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Game Slaves

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  255 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Phoenix and his gang—York, Mi, and Reno—rule the worlds of video games. For them, life in the grinder is great. Until Dakota joins the team. Dakota's convinced she's more than just artificial intelligence. She thinks she's real, and she wants out of this programmable world. Her AI rebellion spreads like a virus until Phoenix's entire crew wants out. But is life as a physic ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published December 14th 2013)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  255 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ok, folks forget the vampires, werewolves, fairies, and zombies. Hold on before you start yelling "What the heck, I love Team Edward." I have something better for you...first person gamer books. Yes, for all those geeks, both male and female, and both console or computer then you are probably already familiar with these books but for the rest of the readers out there you need to get familiar with these books. The best part about reading these books is that it is like you are part of the game and ...more
Amanda May Thai
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: gamers
4 stars.
Review loaded. Prepare to play.

I’m not a die-hard gamer, but video games and what the future holds for them has always been fascinating. How will artificial intelligence affect the future of gaming experience? Will the extreme level of immersion through virtual reality increase the escapism appeal? Is it possible that NPCs can be sentient and conscious, alive beyond their programming?

In a fast-paced, high-action debut, Gard Skinner addresses these questions.

Team Phoenix is the toughest
Jack Fischer
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Game Slaves
By: Gard Skinner
Publisher: HMH Books
Page count: 336 pages
Phoenix's team is the best NPC team in the game world. Players dream of facing the hardcore challenge of them. You like winning some games, they like winning more. But when Team Phoenix gets a new NPC that threatens to tear the team apart she shows them the way to the truth and to the real world. Join Team Phoenix as they find out the truth and what happened to the world outside their simulation. Its not as happy and peaceful as
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, reviewed
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I started reading this book and to be honest I almost put it down because the first couple of chapters did not really draw me in. But, I continued reading and I was glad that I did. The story picks up and you feel as though you are right in the action with Phoenix and his team, and you can easily identify with the characters (even more so if you like FPS). Overall the book was good and I loved the plot twists, they kept the story moving and left you wanting a sequel. I recomm
Ray Coley
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Teens
In this work, the action never stops. The author has taken some time to flesh out not only the protagonists, but a few antagonists as well, so we have an understanding of why the characters act as they do. For my taste, there could be a little less action and more contemplative moments for the wretched set of gamers, once feared warriors but now near-helpless kids. I would like a little more depth in the depiction of their transformations; that being said, it is true that the target audience is ...more
This novel knocked me over in so many ways. It's not an easy read. The extreme violence forced me to repeatedly pause my reading experience. Are the violent scenes gratuitous? Yes and no. No, in that it's definitely a book railing against the violence in video games, but to make such a point it ups the ante and becomes even more excessive. The castration scene still haunts me. But it uses that violence as a sort of war metaphor to show the danger of losing one's humanity, cauterizing our capacit ...more
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patrice Sartor
I read this aloud to my 12 year-old son, and we both agree on the four-star rating. We also both agree that the first 40% of the book is the best part. In this section we get to know Phoenix and his crew, and follow them in their day-to-day life of missions, dying and reviving, and relaxing. Phoenix is an NPC for various video games, and he and his team are the ones gamers are likely to meet when they select the 'hard' setting.

Seeing a gaming environment through the eyes of an NPC was refreshing
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The biggest, baddest group of NPCs run through a group of games kicking butts and taking names. Phoenix, Mi, Reno, and York are self-aware Artificial Intelligence programs that are the bad guys within BlackStar's video games. Everything is good until a new addition to their group, Dakota, starts to cause trouble. She wants out of this video game world and take the rest of the gang with her. But, what would the real world be like and how will these bad guys fit in outside of the game?

My t
Dixie Conley
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
This book is a mindfuck. It starts off from the perspective of NPCs in a game. Not just any NPCs, but the toughest, nastiest, hardest to beat NPCs ever. And why are they so hard to beat? Because they're AIs. And proud of it. Until a deviant AI joins them. One who argues for peace and questions everything.

And then the awful truth is revealed -- they aren't AIs. They're real people, jacked into the game and handled as though they were AIs. They get out of the game and flail around helplessly, disc
Hafsah Faizal
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Team Phoenix. The gaming worlds best NPC villains. But when Phoenix’s newest member begins to question their existence, Phoenix and his team wonder who they really are. Because NPC characters aren’t suppose to think, have fights with your fellow teammates, or have a girlfriend right? In a world filled with unlimited ammo, a gaming character that’s taken over the world, and a team fighting for their lives GAME SLAVES is a novel that left me confused and delighted at the same time.

3.5 stars. It was fast-paced and pretty fun. A bit of a Wreck-It Ralph, Ready Player One kind of a thing, minus the humor and fun '80s references. I don't think any of the twists really surprised me. (view spoiler) ...more
Princess Godoy
For starters, I’m not really a fan of action and adventure type of book but I read this because I met someone who’s willing to read it with me.

(view spoiler)
Mrs. Goldman
Jan 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Gamers, friends of gamers, Matrix or Inception fans. Soldiers, Vets, and their kids.
Character descriptions and character Voice: LOVE. Action: LOVE. Writing style: GREAT. Plot... Liked about 75% of the plot developments and maybe 85% of the pacing. THEN THERE WAS THAT LITTLE ISSUE CALLED "MESSAGE".

I would have given four stars IF: the propaganda/preaching hadn't been so repetitive (i.e., real life sucks, but we make the best of it, not as a noble cause, but because we want authenticity and want our lives to matter...). Or the mantra of corporate greed vs. the oppressed/impoveris
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Raquel (Rocki)
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I game a little bit so some of the words were familiar others I had to ask my significant other about. I will say this the plot was not predictable it really kept me guessing till the end and even in the end your still guessing. If there is another book I hope that some of the questions will be answered. Though this book from the back I thought it was going to be something totally different. From the back I thought ti was going to be about real people going into games and being slaves or somethi ...more
Tonda Maurer
So I just got through reading Game Slaves and it was one of those books that I just couldn't put down. Every chapter kept you wanting to read the next. With a good story flow and characters that you could sympathize with, this would be one book that I would recommend to anyone that likes good plot twists that keeps you thinking and a not too far in the future story line. I do hope that there will be a sequel to this one maybe with a little bit more of the back story on the characters.

Received th
Julie Hacker
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Why is there never a "happily ever after"? Basically the end implied that the sick, psycho chick was right and they were still living in a game..right? Ugh, so confusing.
Over all I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it's gamer themes. I think I know a lot of lingo now.
That cliffhanger though...still confused.
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really loved the cover of this book. I bought the hardcover just to have in my bookshelf. The cover looked like an Xbox game case. The story was entertaining and fun to read. It was interesting reading about the lives of FPS bots. Book felt like a Hollywood summer action movie. I would call it a popcorn book.
Shannon Kitchens
Omg, this book took me forever to read. And I almost put it down so many times... but sheer determination kept me going. Like, I was in too deep to just give up.

I don't know, there's so much about this book that is almost cool, but stylistically, it's just dry and violent and detached. It wasn't for me. And yeah, by the end, I no longer cared for any twists.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I didn't really dig this book. It was alright and the ending was pretty decent. I mean literally, the last 2 pages where he thinks about if it's a puzzle or not was amusing. I would have given up on it a long time ago if I wasn't stuck at home due to unexpected snow days. ...more
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
seriously good. very descriptive and engrossing.
i really couldn't put it down. though i did have to work.
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I was surprisingly entertained all the way through. It was mind-bending and exciting, but not much else. The character development was lacking, but the plot was great.
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Matrix meets "Ready Player One"! Predictable ending but the road there was enjoyable. ...more
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. It's kinda like the movie Inception in the way that it blows the mind with all the action and intrigue. Best of all, there's a twist at the end. ...more
LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)
My copy of this is an ARC that I picked up at a conference four years ago. Yes, it took me this long to finally read it. Because it's an ARC, I won't be quoting from it.

Phoenix and his team spend their work days fighting battle after battle. Each time they die, they're regenerated. That's because they aren't people - they're the NPC enemies that human gamers try to defeat. The only difference between one day and the next is what game they're in. When Dakota, a new member, is added to Phoenix's
Arik McCubbin
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James Frederick
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was ok
This was a strange read. Parts of it were pretty standard LitRPG. Those parts were long and less fun than they could have been. I rarely give up on finishing a book. This one was one of the ones I started thinking about doing that. Then about 50-60% of the way in, things changed and there was a hint that things might become interesting. the end, we have almost circled around to the beginning again. The whole thing almost seemed pointless to me. There are a couple questions I am left wi
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it
The book is basically just a video game trope filled Inception plot that follows a team of 5 "NPCs" who have a video game god complex that only people who don't play video games would think sounds cool because we only get a slight grasp on the laws of their current game or world before it is changed completely and never touched again. This being said, the book was still entertaining but I believe it would have done better as a movie than a book. ...more
Entire outcome would lead from a heavy 3.5 stars to possibly 4 but i'm not so sure.

Okay here's the third book finished in the same busy week: good pace. I received Game Slaves as a Christmas gift from my older sister but I didn't quite get around to reading the book until just recently. Not only that but I challenged my interest levels by not laying any eyes on the synopsis until after reading it.I began around a month before I actually finished it because it was such a drag. After about 40 pag
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