A Russian Dystopian Novel You Must Read...
Kier Vorsmith, the youngest son of an influential count, dreams of studying at the University and living a quiet life as a historian. However, when he fails his high school’s final exams, whirlwind events force Kier to become the official heir of the Vorsmiths’ county and an officer in the Imperial Special Corps. At the will of his father, the young man arrives at a remote arctic base to serve as a local weatherman...
THE GAME OF VORS, by Andrew Orange, is a fantasy tale about a world with many hidden agendas and classes of people. On the whole, it is a selfish and violent society with little regard for life. A young Vor is the main character in this story. Raised by his body guard, he comes to learn about morals and empathy which are unknown to many of the people occupying this world. The story is filled with twists and turns and a surprise ending.
You know how when you are watching a movie and you know that something crazy is about to happen or someone is about to do something or say something that you had either wanted them to say so you turn your head and cover your ears? Well that was me while reading “The Game of Vors.” The story follows young Kier Vor Smith, from his time in school to young adulthood. Unlike most protagonist in this genre, Kier was and pretty much remains your typical below average student and adult. He wants to become a stronger and more capable person, beyond his father and expectations, but as the story goes on, Keir finds himself falling deeper into a hellish conspiracy with no way out. The story and attention to detail was done so well, that it felt like I was watching a movie. It wasn’t too much backstory or information, but the perfect amount that left me wanting to know more. The ending was both unexpected and bittersweet but considering the different turns this one took on the way to the ending, I guess the final moment made a lot of sense. I only hope that there is a second novel to this because there is still so much stories to tell.
Amazing story full of action!
Game of Vors is a great novel that reads like a mix of an action novel with a bit of a nod to the Romanova family. (You know, Anastasia Romanova?) You follow the path of young Kier through his academy trials. You also meet the young "jock type" that you come to immediately despise. Kier's family is royalty with a dark side as Keir discovered upon calling on his father to help fix one of his failures.
Kier is the future Heir of the Vorsmiths, something his elder brothers are furious about. With Kier's failures at the academy - that matter is swept under a rug - and he is shuffled off to the military. You really have to feel for the young kid, who seems like he just wants to have nothing more than a normal life.
This book is full of murder, mystery, a lovers triangle, intrigue, sibling rivalry, conspiracy, terrorism, and a topping of a fairly open slave trade on an icy outpost. It kept me hooked, wondering what the young Vorsmith's next move would be with his slowly growing entourage. (Don't get too attached tho...)
The entire story builds up like an action movie that won't leave you disappointed. This is definetely a recommended read.
Andrew Orange came across to me as a gifted storyteller with the uncanny ability to hold the reader’s attention throughout the book. I enjoyed the unpredictability in plot development and the surprises that came along with it. The characters are interesting and well-developed and readers will enjoy the way each one fits into the entire canvas.
The Game of VORs features compelling themes, including family and loyalty, service, and political intrigue. I also enjoyed the way the conflict develops throughout the plot, a conflict that is felt at different levels of the story. As one reads on, one gets an idea of how our dreams can be manipulated and how we can be coerced to embrace things that are created for us by others. This is a story that is thoughtfully written with powerful lessons that will wake readers up while entertaining them.
The Game of VORs by Andrew Orange is an intriguing story with lots of surprises along the way. I enjoyed the writing and the story line as I watched Kier try to fit in and cope with the life in which he finds himself. The conditions and expectations of his dystopian life all seem a bit too much for him. The writing in the book is good and I really enjoyed the descriptions of Kiers’ life and surroundings.
Kier struggles with his relationship with his father; this is a universal theme in life and one that many people have struggled with; adding that to the book makes it very relatable for readers. Mr. Orange shows a great amount of imagination in the description of the world Kier lives in. Even though we are reading about characters in a strange world, they felt real to me and I enjoyed reading about them.
There are so many aspects to the book that seem like real life here on earth; growing up, failing exams, dealing with unwanted status and family trauma. These issues are what really pulled me into the book, even though it is considered science fiction. I like the way the author built the characters in the book too; each one seemed real to me and their actions made sense. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense writing set in a sci-fi/fantasy world. The book isn’t the type of book I normally read, but it kept my interest and I think that makes it very readable for many people.
When I enjoyed a book that I’m going to review, I very often look at any one-star reviews if the book has them, to see if there was any complaint that I should address and explain why it wasn’t an issue for me.
In this case, I see that as it stands the one-star reviews that this book has accumulated are all one-liners referencing the same thing: they say this book is a rip-off of “The Vor Game” by Lois McMaster Bujold. In this case, I have neither read nor indeed hitherto heard of the other book, so I’ll refrain from comment on any similarity beyond the name.
However, what I will say is that very often even when a book has borrowed very heavily from another, if it’s well-written it shouldn’t matter in terms of reader experience. The Hunger Games is not worse for being a redo of Battle Royale, for instance.
Speaking of reader experience, I can only say that this was a high class read that I enjoyed greatly, and the translation is so skilful that it wasn’t at all clear that it was a translation at all.
I see that other reviewers have compared the book to some modern YA books; personally I found it was most highly comparable to Dune; a militaristic aristocracy, an ostensibly innocuous heir who will turn out to change everything, a feared outclass with paranormal abilities and their own set of rules, a harsh and unforgiving environmental setting — we were just missing the worms.
In short, the book exceeded my expectations, and I highly recommend it on its own merit.
Mr. Orange invited me to read and review his first novel, "The Game Of VORs" but I purchased the book myself and so I offer my humble review without prejudice or bias in any way. I would guess that Mr. Orange is a talented young writer. I was immediately impressed by the easy flow of his dialogue. I need that when reading a novel because I am being asked to repopulate a world that the author has already laid out for me. The writing has a flow about it that immediately keeps you reading further. Like when meeting a new friend on the train, that immediate likability is very important. It makes you want to learn more about a new acquaintance. I would guess that Mr. Orange is a likable, young man simply because his character in the book is likable too. I guess for that reason, I would recommend this book (and author) to young readers and parents who are looking for really worthwhile stories that will keep their attention. I'm not sure that the science fiction aspect is really that important. As people like Asimov and Bradbury and Serling knew so clearly, the science fantasy part simply removes the reader from the "everyday" aspect of life so they can consider larger concepts of right and wrong, etc. Once again, the author has a really good sense of dialogue and a natural conversational mode. I highly recommend this book.
Andrew has created a coming of age story that instead of simply surveying the hormonal aspects of that period in life when boys become men, introduces family commitments, intrigue, crime (murder and rape) and the emotional aspects of being raised in one atmosphere and then sent into ‘isolation’ into an unfriendly place to mature.
... and for the specifics of this quasi-sci-fi adventure it is best discovered by the reader – far more fascinating that way. Andrew Orange shows true promise.
Andrew Orange takes the science fiction/fantasy genre and turns it on its heels. The author creates a believable world, albeit a bit gruesome at times, and delivers the opposite of the typical view of nobility by expertly merging elements of mystery and suspense to incorporate murder, rape, and crimes against the kingdom, which will not only keep readers up until the late hours, but have fans begging for more.
I read about the author and was surprised that this is his first book, because, as for me, it is written very well and talentedly, I hope this successful beginning will allow him to write even more books.
This is a well written and engaging story with excellent descriptions and interesting characters. What struck me was that this novel told a story that was unique, with a point of view - in other words it’s more than a mindless adventure. This book is in my opinion suitable for young readers as well as adults.
Failing the general education exam was not what Kier Vorsmith had in mind. Neither was being made the legitimate heir to his father, Count Vorsmith, ahead of his two elder brothers. Nor his placement at the Aurora Borealis arctic military base, getting three people killed, and realizing people who weren't vors were treated little better than animals. From all angles, there always seemed to be someone more powerful, more evil, and more motivated to follow through with their goals of illegal dealings and destruction.
While keeping one eye open for who might try to kill him next, Kier becomes aware of secrets that people will give anything to find and others that no one will give a second thought to. The pressing conditions force him to figure out his future immediately. Will he be an ensign? Weatherman? A Count? An out-satrap? Or just another kid broken by society?
Kier Vorsmith makes me reminiscent of Amir from The Kite Runner, and the book itself has a similar feel (though in a different world, with a different situation, harsher consequences, and more political than familial). The similarities between Kier and Amir are mainly the horrible things they had to watch, and thinking of whether they could've/should've done something to stop their conflict. They share the same loss about what they want in life and a lack of self-confidence.
That kind of character allows me to sympathize with them as well as wonder why in the world they are not doing anything about anything. A lot of Kier's thoughts are either detective-like or wondering about the functionality of his life and country and whether or not he should be reevaluating his morals, which is something Mr. Orange was able to convey very well. Because the book has such a dark tone to it, this specific ideology was the crowning point to such a broken society.
This book was honestly not what I expected, but it made me care to the point where I was still reeling about what happened, hours after reading. This isn't a light novel, and contains a lot of darker topics, such as rape and murder. Andrew Orange's writing has such detail and feeling that it gets an emotional reaction, and made me truly care about what was happening. Kier is one of the better characters in the book, with all the others ranging in how awful they can be, except for his friend, Harry. For a while after Kier gets to the base, their friendship adds a little light to the story. Harry is a connection that Kier needed to have in his life after losing everything he had.
The Game of VORs is gritty, tragic, and very emotional... a suspenseful, coming of age story in a dark world.
If you have a soft spot for books in which the hero is far from perfect (lacking musculature, popularity, obvious or unreal advantages over his peers, or divine designs about him being “the one” or “the chosen”), you will enjoy this book.
Andrew Orange majestically created a dystrophic world in which aristocracy does not rule the world and the “simple” are continually subjugated to the strong, powerful men’s will. We follow a lead character struggling to survive his harsh reality: a tragic past, a dubious future and many secrets to discover; from a young age to adulthood. The book touches sensitive matters such as murder, rape, treason, all immersed in a fantasy world, that I personally enjoyed. Not only the story is superb, but the translation was also immaculate, the dialogues are intelligent, and the whole universe created by Orange was interesting to know. I loved the coined terms, the Latin, the descriptions; I could see this easily turning into a hit movie. (I would like to see Angelina Jolie as Lady Judith!)
Loved the book. Great suspense and thrilling action.
What strikes me the most about this book is the quality of its dialogues: they feel authentic and add a sense of realness in a dystopian world.
At first I thought “The Game of Vors” was about how to play said game. I am very satisfied that it was not so as this book was very mesmerizing and pulled on the imagination. In some parts I think the events are a parody of today’s realities and caused you to really see the other side of power and authority.
Though the well-constructed background reminds you that this is a work of fiction, it is also not the sort of light fiction that can be easily forgotten. There are very serious events in this book that will cause you to reflect on human “kindness”.
“The Game of Vors” is very well written, engaging and so real. It is also the first book for the author -Andrew Orange - and I look forward to even more fantastic stories from him.
This book tells of Kier Vorsmith, a young man who dreams of studying at a university to eventually become a historian. However, while he has high hopes, Vorsmith runs into a few problems along the way. He ends up failing his final high school exams which cause him to flunk his senior year. Instead of attending school like he hoped, he instead must serve in the Imperial Special Corps. Vorsmith soon finds himself being sent to the Arctic Circle to serve as a weatherman, but finds that everything isn’t what it seems here.
Author Andrew Orange has created an incredibly captivating story with this novel. At first, it comes across as almost lighthearted, but eventually moves into deep and suspenseful topics. You’ll also read of well-developed characters that each add their own unique mark to the story. If you’re into science fiction or thrillers, definitely give this book a try.
The author did a good job of weaving in the political hierarchy into the story instead of spending the first section of the book describing it in detail as many of these types of novels have done. I very much appreciated this approach.
The writing is fine, plot is exciting, characters are really good... solid sci-fi experience.
The Game of VORs by Andrew Orange takes place in a completely new and unique world designed by the author.
At the beginning of the book I was not a big fan of Kier as he knew that he was not in a good financial situation and yet he did not really prepare for his physical testing in order to avoid paying for a passing grade. However, as I continued reading I began to understand more about Kier and he grew on me. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and I would consider reading a future follow up novel!
Andrew Orange′s The Game of VORs was first published in Russian in 2014. At first glance, this is designedly simple parody of the fiction novels of well-known American writer Lois Bujold. In actual fact, this book is an attempt to answer the challenge.
The novel The Game of VORs has several levels of "immersion". Fierce social satire breaks through the first mock-fi level. Formally, the action of the novel takes place in some Northern Heartland, which in turn is a part of the hypothetical World Empire of future. But even the most naive reader can hardly be deceived. In fact, Orange has demonstrated the difference between the real contemporary feudalism or potential neo-feudalism under imperial flag and romanticized feudalism and also imperialism of Bujold. Herewith the author emphatically avoids fashionable apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic scenarios. The ending of the novel has an original false finale, after which the real fun begins, and explains eerily believable how and why such imperial winter of future may come. It raises the book of Andrew Orange to the level anti-utopia Orwell and the Strugatsky brothers.
The principal hero, aristocrat Kier Vorsmith is the third, the personal level of "immersion" in The Game of VORs. A shy introvert, reflective observer, love-lorn, a virgin... Not a brutal or handsome man, nor a military leader, but live, bright and quite recognizable. How can such character be the principal hero and claim the sympathy of readers? A friend of the hero (Harry) tells him about his actual father: "He nurtured conscience, compassion and shame in you. In our degenerate time, as you have defined it, this is almost nonsense". The only hope remains in this "unnecessary", "foolish" idealism of the hero. The ending of the novel (open finale after the false) contains a hint to continue.
The Game of VORs is a defiantly honest and sharp social novel. It is an adventure of the spirit, not the body, despite the bright attractive plot, and will excite interest in the strong-minded, giving the tough questions, not wanting to be the cattle young (and not only young!) people. Such books not only entertain, but also may provoke the mind and the soul on serious work.
"The Game of VORs is gritty, tragic, and very emotional... a suspenseful, coming of age story in a dark world."
Source: Readers' Favorite
I am pleased to present revised edition of my book The Game of VORs.
I am grateful to Maria D’Marco (https://reedsy.com/maria-d-marco) for the professional editing and proofreading of my first novel.
You can find The Game of VORs on B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, Apple or Amazon.
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