Review: The Assassin Game

by Kirsty McKay

Assassin's Game


Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
(Re) Publish Date: 2nd August 2016

Title: The Assassin Game
Author: Kirsty McKay
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Book: Standalone
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery-Thriller
Found: Netgalley
Rating: 4 Voodoos

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.

Well that was a surprise! I went into this expecting something cheesy and predictable but what I got was anything but. It was fast-paced and exciting, full of suspense and drama and I couldn’t put it down.

The Assassin’s Game is set in a boarding school on a little island just off the coast of Wales. There is a causeway that links the island to the main land but for the majority of the time it is under water. The students aren’t allowed mobile phones and their internet access is limited, they are pretty much cut off from the outside world and any help that may be needed… Each year, every student hopes to be picked to join the elite secret society known as the Assassins’ Guild, and Cate is no different. She hopes that with two friends already in the group she will, this year, get the chance to play the game that everyone talks about. A Game known as ‘Killer’. Killer is a murder mystery style game, the aim is to figure out who the killer is before you get taken out. It’s supposed to be a bit of fun and a real thrill-ride but this year’s different. Someone has it in for the Guild members and it’s not long before they realize their lives are in serious danger.

The thing I loved most about the Assassin Game was the atmosphere. The idea of a boarding school out on a little island somewhere, isolated and under strict control was creepy. The caves and cliffs gave it a Jamaican Inn feel, all dark and broody and with the weather, turbulent and unpredictable, it only furthered the sense of foreboding that came with the games general concept.

There are a lot of characters in The Assassin Game. Possible a few too many as I did struggle to tell them all apart. But even with a few similar characters it didn’t take me long to get stuck in and join Cate on the hunt for ‘who-done-it’. Everyone is a little crazy in this story so it was pretty hard to decide who were the most likely suspects and I’ll admit, I wasn’t even close with my guess.

I felt a little mislead by the blurb (the implication of death) but the anticipation it inevitably invoked was actually rather exciting. I can see some reading finding it infuriating though. It depends what your looking for really, if its a book full of grisly murder and blood and gore then this book isn’t for you, but if you want a mind twister of a mystery novel then you should definitely read this one.

Cate was a somewhat self-centered main character, she always thought everything was about her, or aimed at her and it was pretty annoying but thankfully the story-line was interesting enough to counter balance that. I thought the effort and planning that went into each ‘murder’ was amazing, they were truly inspired!

Thinking about it, this book really reminds me of the point horrors I used to read as a teen. I can only hope this book will inspire a new group of teens to jump into this genre just like those point horrors inspired me. It’s definitely got an old school feel to it but in a good way. I think I’m going to have to see what else Kirsty McKay has to offer but this has me excited!

pam id pics ms4tune


2 comments on “Review: The Assassin Game

  1. Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

    What a gorgeous cover! The premise sounds really great, as well, though I’m not 100% certain this one’s for me, mainly because of what you said about the characters. For me, it’s usually the characters are what make a book unforgettable, and this group doesn’t sound like anything outstanding. Anyhow, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Amazing review! :)
    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

    1. Ms4Tune

      Thanks Veronika, I agree this wasn’t the best book for character development, clever concept though and executed better than Nerve by Jeanne Ryan (which was terrible – hoping the film will be better). Any suggestions for a decent YA mystery-thriller? I’ve been looking for one for ages but I’ve yet to find one that has amazing characters, great plot and great atmosphere, they always fall short somewhere. :(

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