Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: The Forbidden Game by L.J. Smith

The Forbidden Game by L.J. Smith

The Forbidden Game (Books 1-3) by L.J. Smith
Pages: 750
Published: June 8th 2010 (orig. 1997)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Reviewer: Charlotte

When Jenny buys a game for her boyfriend, Tom, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the guy behind the counter. There is something mysteriously alluring about Julian's pale eyes and bleached-blond hair. And when he places the Game into her hands, she knows their connection is something deeper. 

But as Jenny and her six friends begin to play the Game at Tom's birthday celebration, a night of friends and fun quickly turns into a night of terror and obsessive love. Because the Game isn't just a game - it's the seven friends' new reality, where Julian reigns as the Prince of the Shadows. 

One by one the friends must confront their phobias to win the Game. To lose the Game is to lose their lives. And that is only the beginning...

L.J. Smith is very good at writing dark fantasy, and this book was no different. The Forbidden Game is a compilation of the three books in this series, The Hunter, The Chase and The Kill. The first two were very fast paced and exciting, but the last one fell a little flat.

Jenny did not start off as a very captivating protagonist. She seemed just like an average perfectionist. But as the books went on, the reader got to see the side of her that Julian craved, and the bumbling and dumb choices she made her seem more human and relatable. 

I felt like I was never given enough material to really understand Tom, and want Jenny/Tom to be together. I'm glad romance wasn't the most important thing in this series, but I didn't care about Tom at all. I liked Julian better, and he was the mostly evil one. Maybe if there had been more chapters just about Tom, it would have been better, but he was mostly presented as a perfect being off the bat. There was not much development in his and Jenny's relationship. One other small thing bothered me, and that was the relationship between Jenny and Zach. It's like something was missing between them, or just forgotten. They're cousins, but it felt like they had something more going on. Julian was by far the most developed and interesting character, and I craved more of him.

The dynamic between the many characters was very interesting and unique. The premise was very out-there, but I think L.J. Smith handled it well and remembered to bring in realistic things like police investigations and so forth. I read the first two books very quickly, and it was actually the last one that took me several days. If you have time out of your schedule to read this 700+ pg book, go for it!

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