Hi friends! I’m back with an actual thriller review. It’s been WAY too long, I love mysteries and thrillers but always forget to read them because ooh! Fantasy! Anyways, this book is a CLUE mystery and buckle up my fellow Clue fanatics, cuz we’re all in for a ride.
A murderer could be around every corner in this thrilling YA trilogy based on the board game CLUE!
When a storm strikes at Blackbrook Academy, an elite prep school nestled in the woods of Maine, a motley crew of students—including Beth “Peacock” Picach, Orchid McKee, Vaughn Green, Sam “Mustard” Maestor, Finn Plum, and Scarlet Mistry—are left stranded on campus with their headmaster. Hours later, his body is found in the conservatory and it’s very clear his death was no accident. With this group of students who are all hiding something, nothing is as it seems, and everyone has a motive for murder. Fans of the CLUE board game and cult classic film will delight in Diana Peterfreund’s modern reimagining of the brand, its characters, and the dark, magnificent old mansion with secrets hidden within its walls.
A huge thank you to Abrams Kids for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
I think we can all agree on two things: one, that mystery trilogies are super hard to do and two, that Clue is one of the BEST movies/games to ever exist. That’s why I was super nervous to read this but I’m happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised by this!
Trigger warnings for murder and (challenged) sexism.
First off, all of the references were golden. I mean, we have all the characters, and obviously the murder was done in the hall! With the knife!* But the other weapons are casually mentioned, and the secret passages!!!! Secret passages are your friends in the game, but I guess not here.
*not a spoiler, i swear. reread the title.
The atmosphere! There’s a huge snowstorm/flood that traps everyone inside an old house on campus and obviously everyone’s different personalities are conflicting and there’s no electricity and it’s so entertaining. It’s not so much of a creepy vibe, but you definitely feel on edge (in a good way!) a lot of the time.
The author did an incredible job of introducing each and every character, and having them alternate chapters. What’s even better is that every character is clearly hiding a secret, essentially making each an unreliable narrator.
Orchid is actually the character I forgot existed in Clue (whoops) but of course she ended up being the one I most related to. I don’t know what that says about me…
Scarlet is the gossip of the school, front-runner in the humanities classes, and is Indian-American! It’s mentioned that she is one of the few people of race in the school, and she aims to fix that.
Plum is Scarlet’s best friend and an incredible scientist. Although, his empathy skills could use a little work.
Mustard is a military kid, and honestly makes some pretty ignorant, sexist comments that are challenged. He’s also described as having olive skin, and I’m not 100% sure what race he is.
Green is a townie, the only kid at Fancy Academy Blackbrook who’s there on scholarship.
Peacock’s perspective is only seen through journal entries, and she’s a temperamental tennis star.
Kayla and Karlee are random, obnoxiously ignorant girls stuck with our other (far more memorable might I add) characters.
Mrs. White is the sweet old lady who’s in charge of Tudor House, where all of our characters end up being trapped.
I guessed the ending, but I wasn’t super mad about it? It was honestly a fun ride, and the characters were only half-dumb. As someone who is also half-dumb 90%* of the time, I really couldn’t blame them for missing a few obvious hints.
*you guessed it! i am fully dumb the other 10% of the time
There was quite a lot of set-up, before events actually started rolling. I mean, it makes sense! We have a billion and one (yes that is the official count) characters to introduce, put in place, and establish before things can start going down. But I was never actually bored, it helped knowing that murder was on it’s way!
There seemed to be a few small plot points left unresolved or vaguely mentioned, but I won’t dwell on that too much. This is going to be a trilogy, after all, and I can’t judge based off of the first book!
And finally, as I said, I guessed the ending which is always a little disappointing, but I can certainly see potential for future books in this series to shock me!
My Rec For This Book:
I think that the concept of Truly Devious was more intriguing, but this one handles the whole “first book in a mystery trilogy” thing better. It gets everything moving faster, and we have a whole cast of interesting characters!
And that’s it? Tell me: do you like Clue? What’s a great mystery-thriller to read during October?