Behind Blue Eyes: War Games is the third installment of the Behind Blue Eyes series by Anna Mocikat. The Behind Blue Eyes series is a modern neo-cyberpunk novel series that envisions a world dominated by megacorporations that maintain power through the use of death squads of brainwashed cyborgs called Guardian Angels. The protagonist, Nephilim, briefly broke away from her masters in the first books but has since been forced back into the service of her corporate masters.
War Games picks up immediately after the events of Fallen Angels. A serial killer is stalking the cybernetically enhanced super soldiers of Olympias City and torturing them before murdering them. The fact this shouldn’t be possible was the mystery of the second book but has now been revealed to be the result of a heinous alliance between the Rosprom Corporation, a traitorous executive, and sold information by Nephilim’s friend, Finwick.
This book expands a great deal on the world-building as we finally meet the board of directors for the Olympias Corporation and they’re every bit the mouth-breathing decadent psychopaths we always suspected them to be. However, their chief opponent is Metatron, a man who has been willing to brainwash his followers into absolute obedience as well as slaughter in their name for decades. The competing corporations aren’t any better either, wanting to annihilate their enemies versus liberate them.
Nephilim remains brainwashed as Metatron continues to try to manipulate her into both falling in love with him as well as supporting his plan to overthrow the board. He’s given her a limited amount of free will but still controlling all of the information she has about her past as well as the events leading up to her initial rebellion. He’s a very well-written villain and full of charisma but it’s impossible to miss how disgusting it is for him to seduce not only one of his subordinates but someone he’s mentally tampered with.
The funny thing is that War Games actually calls into question just how wrong Metatron is about the “redemption” Nephilim sought in the first book. Jake and she fell in love to the point he was willing to betray his country as well as sabotage their attempt to destroy Olympias City. However, when we get scenes from his perspective, we discover he’s perfectly willing to help in the horrific murder of Guardian Angels that Nephilim considers friends. He’s only interested in her and quite possibly every bit as evil as Metatron. It’s an interesting twist and one I wasn’t expecting.
We also get a lengthy story involving Finwick and his adopted daughter, Sarah. He’s done everything to try to provide for her but what he wants to give her, material goods, isn’t something she cares about since she grew up in a hippie commune outside the city. However, Nephilim has warned him that he’s doomed to be hunted by Metatron no matter where he goes so he has to seek out a new identity again. Unfortunately, the price has gone way-way up. I really liked this storyline and never thought Finwick would become my favorite character in the story.
In conclusion, this is an excellent follow up to the previous book and the series functions as an almost continuous narrative from one volume to the next. Unfortunately, this does mean that the book ends on a cliffhanger and a lot of existing plots aren’t resolved. Still, I think if you liked the previous two books then you will love this.