Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Tag, You're Dead by JC Lane

Title: Tag, You're Dead
Author: J C Lane
From: Netgalley
Genre: Thriller, YA
Release Date: 5th July 2016
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Six young people play a dangerous Game of Tag in public, chasing through the crowds, streets, and buildings of Chicago. This secret, one-of-a-kind, wildly expensive Game offers a macabre twist to the childhood version...if you get Tagged, you get Dead. Three "Its" have their reasons for buying a place in the Game. Surgically enhanced Brandy is obsessed with destroying a naturally beautiful girl. Untalented Robert covets his target's position as superstar of the basketball team. Brainiac Charles craves a battle against an intellectual equal. Given their elite social status, they reject any possible downside to the contest. Each expects the satisfaction of killing their prey, then walking away. Hand-picked innocents play as "Runners," under threat to their loved ones should they refuse to participate: lovely, small-town Laura; celebrated athlete Tyrese; and Amanda, gamer extraordinaire. Alone, hunted by their adversary, each feels a single hope...to survive. Technological wizardry controls the Game. As soon as Runners receive the "Go" signal on smartwatches locked to their wrists, the Game rockets them through the city, from the El to Michigan Avenue to the Lincoln Park Zoo. There is no time to rest. Every thirty minutes the Runner's location is transmitted to the It, which steadily diminishes the Runner's chance of ever reaching Home Base alive. The Game will not end until someone is Tagged, so the Runners must choose how to play. Will they accept death? Murder their Its? Or find a way to use individual strengths to stop the Game before anyone dies?

What attracted me to Tag, You're Dead was the concept. Its a bit like The Hunger Games was for me, not something that I felt I really should enjoy reading, and yet do. There is a voyeurism to Tag, You're Dead that feels a little uncomfortable and yet enjoyable at the same time, and this is particularly heightened by there being both sides of the chase described. 

On the one hand there's the Runners; Laura, Amanda and Tyrese, and then there's the Its; Brandy, Robert and Charles. The Runners are more or less in the dark about what's happening, whereas the Its had paid to hunt someone down and kill them. All the participants were teenagers and I felt that they actually acted like teenagers. 

I found it hard to sympathise with any of the Its, probably because they'd decided they wanted to kill someone basically for fun, though of the three, Charles was probably the one that seemed the coldest as his motivation did come across as pure boredom, whereas the other two seemed to have hate and jealousy fueling them. 

Tyrese seemed the hardest of the three Runners, and while he was a good athlete, Amanda was a computer genius and Laura was a good person, compassionate and likeable. Each of the three used what skills they had in an attempt to play a game they never signed up for and it worked. 

There was an incrediable amount of suspense going on, though I wasn't surprised by any part of the ending. Each of the Runners, and two of the three Its acted in just the way I thought they would, but even then I was doubting that would be the case until the very last second. 

This was a great read, full of suspense and drama.