I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on August 1st 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Social Issues, Friendship, Thrillers & Suspense
Reading Challenges: COYER Summer Vacation
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
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 Grand Master knows who the "killer" is. When Cate's finally invited to join the Assassins' Guild, she knows it's her ticket to finally feeling like she belongs at Umfraville Hall. 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 received Kirsty McKay’s The Assassin Game as an ARC from the publisher. Reading the synopsis, I couldn’t help thinking that this sounded like a good story about teen assassins. It’s not. In fact it’s not anything I thought it would be, but I still enjoyed it. Instead of teen assassins, I got teens playing a game where they pretend to murder each other. Or at least someone does. The game is called “Killer,” one of the elite members of the Assassins’ Guild is the killer. The rest are victims who must figure out the identity of the killer before they’re the next one to die. Kind of like LARPing the board game “Clue.” Seems fun right? But then someone takes it too far and begins targeting the players for real.
This book read like a modern-day Agatha Christy novel. Most notably, Ten Little Indians or And Then There Were None, whose premise is quite similar. At the heart of the story we have Cate. She’s long wanted to be a member of the Assassins’ Guild, because even though her family owns the island she’s always felt like an outsider. Being chosen would finally make her feel like she belongs. However, when an old childhood friend pops up unexpectedly, Cate begins to worry all of her hopes will be dashed. Readers are pulled into the story by 1st person narrative via Cate, which is great for the mystery as we unravel the mystery alongside her. Unfortunately, the downside is that I never connected with her character.
Cate isn’t all that likable to me. She’s very self-involved and capricious with people’s feelings whenever they’re “inconvenient.” I didn’t like how she treated people in the novel, so it made it difficult to care what happened to her. Cate’s character wasn’t the only one I had difficulty connecting with. In fact, I had difficulty connecting to everyone in the novel. None of the characters really felt very developed, and some even seemed to change personalities by the end of the book, and blindsiding me. While The Assassin Game felt like a modern Agatha Christy novel, it held none of the suspense.
Aside from the lack of character development, I did enjoy the whodunit of it all. The writing was conversational, which made reading pretty quick and easy. Plus, I really liked the teen slasher feel of it. Straight-to-video slasher, but still entertaining. If you’re looking for a fun, quick book to accompany you to the beach or your pool, you might want to check this one out. It’s not very deep or suspenseful, yet still manages to capture your attention.