________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 24 . . . . February 27, 2015


Rush. (The Game, Book 1).

Eve Silver.
New York, NY: Katherine Tegen Books (Distributed in Canada by HarperCollins Canada), 2013/2014.
361 pp., trade pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 978-0-06-219214-1.

Subject Headings:
Combat-Juvenile fiction.
Extraterrestrial beings-Juvenile fiction.
Interpersonal relations-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Ann Ketcheson.

*** /4


The pain makes me stumble back until I hit the cave’s cold rock wall.

“Miki!” Tyrone yells from somewhere to my right.

I don’t take my eyes off the Drau. There’s only one. No backup. I notice things that I didn’t notice before when we were fighting so many of them that all I saw was light; all I knew was fear. The glowing, glassy surface of the Drau’s body...I think it isn’t naked skin as I get a good look. I think it’s some sort of suit that covers everything, with openings for its eyes and mouth. There are no nostrils, and I don’t see any ears.

My first shot went wide. I shift my angle and fire again. The Drau is silent as the blackness surges from my weapon; it appears frozen in place by terror. My shot is true, the darkness engulfing my enemy from its feet up. At the last second, the Drau’s eyes catch mine and pain tears at me from the inside out. Then it’s gone, swallowed whole, and the agony wrenches away, leaving my whole body prickling with painful reawakening, like the blood rushing to a limb after it’s fallen asleep.

“Miki!” Luka’s right beside me as I drop to one knee, Tyrone right behind him.

I look up and see Jackson a few feet away, his weapon in his hand, pointing to the spot where the Drau stood seconds ago. I terminated it, but if I hadn’t, Jackson had my back, again.

“I’m okay,” I rasp as Luka hunkers down beside me, worry and uncertainty etched in his features. He studies my face, then offers a faint smile. “Nice shot, but whatever points you gained were more than eaten up by penalty. Sucks to be you.”

I drag in a breath, the pain sharp and bright. By the third breath, it’s easing to a dull ache, more like a bruise than a stab. I turn my wrist and check my con. It’s still mostly green with just a hint of yellow. Not so bad, then.

Jackson strides over and pauses by my side. Then he holds out his hand, and when I take it, he pulls me to my feet. His fingers are warm against mine for a brief second, then he lets go and steps away. Not a word of comfort, just that all-too-brief touch.

“I’ll live, thanks for asking,” I mutter.

“How did you know it was there?” he asks, and even though the question is simple, asked in a low, casual tone, I feel as though there’s a lot riding on my answer.

“I just knew. Instinct, I guess. And back when we got hit by the whole group, I knew to close my eyes before the bright light flashed and I knew to drop to the ground before the first shot was fired.”

“I told you to do those things.”

“You did, but I was already doing them before you said. The longer I’m in the game, the more my instincts seem to be taking over.”

He doesn’t say anything to that, just offers a spare, sharp nod.


Rush is the first volume of Eve Silver’s “The Game” trilogy. The main character, Miki, is pulled out of her daily existence, through time and space, and into the world of the Game. She and others on her team have been recruited to fight the Drau, a group of aliens who hope to take over earth and get rid of human life. Miki soon realizes that this is not just fantasy; the Game is anything but playful and soon becomes deadly.

      Silver has chosen to narrate the novel from the point of view of Miki who appears to be a fairly average high school student when readers first meet her. Readers soon realize there is more depth to her, however. Miki needs to be brave in her real world as she copes with her feelings after the death of her mother, and she struggles as she watches her father turn more and more often to alcohol in order to cope in his own way. Miki is a good student, a runner and a practitioner of the sport of Kendo, and consequently she has both the intellectual and physical abilities needed when she finds herself recruited to the Game. She is someone who needs to feel she can control both herself and her surroundings, and this becomes increasingly difficult, particularly in the Game environment where Miki barely understands the “rules”.

     Jackson is team leader. He says little, and what he does say is cryptic and unlikely to truly answer the questions posed by his team members. He is in charge and controlling and apparently is more likely to be logical and do his duty rather than become emotionally involved with situations or people.

     Other supporting characters include Luka and Tyrone, both of whom also switch from the real world to that of the Game. As well, there are Miki’s many girlfriends who are part of her high school circle, but who have no idea that any other world exists.

     Both male and female young adult readers will enjoy the fast pace of the novel, as well as aspects of science fiction, aliens, and time travel. Since Silver has chosen to use the vocabulary and other characteristics of a video game as the backdrop for the plot, the novel feels contemporary. The ‘rush’ of the title could well be the adrenalin rush felt by both characters and readers as they are forcibly pulled from one reality to another. The plot also often feels somewhat ‘rushed’ as Silver attempts to keep the action moving in both the real world and the game sequences.

     While the essential idea of the book is both original and creative, Silver does occasionally make a misstep. Miki’s friends at high school, particularly her best friend Carly, seem somewhat stereotyped, interested primarily in boys and what hair colour to choose for their next dye job. Carly is especially annoying at times, becoming the classic teen “bitchy girl” whose friendship for Miki seems to quickly evaporate when things don’t go her way.

     As well, there is a love triangle in the novel which really adds little to the story yet about which Silver constantly reminds readers. While Luka seems quite interested in Miki, it is clear that her feelings are centered on “bad boy” Jackson. It seems somewhat trite that Luka who is low-key and seems to truly like Miki cannot compete with the handsome, devilish Jackson character.

     The novel ends on a fairly typical cliff-hanger which presumably will have readers eagerly awaiting the second book of the trilogy. Where is Jackson after the latest battle with the Drau? Is he alive or dead?

     Only Push, the next volume will answer the question for readers.


Ann Ketcheson, a retired high school teacher-librarian and teacher of English and French, lives in Ottawa, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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