“Welcome to the Game, apprentices.” Alex walks down the steps and on to the sand, smiling at us. “Be happy. You are the chosen few.”
The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay is a young adult thriller about a boarding school tradition that quickly takes a perilous turn.
Cate is a slightly above average student surrounded by stellar academics, athletes, and artists at the elite boarding school she attends- due, in large part, to the fact that her family owns the island where the school resides. Plagued by the usual adolescent woes- romance, both requited and not, insecurity and the constant struggle to navigate outrageous social expectations, Cate yearns to join “The Assassins Guild” a group of students chosen by their peers to participate in the school’s traditional game “Killer”.
The game begins with an initiation for the new members, a task that tests their will, determination, and commitment. Once completed, the initiates are invited to a hidden, secluded cave where the first of many meetings are held- it is here that the game begins and the Killer is chosen. The simple premise of the game is this: one person is selected, at random and in secret, to be the “Killer”; this person is tasked to invent unique “Deaths” for the members of the Guild, the ultimate goal of the Killer is to remain undiscovered while other Guild members attempt to unveil the true identity of the person behind the pseudo-murders. The suspense of the game envelopes Cate shrouding her in paranoia.
I feel the hairs rise on the back of my neck. I want to call out, but suddenly I don’t want the thing that was making those noises to know where I am. My breathing sounds horribly loud, and I’m sure that whoever or whatever is crouching in the darkness knows exactly where I am. Maybe it’s the Killer. Maybe he or she saw me come back in here and is tempting me back into the cave to finish me off, like a siren in the waves.
However, as the game progresses, outlandish and imaginative kills to boot, Cate’s paranoia is reinforced by mysterious warnings and threats which take the game to a whole new, dangerous level. When her Guild mates become the subjects of excessive harm, Cate begins to wonder whether the Killer has an ulterior motive. Determined to uncover the identity of the Killer, Cate is led through a series of events that far surpass the traditional Assassin Game and cross into criminal territory. Will the Killer be discovered, before it’s too late?
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A review copy of this title was provided by SOURCEBOOKS Fire via Netgalley