The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Format: Kindle E-Book
Release Date: August 2nd, 2016 (first published July 2nd, 2015 as Killer Game in the UK)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this impacted my opinion of this book or the review provided below.
At Cate’s isolated boarding school, Killer is more than a game- it’s an elite secret society. Members must avoid being “Killed” during a series of thrilling pranks, and only the Game Master knows who the “Killer” is. When Cate’s finally invited to join the Assassins’ Guild, she know it’s her ticket to finally feeling like she belongs.
But when the game becomes all too real, the school threatens to shut it down. Cate will do anything to keep playing and save the Guild. But can she find the real assassin before she’s the next target?
I’ll start off by saying that the last handful of chapters in this book had me reading so fast, I don’t think I even took a breath. Though the story (and therefore the mystery and thrills) started off a bit juvenile and slow, it definitely picked up. By the end, I was gasping out loud, second guessing everyone, and even yelled at my Kindle a few times. I won’t say anything too specific to avoid spoilers, but it got pretty intense there for a while.
What makes me sad about this book, though, is that it could have offered so much more! I want to give this book more stars, I want to like it better, but there were just some obvious flaws for me that even the exciting ending can’t fix.
Character Building: This was so lacking. I can understand not wanting to give too much away about the involved characters to keep the identity of the bad guy a mystery, but it lead to a lack of interest for all of the characters on my part. We got the most back story about Vaughn, and he was the character I connected the most with. All of the rest of them, meh. The characters all also seemed to lack some serious common sense, which is pretty typical in books because it helps to keep the stories going, but it got pretty annoying to deal with. Some of it got a little bit too unbelievable as well.
Setting the Stage: With the exception of knowing that there is a boarding school on an island named Skola somewhere close to Wales, I literally have no other ideas about where this story took place. Any time that descriptions were given about the school itself or the surrounding island, I just got more and more confused. I finally gave up and just started imaging that this place looked a lot like Hogwarts, but on an island. I don’t even think that’s close to what the author intended, but the descriptions for where this was taking place were very lacking and very confusing.
Descriptive Writing: There were a lot of times where I read something and immediately though, wait, what? I’m not sure what the issue was, or why I wasn’t getting it, but descriptions of events occurring were confusing, to the point that I just sort of made up my own version to get past it. Maybe some of this was intentional, again playing up that mystery and things were supposed to seem a little off because it was a game, but it just didn’t do it for me. You don’t want your reader to be confused, and I was definitely confused sometimes.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure that I would recommend this for a read. Although I really enjoyed the ending of this book when the mystery and action and thrills picked up, the overall lack of adequate descriptions to build a setting, story, and characters in my mind is enough of a negative.