I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on August 2nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Crime, Light Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Who will be left after lights out?Amazon •
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.
Mature-Content Rating: Language, Violence, Mild Sexual Content
“It’s like elves and orcs around here; the geeks and the jocks. And me in the middle. Invisible.
But not today, finally. Today, I am Guild. Today, I am in the Game. Today, I am part of Killer.”
Let’s play a game. Cate is a not-so-special cupcake attending Umfraville boarding school on a secluded island. Umfraville is a ‘special’ school for kids of talent from all the basics: athletics, art, computers, and general geniuses. Cat attends because her parents own the island.
Now, the students get restless staying on the cramped island so long, and they have a secret society that plays ‘Killer’ throughout the year until the killer is named or everyone is ‘killed’.
First off, the book is really slow to start. The author gives a lot of information dump on Cate, how their family came to own the island, how past generations have played Killer, and her relationship with people on the island. Basically it was pages and pages of Cate’s narration giving the reader this information; a bad case of telling and not showing.
The ‘secret’ society was the first hint that the story wasn’t going to be up to par. As it ends up, everyone on the island knows about the guild, including the teachers. And really the guild is more like a cult with rituals and black capes.
I loved the idea of the game and how one of the players twist it around into reality, but it wasn’t executed well. There wasn’t a clear transition between the game just being the game and the game becoming real and dangerous. You would also think that an island full of genius teens and teachers would have a bit more brain power than the nitwits running around in the dark.
When it finally, FINALLY came down to the real ‘killings’, there wasn’t really any thrilling or suspenseful moments. A student was attacked, it was over, and Cate moseyed on.
Cate’s character feels disconnected. It seems she should be the heroine of the story but she’s not all that smart or brave, nor does her character grow in any way.
Vaughan is the character that makes this book get higher than a one star rating, even though by the end the author had his character mimicking Sherlock way too much. He has a quirky personality and is a computer genius, but can also be diagnosed with bipolar disorder with how quick his moods shift.
The romance in the book was completely unnecessary, especially to the level the author took the relationship. It’s another case of a YA book just HAVING to have romance no matter if it makes sense in the story or not.
Overall, the story was not well thought out, though I did like the ideas behind the story. There were a few characters that kept me reading to the end, but it wasn’t at all that satisfying for a thriller. Get your chills from a different book.