Endgame by Aisha Tritle

Endgame by Aisha Tritle
Publisher: Kyanite Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short story (67 pages)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When Leigh, a young and successful lawyer, is left by her boyfriend of two years for an Instagram model, she enters into a daily cycle of excessive alcohol and first dates in a virtual reality dating app called “The Game”.

Then she meets the enigmatic Alexei and it’s different. He’s beautiful, just her type, and into her. But when Leigh is trapped in The Game during a Gatsby-themed gala and forced to catch a hacker who’s using the app to set up crimes in the real world, she realizes there’s a far more dangerous game being played…
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And Alexei might be the death of her.

Leigh lives in the future and after a nasty break up spends a lot of her free time on an exceedingly safe and popular virtual reality program “The Game”. There, she meets Alexei and is instantly smitten. Is everything really as it seems?

I found this to be an interesting short story set not too far into the future. Told in the first person I was intrigued in that there is enough future-type of tech to make this feel a bit of a Sci-Fi story but yet still remain close enough to the present to not stretch readers who usually wouldn’t delve into the realms of Sci-Fi stories. While it took quite some time (almost half the short story) for the mystery/suspense aspect of the plot to really get going I thought that it was well thought out. Although initially I found the plot a little murky and hard to understand I was pleased that this quickly smoothed out and it became a lot clearer and the pace picked up. Readers who enjoy futuristic thrillers should find this an interesting and quick read.

I thought Leigh and Alexei’s characters were interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed that neither of them were as simple or straight-forward as I expected. I really wish the story had a bit more time to flesh out both of their characters and give a more solid grounding to their actions. A few times I had to pause and go back to re-read as I didn’t fully comprehend why they sometimes acted as they did. I feel if the author had spent a bit more time rounding out both Alexei and Leigh’s characters and showing us the reasons and thinking behind their actions then this would have allowed me as the reader to more fully understand each of their motivations.

That said I think the fast pace of the story helped sell the action aspect to the story and helped make the reader feel that this was a roller coaster that had simply gone out of control. While I personally found there was a solid lead-up to Leigh’s final actions and they were explained quite well, I’m not certain all readers will feel the same way. Such a polarizing action will likely split many readers and while many will find them justified I think many equally will feel that Leigh crossed a line.

Futuristic and yet far too believable, this is an interesting Sci-Fi story with a good, solid mystery aspect to it. A quick and heart-pounding read I feel it should appeal to a wide range of readers.

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