Book Review: End Game (Alan Gibbons)


Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Pages: 208
Release Date: 9th April 2015

‘He was here again last night, the man with the dead eyes. He was in my room and in my head.’
There are not many things Nick Mallory knows for sure.
He knows there was a car crash. He knows he is in hospital. And he knows he feels furious with his father. What he doesn’t know is why.
As his memories start to return, Nick finds himself caught in a net of secrets and lies – where truth and perception collide and heroes and villains are not easy to tell apart.  


I haven’t read an Alan Gibbons book in about 10 years (my sister had Shadow of the Minotaur and I loved it) but after hearing him to speak at the UKYA Extravaganza this year, I wanted to read some of his more recent works. So I was happy when I won End Game in a Twitter competition (Thank you to Books with Bite!)

End Game is really interesting as it’s told from the perspective of Nick, who is lying immobile in a hospital bed. Although he can think and see, he is unable to communicate or move, and he loses himself in dreams and memories about how he got to be there. It was great to see a mystery revealed this way: it had the same kind of dribs and drabs of information leaked that you’d expect in a mystery story, but had to be a bit more creative about the way it happened.

Sometimes though, that didn’t work for me. There were times when characters said things which sounded purely expositional, as if they were there to lead Nick into another flashback. The way some of the scenes were described over dialogue sometimes felt a bit clumsy too: I couldn’t imagine anyone actually speaking like that.

The issues in End Game are quite sensitive and it’s one of those books where it’s hard to point out the good guy and the bad guy, hard to tell if an action was pure evil or a simple mistake. I could see the point of view of both Nick and his father and felt sorry for both of them. It really was a tricky one.

I really enjoyed Nick as both character and narrator, which is a good job, as we spend a lot of time stuck in his head with him. There were several times when he made me laugh out loud, and I could really see his conflicts with his father and his relationship with his family and girlfriend. He felt very real.

The ending took me by surprise and had me racing to finish and see what happened. I don’t want to spoil it but there was a moment of “Oh no! Not after everything that’s happened!” (Nice and cryptic for you)

For me, this was a great re-introduction to Alan Gibbons, and I am going to make an efffort to read more of his books from now. I recommend you all do the same 😉

My Verdict:

Ahaha I love this book, you should totally read it!

If you enjoyed this you might like Flesh and Blood by Simon Cheshire

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