It's an average work day. You've been wrapped up in a task, and you check the clock when you come up for air--4:44 pm. You go to check your email, and 44 unread messages have built up. With a shock, you realize it is April 4th--4/4. And when you get in your car to drive home, your odometer reads 44,444. Coincidence? Or have you just seen the edge of a rabbit hole?
Reminds Me Of: Ready Player One, Man in the High Castle, The Matrix, Lost
Warnings: This book will frighten you at times because it's heavy in conspiracy theories. I'd suggest 14+ for readers.
Triggers: Obscure nicknames, false childhood memories, diner coffee
Rabbits is a mysterious alternate reality game so vast it uses our global reality as its canvas. Since the game first started in 1959, ten iterations have appeared and nine winners have been declared. Their identities are unknown. So is their reward, which is whispered to be NSA or CIA recruitment, vast wealth, immortality, or perhaps even the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe itself. But the deeper you get, the more deadly the game becomes. Players have died in the past--and the body count is rising. And now the eleventh round is about to begin.
Okay. So there's this game called "Rabbits." You don't talk about it. You don't tweet about it. You don't think about it. It's like fight club - but for gamers. I suppose. Born out of a podcast, this book delves deep into a dangerous game that has been around for decades - maybe even centuries. It's played globally, and in secret. Who runs it? No one is sure. But what our main character "K" is sure of - the 11th round is about to begin.
K is exactly the character you'd expect to play a secret game with secret prizes and secret winners. He works as a part-time day trader, hangs out in old arcade halls mastering games like "Joust" and codes in old computer languages for fun.
One evening K meets Alan Scarpio - an alleged former winner - who says the game has become corrupt. It's lost its original purpose. People are disappearing. The world is threatened. How? And by whom? Alan needs K's help to find out before the next round begins, but he disappears shortly afterwards. What's a main character to do!? *WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE LIGHTS* Win the world's most dangerous game.
K enlists his friends "The Magician" and part-time arcade colleague Chloe to beat the game and save the world. How do they beat the game? Guided by the infamous "Hazel," K works quickly to make connections - through obsessions of words, numbers and coincidences - in their reality. And others.
Let's separate from the plot for a second. When I mention you win the game by numbers, these numbers are more like obsessions. I'm pretty sure this game is meant for people with OCD, ADHD or a bit of both. At one point K taps out the scores of tennis tournaments to calm his anxiety down. It reminds me of how I play out scales in the air (I used to play the bass).
I'm not sure how, but Terry Miles wrote this book in a way that made me very paranoid. I kept finding connections of my own. K talks about Neuromancer by William Gibson, which I'd just read last month. He comes across a rocket which brings up Foundation by Isaac Aminov, a series that premiered just weeks ago. Is that the point? To realize that everything is connected if you think it is? But then how do you know what the write connections are to win?
This book also dives heavy into conspiracy theories, as well as the Mandela effect. At a certain point Miles brings up how "Shazaam" - a movie starring Sinbad from my childhood I VIVIDLY REMEMBER - doesn't actually exist. But there's an entire generation (which I polled myself as well) that does remember this movie. So what happened? Are we going crazy? Or has a larger player moved pieces for us? *Enter Alternative Reality and Dimensions*
The game itself does get confusing. About halfway through Miles starts to focus on the science, mechanisms and quantum theories behind multiple dimensions. So are we playing a game globally - or something more? Talk about your Multi-verse of Madness" am I right?
I think my major takeaways right now (may edit later) would be that this is not a one trick pony story. I loved Ready Player One, but the plot is simple. This plot is endless layers, as frustrating as that can be at times to keep up with. I know that if I were to go back and ready it again, I'd find more obscure 80's and 90's references or false effects that would send me into a panic. It's a story I wish was real, but I'm glad it's not, because I don't trust humans. And possibly myself included.
I do hope that if Miles writes a follow-up or another similar story, that he develops the game itself more. I know the 'mystery' behind the story is to never fully understand the logistics, but give me something. The past alleged winners were hinted at consistently, but we only met two - both of whom disappeared shortly after introductions. And who the *&^% is HAZEL? COME ON.
I have a feeling I may have more thoughts, and will add to those in the coming days. However this is where I'm at today. Stay Tuned. And remember - don't talk about the game.
Drink Pairing: Stay Tuned