a Gladiatorial event where genetically engineered creatures fight to the death for their nations' glory. Those who support the games refer to them as the ultimate science fair. Those against the games refer to it as bloodsport.

This is the world where Ted Kosmatka's THE GAMES takes place. The US has won the first three gladiatorial contests, and this year is the favorite again. Silas Williams is the head of the US program, and one o
Apr 28, 2015 Stephhasquarks rated it really liked it
This book was definitely far from the type of book that I usually enjoy reading, I'm not the biggest sci-fi thriller reader but this book had me hooked... about a quarter of the way in. The book takes a fair amount of time to build and your stuck for ages just waiting for the explaining to stop and the action to begin. This is one of the book's major downfalls, for a person who finds science boring, which is a fair number of people, I can't imagine them being able to push past the first part of ...more
Patrick Gibson
The Games in the future: genetically engineered creatures compete in an Olympic gladiator competition. The event has become incredibly popular and the competition between nations fierce. The United States dominates the event, but with each Olympics, the pressure to maintain that dominance grows. The latest US engineered creature is designed by an incredibly powerful new type of computer. The resulting creature is so bizarre and menacing that the persons in charge of training it call in an xenobi ...more
Walt O'Hara
Dec 08, 2014 Walt O'Hara rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm aware that some circles consider THE GAMES by Ted Kosmatka as well thought of, even to the point of being a Nebula finalist. Publishers' Weekly also named it one of the best books of the year. I guess if I had the power to confront the Nebula committee or Publisher's Weekly editors, I'd ask them for a hit of whatever controlled substance they are favoring this week, because I need some alternate reality dysfunction, myself.

The novel is set in a somewhat unspecified near future dystopic North
Sachin Dev
May 15, 2016 Sachin Dev rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-great-reads
This book blew me away. I cannot believe this is the FIRST novel by Ted Kosmatka, the man who had won Nebula/Hugo for his shorter works, really creates a pitch-perfect science fiction thriller that is executed in the most stunning manner for his first book.

I was hooked right from page one - I was taking a break from my "newer" novels to be reviewed and bought this book as I've 'heard' great things. You know, SF is no longer my thing. But the way Ted writes, he'd got HUGE TALONS hooked deep into
Brian Gordon
Jun 19, 2014 Brian Gordon rated it liked it
There has been a new sport added to the Olympics. Countries genetically engineer gladiators to fight to the death. The contest is a mixture of nationalism as well as technical innovation. The newest US gladiator has been designed by a supercomputer and is like nothing else seen before. There are some human characters as well, but they are mostly filler and caricatures.

I picked this book up because of the splashes and reviews associating it with Michael Crichton. This book does contain the scien
Mar 14, 2014 Kimber rated it liked it
Grabbed this one by chance at my library's "Reader's Choice" table. It sounded amazing and I had been on a Michael Crichton and dystopian society kick, so I picked it up.

I'm torn on how to feel about this one. On one hand, it kept my interest and I sincerely wanted to know what happened next. On the other, it was also somewhat predictable (it kept my interest precisely because I kept hoping that I was wrong) and never lived up to its potential. Some of it was confusing, and some of it was too va
Jul 17, 2012 Patrick rated it liked it
Interesting story, it reminded me of Jurrasic Park. The creature is mysterious and you just know that it's know going to end well. The book becomes more exciting towards the end but the finishing pages lack something to make it more realistic. If you like the science-gone-bad theme you should give this book a chance.
Ann Tamimi
May 30, 2015 Ann Tamimi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
more a 3 1/2 than 4 star simply because of how the story developed. the characters were meh, there just wasn't much of a development of them that I cared what happened to them. The whole story line of "pea" was a bit too rushed and not really explained how such a thing could even be and do what it did. I could have done without that entire portion of the story. It isn't like it would have taken from the story at all.

The ending was meh I wanted more a lot more. Not something so easily accomplish
Bloody and Raw Science

This was an interesting story! I have no idea if it could be possible in real life but I also know nothing about genes and making new life forms. The US started a Gladiator tournament to the Olympics, which became an arena for science and blood. Creatures are made in a lab, especially for the games and the only rule is no human genes/dna. Of course a genius creates a VR computer and creates himself a son...The Brannin Machine, but the machine is what made the creature for t
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TED KOSMATKA set his sights early on being a writer. This mostly involved having all his writing rejected, pursuing a biology degree, dropping out before graduation, and becoming a steel worker like his father and grandfather. Then the mill went bankrupt. After that he worked various lab jobs where friendships were born and fire departments were called. (And where he learned the fine point of dist ...more
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