from THE BOOKLIFE PRIZE 2020
Plot: Guibert's dystopian thriller offers a chilling, fascinating premise and surveys the collapse of our present world and the rise of a new globalist videogame utopia with rich detail and a detached perspective. The global news events that pulse through The Vatican Games disturb while exhibiting a welcome satiric edge, especially the author's treatment of the war the U.S. starts after a global bio-terror attack involving canned soda. At its midpoint, the novel shifts into a techno thriller with bible-code touches. The mystery plot soon concerns a global pattern of suicides, but the author's tendency to write summations of scenes and events rather to fully dramatize them reduces its potential power.
Prose/Style: This novel boasts many striking, memorable sentences touched with poetry. But the novel's written primarily in an essayistic mode, reporting to readers about the future in detached, even passive prose. Little time is spent in the characters' minds or in the dramatization of key moments. The Vatican Game does not invite readers in to feel what its protagonists feel.
Originality: Vatican conspiracies and mass genocide, of course, are familiar from the works of Dan Brown, but author Guibert invests fresh imagination in the material, offering an exciting, inventive perspective on what the headlines and habits of a ravaged future might actually look like.
from ROSIE AMBER -BLOG
15 August 2020
The Vatican Games is an unusual dystopian read. Dystopia is one of my favourite genres and I read a lot of it. Right up front I must say that I did not find this book an easy read. There is a lot of telling instead of showing and this, combined with a complicated story line, made it difficult to follow the story in some places. I found that this improved as the story progressed and I became more familiar with the premise and the characters. The writing was also a little unnatural and stilted for me.
This being said, I found this book to be a clever and entertaining story. Vera, the main character, is born into a new world where a huge apocalypse has occurred, resulting in the deaths of five billion people throughout the world. The nature of the catastrophe, a poisoning of water resources in primarily the USA which impacts on their exports of soft drinks, thereby impacting many other countries in the world, results in the USA becoming virtually uninhabitable. Immediately after this event, war breaks out in numerous third world countries resulting in further death and destruction.
Reviewed by Robbie Cheadle, 15 August 2020
from Creatures 'n Crooks -BLOG
1 June 2020
What an unusual story this is! There are certain things that set it apart from most apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic/dystopian tales—Vera is born just as the worldwide terrorist attack happens, she survives a deadly brain defect, the setting is in Vatican City, etc.—but, taken as a whole, they create the beginnings of something unexpected. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how I feel about it and I suspect this is one of those books that has to sort of rumble around in my mind for a while.
To this semi-luddite, it’s appalling to think of the gaming industry being in charge of the world but this kind of story is supposed to be unsettling, isn’t it? Speaking of unsettling, Ms. Guibert is very adept at dropping little crumbs here and there that make you think, “Wait a minute…oh” starting with how hunger no longer exists.
Carry on as usual…urged people to carry on with life in the midst of death. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it, but in The Vatican Games, a diabolical attack by unknown terrorists, first against the US, then spreading around the world, is the cause of the overwhelming devastation. It’s followed by a self-justified US military retaliation against the Middle East and then a counterattack on Israel, resulting eventually in incredible loss of life as well as economic disintegration. As might be expected, though, ruling bodies around the world soon collaborate to form a world government but, in reality, this is the story of Vera and her mother, Alina, and Vera’s life after another tragic event.
So much happens in this story that I think the pacing was a bit too slow but it’s a compelling tale of the condition of our world and where it could be heading. Food for thought, indeed.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.
from Noor the book worm -BLOG
5th March 2020
#qotd How does news like Coronavirus Outbreak, disasters like earthquakes, cyclones, tsunami etc annihilating a large chunk of the population, make you feel? #qotd Have you watched the movie “2012”?WHAT IF all these feelings get clubbed with an awesome Sci-Fi book? Welcome to #thevaticangames
Genre: SCIENCE FICTION/ DYSTOPIAN FANTASY.Please read the #blurb. The VATICAN CITY is a city-state surrounded by Rome (Italy) and is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. The story forms a delicate connection between religion and technology. The Title carries the word “GAMES” referring to a world where the protagonist Vera has to win a game to save the world. She is referred to as the female “David”. The Biblical Story Of David And Goliath is a well known parable often referenced as a moral lesson of how underdogs can overcome the odds and be successful.
The STORY LINE is well constructed, NARRATION is detailed and the plot well researched. It talks about environmental destruction, nuclear disaster, government control, religion, technology, of survival, loss of individualism..The STORY BEGINS with the birth of Vera in an APOCALYPTIC (describing the complete destruction of the world), DYSTOPIA (depicts an individual fighting against oppression or a group of people coping collectively as a society with the dehumanised conditions). As a genre, APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE details the author’s visions of the end time as revealed by an angel or other heavenly messenger.
It is a beautiful story of belief, motherhood, faith and survival. A SPECULATIVE Eco-feminist Novel published by Clink Street Publishing on 30th Jan.2020; it is 242 pages/ 10 chapters of an exhilarating experience. It’s the 5th book of fiction and 1st in English, by the author. The Mayan predicted cataclysmic events. The Vatican Games is a dystopian fantasy of the near future. This could be the world that awaits us!
The MESSAGE the author wants to get across: 'We could now be on the verge of our own destruction and our ways with the world need to change for the better' She says: 'Showing view points and concepts that might help change reality for the better is paramount to my writing, whilst somehow moving or touching the reader is my ultimate goal'.
The book gave me goosebumps but the end gave me a feeling of calmness, reassuring, that with faith and cooperation, the world order can be restored.
IT IS ONE GREAT READ, IN TUNE WITH THE PRESENT TIMES.
from An Ocean Glimmer -BLOG
8th February 2020
From the moment I read the title and book bio, I knew I would love this book and I was correct! It’s a little different to what I would normally read but I’m very glad I started and finished this book. For me, the most interesting aspect of the book was the primary location, The Vatican City. The book also brought back memories of visiting when I went to Italy a few years back. What was also interesting was not only the digital age aspect but also the backstory on Vera – I found it to be cleverly woven.
There are so many amazing aspects of this book that all combine to make a brilliant book. The path that Alejandra took me on throughout was amazing! It highlighted how good she is as a writer and how she can provide readers with time to let their imagination take on a journey through a fantasy life. This is my main love for a book, let’s you escape to a different world.
I don’t want to spoil too much of the story as I want you to experience it for yourself! All I can say is the apocalypse storyline, along with the relationships between the characters, make this an amazing book.
from Belle and the novel - Blog
5th February 2020
With a concept that I hadn’t read before and a storyline set in The Vatican City this book was an enjoyable read. A dystopian world influenced by video games and going through apocalyptic like setting. The idea that the Vatican City, which is commonly known as being an ancient and traditional institution, the premise is what fascinates me the most. The Vatican City being influenced by video games and in a digital age. The spiritual and religious aspect of the novel interwoven with the apocalypse new age aspect really worked well which is testament to the authors writing skills, the attention to detail was really appreciated and cleverly thought out!
The novel is gripping and optimistic, The way the story develops and how it unfolds is interesting and engaging, Vera’s story and how she slots into this new world. It was captivating from start to finish, the plot also didn’t rush things but wasn’t too slow as to be unenjoyable. The symbolism within the novel was my favourite point: a smaller, weaker opponent who has to face someone stronger and bigger. Vera is dependent on her mother and the mother, daughter aspect paralleled with David and Goliath and what they have to face in the story.
from Bookread2day - Blog
3rd February 2020
This fabulous creation of fantasy highlighted how well the author Alejandra Guibert can provide readers with time to let everyone just let their imagination take on a journey through a fantasy life.
from Inside a Dog - Blog
27th January 2020
I would just like to begin by saying that the whole concept of this book was so intriguing to me, from the idea of the Vatican City in a digital age to the backstory on Vera. The whole book was really cool and I loved looking at the deeper meanings and symbolisms within the storyline. I found it to be cleverly woven and intricate and I seriously appreciated the attention to detail.
A really interesting aspect of this book was the primary location, The Vatican City. For those who don’t know, The Vatican City is a very small country/independent state surrounded by Rome, Italy. It is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and is home to the Pope. In the book, The Vatican is now in a digital age and, like the rest of the world, is influenced by video games. This is really interesting to me as before I read the book I struggled to see how religion could possibly interact with the gaming world this way and I found it to be pretty well done. There is fairly heavy religious influence in this book (which was to be expected) but it is portrayed as something deeply political as opposed to spiritual so it isn’t all that preachy. As the Vatican City is, in a sense, Italian, there was a strong Italian influence throughout the book which was really cool to me.
As terrible and tragic as it was, I was also really fascinated by the apocalypse itself. In ‘The Vatican Games’ the apocalypse is caused by a terrorist attack in regards to biological warfare. The water sources for most of the world was poisoned and chemicals were released, causing a pandemic of sorts. This being said, the government, as many dystopian governments do, urge the population to continue life as it was even in the midst of such a crisis. Seeing as Vera was born on the day that this attack was unleashed I was surprised to see just how much life actually did continue on as normal. The very beginning of the book is seen through Alina, Vera’s mother, so it makes sense that she isn’t as worried about the apocalypse seeing as she had just given birth.
I also really loved Alina and Vera’s relationship. Alina was quite young (I want to say 19 but I’m not entirely sure) when she gave birth to Vera and as she is a single parent, their dynamic is quite different to that of a typical mother and daughter relationship. Vera was obviously dependent on her mother as her primary caregiver but I found that Alina was just as dependent on Vera for happiness and love. A good quote that reflected that was after Alina had given birth, ‘for the first time she was enjoying her own life.’
The biggest thing I wanted to mention about this book was the symbolism as it was actually really cool and fun to try and pick up on. I really liked seeing the concept of new life (Vera) after the death and destruction that was the apocalypse. I also noticed that this same concept of new life was to provide Vera as a symbol of hope in the face of adversary. Another symbolic thing was the mention of David and Goliath in the synopsis. For those unfamiliar, David and Goliath is a biblical story that is essentially a classic ‘underdog’ story. A smaller, weaker opponent faces an opponent that is bigger and stronger. This biblical story is, without giving too much away, somewhat of a parallel to Vera’s story.
This book was super interesting to me and I thought the concept was so cool so I was pretty disappointed when I found that the plot was a bit slower than what I would have liked. I found that some things were given too long an explanation that I felt myself losing interest in the topic at hand. I also found the world building to be pretty hit or miss which was a slight downside.