Review // The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay

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Title // The Assassin Game
Author // Kirsty McKay
Pages // 352 pages
Publisher // Sourcebooks FIRE
Series // None
Release Date // August 2016
Find it on Goodreads and 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?

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Despite having read almost nothing but negative reviews about this story, The Assassin Game was a book that I found enthralling to read. As a rebranding of Kirsty McKay’s previous book, ‘Killer Game’ the story is a short but nice book to read.

When I first read the description of the book, it reminded me of a very similar book I had read a few years before. This was something that was willing to put me off, because originality means everything in a story. Sometimes, there are only so many times the same tale can be told. After a bit of homework into the story, I was able to confirm that this book is in fact a rerelease under Sourcebooks FIRE. However, despite having heard nothing but bad things about this book and not remembering a thing about what happened, I managed to finish the book within a few hours and found both the characters and the idea an enjoyable concept. Honestly, why were people putting this story down?

No need to go looking for trouble, it usually finds me soon enough.

The character of Cate, a girl who is trying her hardest to fit in despite the fact she wasn’t born into money and is more or less the new girl, is the little slice of teenager that everyone can relate to in some way. Throw in the excitement of finally being invited to join Killer, the boarding schools past-time, and you have yourself one amazing protagonist. What I liked about Cate was the fact that she wasn’t too whiny or too needy. She didn’t need a man to rely on, so she definitely has the strong independent woman vibes which earns her character brownie points. Also, she isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. Whether that tracking down the ‘killer’ or taking part in initiations, Cate is just a great, well-rounded character.

Also, Vaughan is probably the biggest sweetheart that I have ever read about this year. The fact that he knows Cate from her younger years, and the fact that he has some sort of attraction to her just makes him the cutest fictional guy ever! His witty jokes and his mysterious personality will make all the female readers swoon, and probably grow green with envy at the relationship Cate shares with him. However, while there is an element of romance to the novel, McKay cleverly ensures that the novel stays along the mystery and thriller genres, a strategic move that is usually ignored with the Young Adult sector.

“There are dark forces at work here. But I am Grand Master, and everything is under control.”

Yet despite a glowing review, there were one or two bones I feel that need to be picked. The first, and probably the biggest, is the pace of the novel. I was expecting there to be action from the beginning, and it did take a while for me to fall into the general swing of the novel. This isn’t something I enjoy in books – and had I not been so eager to see how the story unfolded, I probably would have shelved it after the third chapter. It wasn’t until I got 67% into the story (thank you amazon kindle app) that the real action really began to unfold. This was something that wore me down, and made me question whether I wanted to continue the story. Yet on the flip side, I’m completely satisfied with the end result, so that kind of quashes the anger a little.

My last issue was the fact that the novel turned out to be something I wasn’t expecting. If I’m being totally honest, and I am, I was hoping for more genuine blood and harm – maybe even a death? The fact that the novel didn’t follow through on this (although in retrospect, this was probably because it wasn’t a murder book) was something that made me feel quite disappointed. I probably didn’t look hard enough, but with the title of ‘The Assassin Game’, it naturally leads a reader to the expectance of death.

Only three of us harvested tonight?

Overall, this story was a great book to read. Kirsty McKay has done a fantastic job and has definitely earned me as a keen fan of her work. My only hope is that next time she brings out a murder mystery to satisfy the little detective inside of me. I’d like to thank Sourcebook FIRE for the wonderful copy they sent me. The Assassin Game has earned a great 4 out of 5 snowflakes.

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Usually a book goes through several cover changes in its lifetime. Most variation depends on the publishing location. The Assassin Game is available in the following cover formats.

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Still unsure on whether this book is the one for you? Have a look at what other bloggers have to say.

Fionn @ Fionn Boakes says “Don’t put yourself through this, please.”

Daniel @ The Blogger’s Bookshop says “An enthusiastic and budding read for anyone who wants to feel that the exhilaration of teenage mischief with a dark and foreboding twist.”

Georgia May @ Teen Book Hoots says “A fast paced, unique thriller that will keep everyone guessing from start to finish.”

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