Thursday 12 January 2017

Clare Reviews: Game of Fear by Gledé Browne Kabongo

Game of FearTitle: Game of Fear
Author: Gledé Browne Kabongo
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from author for an honest review
Pages: 398
Rating : 3.5/5
Blurb: Sometimes, good girls do very bad things...

Academic overachiever and popular good girl Abbie Cooper is used to being in control, and strives to keep it that way. As senior year at her elite New England private school kicks off, she’s focused on one goal: getting into the Ivy League. But even good girls have dark secrets. One morning, Abbie discovers a cryptic note in her locker, ("I know what you did, hypocrite! Justice will be served, The Avenger.") Then a photo arrives in the mail. It captures in great detail the explosive secret she’s kept hidden from everyone—the shocking blunder that could get her expelled from Saint Matthews Academy, and keep her out of the Ivy League for good.

Determined to protect her future and the people she loves, Abbie is drawn into a diabolical game of blackmail, cyber spying, and deception. For $50,000, the mystery girl known as The Avenger assures Abbie that her secret will remain safe. There’s only one problem: The Avenger may not exist at all. So who’s stalking Abbie with anonymous text messages that disappear after they’ve been read? Who’s out to ruin her and why? To uncover the horrifying truth, Abbie must play the game, all the way to its stunning conclusion. 

I didn't realise, going in, that Game of Fear is a sequel of sorts to another of Kabongo's novels - Swan Deception. Fortunately this didn't impact on the story as much as I feared it would. Although I was missing a bit of the backstory - for example why Abbie's mother had been framed for murder - it didn't deprive me of anything relating to this specific mystery. 

The mystery was a good one for the most part. Abbie, despite being ostensibly an intelligent girl, very quickly latched on to one particular culprit and ignored all clues or hints that this wasn't true. As a reader, of course, you pick up on all the things she missed that make is so very obvious that this girl she is accusing is not guilty at all. Which enables you, as a reader, to figure out the culprit way before Abbie herself does. If I had one complaint it would be that the book is so obviously pointing you in any direction but the truth that it became pretty clear who was behind the messages long before the big reveal. 

The characters were, for the most part, likable. Christian, despite his past, was the most likable character for me and I really wished that Abbie would trust him more. I loved her friendship group and how close and supportive they were. I didn't love the way Abbie treated Sidney. I know that she thought Sidney was behind everything and was trying to protect herself but she invaded Sidney's privacy in a very bad way and was then very insensitive in the way that she handled what she found out. I would have liked to know more about Sidney, she was a very complex character and I felt sorry for her the way her story played out.

Because this book takes place at a school for very well off teenagers, it was a little hard at times to connect with the difficulties of the characters. It's hard to feel sorry for someone who can lend a friend fifty thousand dollars without wincing, or one who can afford to pay it back easily as soon as she reaches 18. Likewise The Avengers motivation for blackmailing Abbie left me a little cold. I didn't have any sympathy for them.

Ultimately I think this was a quick and fun mystery, at times the romance did overtake the mystery but it was a sweet romance so I didn't mind too much. I would say that if you enjoy Pretty Little Liars then this would probably be a book for you. I definitely think that at some point I will go back and read Swan Deception to pick up on the backstory.

Ann's review for Game of Fear is now up here.

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading.

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