Senseless by Steve Cole

(8.5/10)

While other people thought Kenzie K-Boy Mitchell was wasting his time playing games, he proves them wrong by winning a trip out to a games tournament. Thui means top air flight to the place, limo to the venue, top stay at a hotel and food and drinks on arrival. It’s so great being a top gamer, but it's not so simple.

The tournament takes place in Sensia States HQ where K-Boy meets the rest of the players. The Sensia UltraState games console is virtual reality plus and he can't wait to get his hands on it. At the Hotel Escape, everything looks normal but there is no Wifi or access to the outside world. This is the way Sensia likes it so K-Boy and the others have to go along with it. Blink is the first player he meets, when they get their free drinks, then a younger player called Squirrel. Early in the story, once they have got to their rooms, K-Boy hears the sound of a girl screaming and goes to investigate. He hears her being dragged away, then no more about her which he finds odd though put it down to them having to be in a LARP game. When they sit and think on it a lot of what they have experienced doesn't add up. The lack of Wifi access, the strange drinks,  the food that's stomach churning and the weird goings on and the players are all starting to lose their senses one by one.

Blink thinks the loss of sight, taste and memories may be to do with the drinks from the start. Blink tells her story of waking up blind, shouting for help. A doctor comes to help her, but when she gets her sight back, she sees it’s actually a girl in army uniform holding a syringe. From what they see they believe they aren't in a game, they are being manipulated to test out the game play on one of Sensias newest titles.

From the start, Cole will have you wondering whether K-Boy’s newfound friends are behind it, they are guinea pigs for Sensia Games or whether it’s a game at all. All I can tell is it could be set in today's world or the far future where big companies can lure unsuspecting kids and almost get away with murder.

Senseless is written by Steve Cole, author of Mind Writer and the main choice by Ian Fleming Publications to succeed Charlie Higson for writing Young Bond. His other novels Z. Rex, Thieves Like Us, Doctor Who and Astrosaurus mean he has a lot to offer young readers at almost every reading level. Senseless was developed for an 8 and above reading age, illustrated by Nelson Evergreen and perfect for dyslexic or young readers who are new to reading and haven't got the grip of learning long words. For those who enjoyed watching the Matrix and the Crystal Maze, Cole makes this a book you won’t want to put down.

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