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4.5 4
by Ursula Poznanzki, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, Liz Amini-Holmes (Illustrator)

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  • Rights sold in 25 countries
  • Translated into 23 languages
  • Over 120,000 copies sold in Germany
  • Shortlisted for the highly prestigious Jugendliteraturpreis for 2011
  • An intelligent computer game with a disturbing agenda.

    When 16-year-old Nick gets a package, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of


  • Rights sold in 25 countries
  • Translated into 23 languages
  • Over 120,000 copies sold in Germany
  • Shortlisted for the highly prestigious Jugendliteraturpreis for 2011
  • An intelligent computer game with a disturbing agenda.

    When 16-year-old Nick gets a package, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. The package contains the mysterious computer game Erebos. Players must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname.

    Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game.

    Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur.

    This utterly convincing and suspenseful thriller originated in Germany where it has become a runaway bestseller.

    International praise for Erebos:

    Like the game in the story, this book pulls the reader under its spell and doesn't let go until the puzzle is solved.

    -- Buchkultur

    This year's summer thriller!

    -- Die Zeit

    This captivating book for young people about the danger of virtual worlds is impossible to put down.

    -- Brigitte Magazine

    A masterful, riveting thriller.

    -- Neue Zürcher Zeitung

    A super-suspenseful book full of insight about the fascination that computer games hold.

    -- Literature.de

    An unbelievably good book.

    -- Freizeitmagazin Weinheimer Nachrichten

    Plunges the reader into a fantasy world in the same way that Nick is drawn into his game.

    -- Eselsohr

    This thriller is a tour de force.

    -- Kriminforum.de

    Editorial Reviews

    CM Magazine
    From its opening notes of eerie virtual landscapes, to its mesmerizing conclusions, EREBOS is a nuanced thriller that weaves effortlessly between reality and virtual space, bringing its protagonists closer to the brink of destruction-or salvation-with every turn of the page.
    Booklist - Daniel Kraus
    Poznanski's thriller effectively plays off the difficulty of balancing online and real-life personae, and the all-too-possible idea that gamers are being secretly shaped into an unwitting army is indeed a scary one.
    Canadian Materials
    From its opening notes of eerie virtual landscapes, to its mesmerizing conclusions, Erebos is a nuanced thriller that weaves effortlessly between reality and virtual space, bringing its protagonists closer to the brink of destruction--or salvation--with every turn of the page.
    Geist - Patty Osborne
    Erebos is a page-turner of a book.
    Horn Book - Jonathan Hunt
    Nevertheless, the depiction of gaming raises a host of provocative questions about its prevalence in popular culture, and the book will likely appeal to fans of Cory Doctorow.
    Open Book Toronto
    Nick's search to discover the mystery of Erebos leads not only to new discoveries, but also to an exciting thriller that will leave you just as enthralled.
    Professionally Speaking - Kara Smith
    A literary marvel.
    Resource Links - Patricia Jermey
    As a middle-aged non-gamer, observing this process was fascinating: I became as addicted to the book as the characters are to the game!
    SF Signal
    The book is so intense that this reviewer lost sleep trying to get to the end.
    Baltimore's Child - Kate Sweeney
    Erebos is a tightly plotted, suspenseful novel that draws the reader into its world.
    Good Reads - Kelly Truelove
    I was super impressed by this book. I thought I had found a treasure when I was reading the Feyland trilogy, but this was even better... The author did a terrific job of crafting surprises. She held my attention without underestimating my intelligence, and I didn't feel like I'd been taken through a convoluted labyrinth, simply for the sake of distraction and in hopes of preserving the punch line. The story was astonishingly straightforward and yet still fascinating. This one grabbed me from page one, and it's a rare treat that I recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy, mythology, gaming, urban fantasy, or an engaging story.
    VOYA - Bethany Martin
    A secret package is being passed around by students at sixteen-year-old Nick's school. No one talks about the contents of the package after they receive it, and recipients display dramatic changes in behavior. When Nick finally receives his own package, he discovers a computer game, Erebos, unlike any he has ever played. There is a strict set of rules players must follow, including never speaking of Erebos. In order to advance in the game, players must carry out tasks both in the game and in the real world. Nick is taken in by the mystery and adventure of Erebos, but as he continues playing, the line between game and reality begins to blur. The game watches its players; it knows whether players are telling the truth, following the rules, and carrying out their real-life tasks—and the consequences for upsetting Erebos can be deadly. Poznanski has created a well-crafted thriller that will keep readers engaged. Nick becomes a man obsessed, and this shows in his behavior and inter-personal relationships. The insights into Nick's decision-making processes are perceptive and teens will be able to relate to his feelings and how he expresses them. Secondary characters are less well-developed; however, most readers will not care, as they will be too caught up in the mystery of Erebos. This book will appeal not only to gamers, but to any fan of suspense and adventure. This is an excellent addition to any collection serving teens. Reviewer: Bethany Martin
    School Library Journal
    Gr 8 Up—Students at Nick's London high school are behaving strangely. They look exhausted, pass strange packages to one another, and maintain a general air of mystery. The 16-year-old is dying to know their secret, and soon enough he does: they are all immersed in a multiplayer virtual-reality video game called Erebos. Its rules are not unlike those of Fight Club: you do not talk about it outside of the game itself; if you do, you will be kicked out for good. So when Erebos begins to make strange demands on its players, asking them to carry out violent acts in real life, the addicted players generally do as they are told without speaking to one another about their actions. Even though Nick becomes as absorbed in the world of Erebos as other players in his school, he eventually realizes how dangerous it is and that he must help stop it. Descriptions of the in-game action are exciting, but the ending, when the mystery of the game's genesis is solved, is a letdown. This book has some wooden dialogue and forced-sounding slang, both of which are likely issues with the translation. Nonetheless, it's a solid purchase where gaming is popular—in other words, most libraries.—Hayden Bass, Seattle Public Library, WA
    Publishers Weekly
    Starred Review.

    The lines between reality and fantasy blur in this stunning thriller, originally published in Germany. In London, a new computer game is making the rounds. Called Erebos, it's deceptively immersive, insidiously addictive, and so complex that it might even be alive. It insists on absolute secrecy and discretion from its players, rewards and punishes in strange ways, and recruits through word-of-mouth. When Nick Dunmore begins playing, he's quickly sucked in, learning the bizarre rules and advancing rapidly. However, he's forced to question his dedication after the game starts to exert its influence on the real world, asking him to perform "missions" with potentially hazardous consequences. When he and several other players investigate who or what is behind Erebos, they unravel a surprisingly personal vendetta at the heart of the game, driving players toward its ultimate, violent purpose. As the narrative moves fluidly between the real world and the game, Poznanski plays with expectations and perception, incorporating SF, mystery, and ghost story elements, along with solid characterizations. The result is a prescient page-turner and a provocative, believable portrayal of the seductive world of virtual gaming. Ages 12-up. Agent: AVA International.
    (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

    Kirkus Reviews
    A computer game with a hidden agenda entraps teen users into doing its bidding in this prizewinning import. Booting up a program that has fellow students stumbling exhaustedly into school or cutting classes altogether, Londoner Nick finds himself in Erebos. This violent realm of swords and sorcery is controlled by a yellow-eyed "messenger" who knows a startling amount about Nick from the outset and offers compelling incentives to keep him riveted to his computer. But along with being totally forbidden to talk about the game, Nick discovers that advancement within it requires him to perform missions in the outside world... increasingly disturbing, even harmful ones. Poznanski tightens the suspense nicely as Nick, refusing at last a command to poison a certain teacher, is permanently ejected from Erebos and then nearly murdered before he discovers the true, ugly purpose of the game. The mystery is unraveled thanks to a too-obvious clue, but the scary climax, a romantic subplot and plenty of thoroughly credible gaming add proper spark to a pageturner with amps aplenty. (Science fiction/thriller. 12-15)

    Product Details

    Annick Press, Limited
    Publication date:
    Edition description:
    Canadian and US rights only
    Sales rank:
    Product dimensions:
    5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
    HL640L (what's this?)
    Age Range:
    12 - 17 Years

    Meet the Author

    Ursula Poznanski is an award-winning children's author. She lives in Vienna, Austria.

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    Erebos 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
    BailsChris More than 1 year ago
    It's such an awesome read. I loved it. Erebos by Ursula Poznanski captures the reader's attention from the get go. It is the story of Nick, a sixteen-year-old who doesn't exactly have the best home life, as he becomes immersed in this virtual world. However, the lines between virtual and real become blurred as he is sent on missions not only in the game but also in his real life. There is no questioning in his mind that whatever this game maybe, it is definitely worth doing some measly missions to keep playing. His addiction continues to grow stronger as the missions continue to grow harder until he reaches his breaking point. Does he do what the game says and risk his real life or ignore his mission and be banned from this world he slowly can't see living without?  This story is incredibly well written. Everything seems to be so fleshed out that I can see myself chilling with Nick as he travels through the novel, struggling with his addiction. The descriptions are perfect in my mind because they give enough of an image to place the reader in the scene without bogging down the narrative of the story. All of the places Nick visits feel familiar, for they are familiar to him. It was so easy to allow myself to sink into the character and never want to get out.  The game is pure epic-ness and I could totally see myself playing it... which is bad. Yeah, oh well, I would totally play it. Even though it's sort of creepy and weird. And I would probably run away when they asked me to do something in real life but I would play it. Anyway, onto the review: Nick was a pretty cool character, he is very relatable from the beginning. At least, I can see my friends acting like he does in the first chapter. I smiled a lot through all of the interactions he had with other people because he (and yup, I am a she) reminds me of myself. Addictive personalities run in my family and so it's really easy for me to become addicted to television shows and book series which leads me to replay until the show quits working or reread until the binding of the book is worn out. It was refreshing to see his behavior as an accurate portrayal of what addiction really looks like, especially when that person feels like they are sworn to secrecy. I personally like that he becomes attached to the game, well truthfully everyone does, and that he doesn't exactly try to hide his excitement even if he redirects it to something complete separate. After all, he is sworn to secrecy. All of his friends play an interesting part of the story. Colin, who is introduced at the very beginning of the first chapter, is essentially Nick's best friend. Which is why he finds it disturbing to have his friend suddenly stop showing interest in him, in the things they did, and really anything in general. Of course, he takes interest in whatever the issue is and pushes to know more, although it is extremely dangerous. Their friendship is constantly shifting from they can tolerate each other to they can't even stand to be in the same room.  The next "friend" I want to bring up is Brynne. She is a case A girl who thinks her unrequited crush is definitely requited. It surprised me, though, how much of a part she actually had to play in the story. The awkward side plot love interests are typically forgotten once the real one comes along but she just keeps popping up. She totally reminds me of my brother's stalker. LOL but that's a story for a completely different time. Anyway, she is probably one of the most interesting characters of the whole story because she has a lot of depth and drive in what she does. It's funny to see how people react in real life and then in the game. I totally had no idea who her character was until the end and I was basically blown away. Helen. I almost don't know quite how to describe her because I don't think I will describe her well enough. She is basically the girl that everyone picks on and she knows that she will never be a popular kid or even a normal one. From the first point she is introduced, I knew that I would feel a lot of regret by the end of the story for how Nick and his friends treated her. It's not hard to believe that she was pulled into the game because it seemed like it targeted people who were down or lost. Even until the very end, I felt an undying sympathy towards the girl who was mistreated and definitely misunderstood. The last character I am going to talk about is the real love interest of the whole story, Emily. I really wish she would've played a bigger part in the beginning because I liked her character as the story progressed. At first she came off a bit abrasive and just not very interesting as the main romance for Nick. She slowly came to her sense, so to speak, and became to awesome character I knew she would be. I definitely approve of the Nick and Emily relationship, just throwing it out there, because I didn't at first. This book was great. I really really loved it. It's worth reading and it gives you the chills. It sucks you in until you feel like you just can't not read it in one sitting. Seriously, check it out.
    dnabgeek More than 1 year ago
    I loved this book! The game reminded me of World of Warcraft meets live action Dungeons and Dragons with a bit of an intriguing twist. What really is the story behind the video games we play and what if they weren't just for entertainment. I loved how the author completely grasped the addictive quality of the video games and the rich story telling ability they have. Video game addiction is something that many gamers have to deal with. I loved the fast pace of the story that kept the reader engaged while not rushing it either. I am tempted to had this one off to my husband who doesn't like to read but might make an exception for a book like this. My best friend is also a die hard gamer and I think he needs to read it as well. If I had to find a negative with this book, I would say that I wish the author had spent a little more time on the relationship development between Nick and Emily. There was a point in the book where I felt like the author was rushing to get to the next part instead of spending time on what could have been a great scene. The author seems to have fallen into the trap that only boys are gamers! This was a great, fun read. Definitely worth getting your hands on!
    mistressofdark More than 1 year ago
    Erebos was one of those books that pleasantly surprises you. Don't get me wrong, the plot description really sounded interesting to me but when i started reading it and i foud out that i would spending time with Nick's In-game character, Sarius, i thought that the in-game scenes would be bpring because i'm not really into gaming. But i couldn't be more rong! The in-game experiences were just as fantastic as the real-world ones! The descriptions were so lively that you actually thought that you were there, either looking at the computer screen over Nick's shoulder or fallowing him around at school and on the streets. The plot was not predictable which is always a good thing in a book (and film), It sucks to have foresee the whole story beforhand. And keeping that from happening can sometimes be a very hard task. It had me guessing througout the book about who was behind the game and hoe the hell can a game know so much a bout you? "Sometimes I think it's alive", this is what a character of the book said and sometimes that is exactly what i thoght too. There were times when i would say that "well that's not possible" or "hat are the parents doing? Are they not noticing the change in their children? How is it that only one adult, a teacher, has noticed something is wrong?" but i didn't bother much with these questions because the rest of the book made up for them and they didn't even matter to me after a while. The characters were ok, i liked them (the ones that were supposed to be likeable ayway) but i din't get blown away by them. My favorite character i think was Jamie. He was adorable and so easy going. This book wasn't a character driven book, the big picture, was what was imortant so it didn't really bother me that i didn't fall in love with the characters. Overall, great book. I would recomend it to anyone, either they are into gaming or not. I plan on getting my friends to read this as well.
    VioletteReads1 More than 1 year ago
    Nick Dunmore starts noticing his friends are acting strangely. They're skipping school, acting super tired and generally suspicious. What's causing the change is an underground video game called "Erebos." There are basically two rules to playing "Erebos" - You MUST play alone and you cannot talk about the game to anyone at all. Lastly, you only get one chance to play the game so you better make it count (no unlimited lives here). When Nick receives a copy of the game DVD, he quickly succumbs to it. As the game slowly begins crossing lines between what is play and what is reality, Nick is thrust straight into an almost "secret society" of players. To excel in the game, he is forced to lie and perform seemingly odd tasks in the outside world. What he's not aware of is that he is part of a tangled web of deceit that comes to a tipping point at the book's climax. The first half of the book moved extremely slowly for me. There are drawn out descriptions of game play that are really boring and end up being not at all important to the end. As a person who plays "World of Warcraft" religiously, I had a really, really hard time believing just how addicted people got to this game and what they were willing to do in the outside world to succeed within it. It was pretty ridiculous that a game can have so much control over your life. It was also really difficult for me to believe that people obeyed the two rules mentioned above so strictly. I mean, it's a game - played by teenagers. Along the same line of disbelief, the actual level of sophistication that this game had was also completely ridiculous. Maybe I would have been more keen on believing it if the book was set in the future - but definitely not present day! The things that the game is capable of knowing are just mind-boggling and that, to me, makes it too unbelievable to be effective. The level of artificial intelligence displayed in the game is a long, long time away. The second half of the book picked up a lot more, but when the final reveal came I was rather...disappointed. I'm not sure what I was expecting out of the end but it was something way more epic than what actually happened. It would have been nice to have everything tied together with a greater dose of realism. Overall, the book's concept was a great one but the execution was not to my liking.