Monday, August 1, 2016

The Assassin Game ~ Kirsty McKay (earc) review [@SourcebooksFire @kirkybean]

The Assassin Game
Sourcebooks Fire
August 02, 2016
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Who will be left after lights out?

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?

Originally published in the United Kingdom by Chicken House in 2015 under title: Killer Game.

Between The Assassin Game and Sanctuary Bay, I'm starting to wonder just how many secretive, isolated boarding schools are hiding out on islands out there.  The setting works for The Assassin Game, though. Their isolation is partially by geography - tides, access to the mainland, etc - and partially by design of the school's founder.

It makes sense that the students created the Killer game and that they continue to play it year after year, with it still meaning so much to the players and the school society as a whole. Adding in their near lack of internet connection and cell phones and it sets things up perfectly.

The mix of game and then real danger was a bit off for me in this one. Cate is so thrilled to be chosen to be a part of the game, accepting things whether they're humiliating or demeaning of just weird and really going for them. That could work but next to how unsure of herself she seems she ended up feeling more desperate.  I didn't dislike her, but it was hard to connect with her character.

I'm not sure how much her character - her personality and love of the game - affected how I felt about the story and how much it was the tone of the book, itself. There wasn't that sense of foreboding, of impending danger that I wanted. Whether it was what happened (or didn't), Cate's interpretations and reactions to those things, or a combination, I'm not sure.

I never quite understood why Vaughan showed up at Umfraville, but that may be something I didn't get about UK vs US schooling.

The Assassin Game has a fantastic setting and set-up and a fun premise. The main character was  bit too dramatic and/or committed, enthusiastic and there wasn't that suspense and tension I was expecting.

received, via NetGalley, from publisher for review

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