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Game of the Gods

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  24 reviews

Jay Shiffman's Game of the Gods is a debut sci-fi/fantasy thriller of political intrigue and Spielberg-worthy action sequences in the vein of Pierce Brown's Red Rising

Max Cone wants to be an ordinary citizen of the Federacy and leave war and politics behind. He wants the leaders of the world to leave him alone. But he’s too good a military commander, and too powerful a j

Hardcover, 335 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Tor Books
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3.22  · 
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 ·  79 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
1.5 stars. Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Hundreds of years in our world’s future, dystopia prevails, at least in the nation called the Federacy. Judge Max Cone, with a stellar career as a military commander behind him, has spent the last fourteen years as a high judge. One of his duties is to interview young people who want to become formal citizens of the Federacy, guaranteeing them freedom. Most are rejected, sent to border settlements where life is perilous. Now Max is bidin
Jul 09, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
Game of the Gods, an adult science fiction novel by Jay Schiffman, is about a future dystopian world in which several political factions are constantly fighting. Max Cone, a judge for the Federacy, finds himself in the middle of this global war. He realizes his life with his family was never what he thought it was, and Max has to do what he can to get his family back and stop this war.

This is Jay Schiffman’s first novel, and it’s hard to explain how much I really hated it. If I hadn’t been readi
Jul 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe it’s the jam-packed narrative, maybe it’s the trap of the first novel; whatever it is, Schiffman’s high-flying ideas and intriguing premise fall utterly flat in the novel’s actual writing.

Full review available at
TW for sexual assault, systematic sexism, and probably more that I definitely didn't get to because screw this, life's too short to keep reading a book designed to torment me.

(view spoiler)
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in two main sittings. Coffee with one. Wine with the other. It was fast-paced and very hard to put down. There are a lot of big issues to consider in the book, but in the end, I enjoyed the story most. There are some serious plot twists that I didn’t see coming. I strongly recommend this book.
Eric Taylor
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Engrossing. I don’t want to say it’s like The Hunger Games because … definitely not. But same kind of feeling. In Game of the Gods, it’s about a group of odd characters working together to take down some powerful forces and that reminds me of a lot of great dystopian books. Some of the rescue and chase scenes are really fantastic, and would love to see this made into a movie.
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed Game of the Gods because of the fast-paced action scenes and interesting characters. It's a very quick read and had me hooked from the very beginning. I'm not a heavy science fiction reader but I really enjoyed this book because it felt like an action movie kind of like X-Men. I'd recommend it to both science fiction readers and non scifi readers.
Tania Cohen
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read “Game of the Gods” on a whim. I am a lover of scifi/fantasy reads, and this action-packed, page turner did not disappoint me. This novel definitely reminded me of Atwood’s, Oryx and Crake” due to the post-apocalyptic/dystopian setting and Dashner’s “The Maze Runner” in the way that we followed a motley crew in its battle against a seemingly all-powerful and omnipresent ruler. The story deals with how politics, religion, ethics, and emotions interact.

In the beginning, Max Cone, the novel’s
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought Game of the Gods was pretty great overall. Without giving anything away, the story takes place in a dystopian future. The plot seemed familiar in a good way- a motley crew trying to save the world. But the story felt completely new and refreshing.
The characters, especially the protagonist and narrator Max Cone and a gifted teenage girl named Pique Rollins, were the kind of characters that are very easy to identify with. I found the novel to be extremely captivating and I got lost in a
Ryan Z.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a smart book that makes you think. Sometimes all the different characters and plotlines were a bit hard to follow, but overall great fun. Anyone know if there's a sequel? I hope so, I would buy it.
Eugene Patrick
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best dystopian novel I’ve read since Hunger Games!!
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My book club selected Game of the Gods as our book last month. All four of us absolutely loved it!! Fell in love with Max Cone. Can’t wait for the sequel!!!
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic sci-fi page turner set in the distant future. With compelling characters, fast action and timely political and religious themes, it is as gripping as it is provocative.
Danielle Birk
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys science fiction, dystopian stories, political drama, or a good adventure
Recommended to Danielle by: The sales person at Barnes and Noble
Such a good book so far. I like the characters in particular. Does anyone else love Max?
John S
Dec 10, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Congratulations, Jay, on getting your debut novel published. And I did finish it, which is something. But honestly, this was kind of a mess. A mixup of unrealistic action, metaphysics, superhero fiction and dystopia whose reach far exceeded it's grasp.

Sometimes a novel is twisty - you never know whom to trust - and ends with a satisfying conclusion that shows how all of the parts worked together. In this novel, there are twists, and you never know who to trust, and then it ends. Also, the charac
Kevin Indrebo
Aug 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not much I can say about this one. Painfully amateur prose, melodramatic characters, and a disjointed plot. I gave up about halfway through.
It's only been a few days but I found myself trying to think back on if I finished this or not. I read the decriptor here and scoffed because it really painted this book and something it's not. It suggests deep meaningful characters with drives and motivation yet they might as well be stick figures or stand ins. The world itself with its warring groups and weird zealots wasn't very well fleshed out. The intro was strong though, the judge making decisions, being logical, meeting a strange individ ...more
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great debut novel for the author! Fast moving and extremely enjoyable. I didn't want to put it down. It was a great combination of politics and science fiction, with a number of different plot twists along the way! You definitely didn't know who to trust. Extremely good character development, especially of the protagonist, Max Cone. Highly recommend for anyone who enjoys action! I look forward to the movie version of "Game of the Gods", as well as future efforts from the author!
Feb 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-sci-fi
I kept almost "dnf"-ing this one; it never takes off plot-wise and the characters are either caricatures or never developed. Seems like the author is multi-talented in real life, but I wouldn't include fiction writing as one. Boring near-future with an inter-continental rivalry, a former judge and former general, some magical gene lines, a search for divinity and a purpose for mankind, and uncompelling rivalries just don't add up to much.
Jim Kahn
May 20, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely atrocious writing - although the subject matter is adult, the stilted, repetitive dialogue feels more like juvenile fiction. The setting and story might have been a bit original, but I could never get back the childish narrative and dialogue. Jay might be a talented and creative person, but this book just screams of a complete lack of effort.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't understand how this book was published, where the blurbs came from or even exactly how this disappointed me. I was fascinated by the opening chapters but by around a hundred pages in, I couldn't remember why. This is a laundry list of writing mistakes, one after another, with a listless protagonist, incomprehensible plot, absurd characters, poor prose and questionable content.

Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this on a whim, and was thoroughly impressed. It is like The Hunger Games or Maze Runner. We see how morals, politics, and action weave into a dystopian society with redefined values. I read it in two sittings- I hope there is a sequel!
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The characters are very two dimensional; although there a lot of deaths none of it really resonates with the characters or the reader. Its reads like a pretty average post-apocalyptic genre book. Weak ending, too.
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as if it were a 1980s action movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger cast as the lead role. It's a guilty pleasure read.

The intense action scenes are only interrupted by scenes with officials who've taken his family--even if there's 6 months between scenes.

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Aug 23, 2018
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Jacquie Vonhunnius
rated it it was ok
Mar 20, 2019
Scott Cox
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Oct 05, 2018
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Jan 07, 2019
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Oct 27, 2018
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Jay grew up in an unremarkable New York City suburb playing basketball, watching Steven Spielberg movies, and reading everything that Kurt Vonnegut ever wrote. As a kid, it was obvious what Jay’s two main passions were—writing and arguing. So, eventually, he would become a lawyer.

Jay went to the University of Michigan where he studied English and Political Science. After that, Jay received a law d