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Book Review: The Games We’ve Played

The Games We've Played (Aces High, Jokers Wild Book 8)The Games We’ve Played by O. E. Tearmann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having moved around a lot in my life, I’m familiar with the wistful feeling that can hit as one carries their last box out of a familiar home. There’s no way to physically pack up the amassed memories and emotions that took place inside those walls, but they might never be forgotten. As I read the final page of the last book in the “Aces High, Jokers Wild” series, that familiar wistful feeling came over me. The Games We’ve Played is an extremely satisfying conclusion to the dystopian epic that author O. E. Tearmann introduced back in book one, The Hands We’re Given. The year was 2155, and the United States of America had been overturned and was now ruled by seven corporations. Aidan Headley had just taken command of the Wildcards, part of a resistance movement against the corporations. and Kevin McIllian, the group’s logistics officer, wasn’t sure what to think of this young, untested commander.

Over the course of eight full-length novels, plus a near-equal number of special story collections and holiday tales, I’ve watched as Aidan, Kevin, and the rest of the Wildcards matured, struggled, learned, loved, won, and lost. The storyline has always remained rock solid, constantly moving both the plot and the characters forward. In this final adventure, the corporations have finally gone too far; they’ve shut off the citizen’s water, nationwide. Lives are on the line, and fast action is needed. Aidan’s team, as usual, comes up with surprisingly effective schemes to help the citizens in the short term while helping rally the nation to take back what’s theirs, once and for all.

I don’t know how far I expected the author to push these characters, but they exceeded anything I could imagine. I began finding extra reading time in my days. I was impatient to see what was going to happen next, as the schemes grew increasingly intense. I think it was in the wee hours around 3am one day when I finally finished the story. I had no choice, since there was no way I could sleep without knowing how it would end.

The book releases on the 4th of July (which is today, as I write this!), in a year that’s politically difficult for many Americans, including me. The Hands We’re Given may not solve our real-world problems, but it can certainly empower us by teaching us to think differently. At the end of the book you’ll find lots of practical resources that can help you get involved with the reality of the hands we’ve been given, as well.

This review was first published at SciFi.Radio

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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