The Game ARC Review!! // an extremely disappointing thriller mashup! i am very angry !!

Hi friends! I’m here to share my thoughts on a upcoming YA thriller!

A huge thank you to the publisher for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!

In my opinion, the blurb is slightly spoilery so I’m just going to risk it* and give you a short summary of my own. Basically, this follows Lia, who’s picked for this elite senior game called Assassins where your team is given a target and you must shoot the person with water guns. However, someone turns up dead and BAM! Lia wants to know who did it, so it’s time to pull out the Sherlock hat Watson!

*don’t ever ask me to summarize anything. i could slip from murder to galaxy bunny rabbits faster than you or i could blink. it is very much a problem.

This is pitched as The ABC Murders meets Riverdale with a bit of American Horror Story 1984. Guess who hasn’t seen 2/3 of these comparisons!! I could see the teens acting like the ones in Riverdale though, and the mystery was rather reminiscent of The A.B.C. Murders. I appreciated what the author was trying to go for, but unfortunately this didn’t deliver at all for me.

let’s begin our discussion of this fiasco, shall we?

LIA. Miller actually succeeded relatively well on the unreliable narrator front. But as for the character herself? I would describe her as a lump of half-baked potatoes. She’s obnoxiously one-minded on playing Assassins. While I understood why, it was so annoying. Someone would straight up die and she’d be like “yeah but I need attention so let’s play this game so I can freaking win and be iMPoRtaNt”. That’s a real winner move right there, folks. Okay, you say, let’s look beyond her obnoxiousness. What else? Nothing. There is literally nothing of value underneath her one-minded drive, because she’s virtually a plot device of a character. And that means the romance had no real chemistry! We love that!

and even worse?

She’s the most well-developed out of EVERYONE. At least she has a background, and a motive* for being so selfish. I couldn’t tell you a thing about everyone else. Which you would think is a good thing right??? Considering this is a mystery and all? WELL MY FRIENDS. LET ME STOP YOU RIGHT THERE.

*she wants attention from her parents. however stupid that motive is, at least it’s something

THE KILLER. I am easily disappointed in mystery-thrillers. But my gosh, was I thrown by how awful the reveal was. Firstly, we have zero character depth and development so there’s no sense of shock or emotional attachment. Second, it is. So. Easy. To guess. You do not need to hire Einstein for this one. And the reason these people were killed is so…simple? Everything about this book feels like a soap drama but the soap is lacking in bubbles. I just…cannot stress my disappointment enough.

Also, is this supposed to be a standalone? Because the ending provided more questions than answers. Not only was it wholly unsatisfying, but WE NEVER FIND OUT WHO CERTAIN PEOPLE ARE. Unless such information is being saved for a sequel, it would have possibly improved this book if we had learned who a certain group of people actually were. I know standalones can be hard to do but I swear this had no plot development whatsoever. Even the shortest book in The Wayward Children series shows better balancing of both plot and characters. THERE WAS ZERO SUSPENSE IN THIS BOOK. I SWEAR*.

*WHY AM I SWEARING SO MUCH

Let’s summarize* shall we? So in essence, we have a stupidly vapid main character, a bunch of potato sacks underdeveloped side characters, a plot that goes nowhere, a predictable reveal, and a generally open ending. That’s my hot take for today. But in all fairness, I wasn’t hating reading it. I just wasn’t fulfilled at all.

*hey look i’m summarizing twice in one post!! the salt is real!

That’s it! Tell me:

Do you have a favorite book that’s a mashup?

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13 thoughts on “The Game ARC Review!! // an extremely disappointing thriller mashup! i am very angry !!

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