These Deadly Games
– Diana Urban –
Published 1 February 2022
I’m not entirely sure if I am super impressed with this book, super annoyed or impressed that it both intrigued me and annoyed and horrified me at the same time. Can one be so conflicted about a book? I’m going to lay out the good and the annoying.
These Deadly Games is a thriller that leads its main character Chrystal on a wild game that very quickly turns deadly. No end of twists, puzzles, dares and tasks that might seem innocent but quickly turn deadly. This mystery thriller is high stakes and there are some very serious consequences.
For Chrystal, her focus is completely set on winning a spot in her friends’ esports team. The prize money would ensure her family could stay in their home. But when she receives a text with an image of her younger sister tied up with a message – complete the dares or she dies. Chrystal must decide – her sister or her family’s future? Can she do it all and make sure her friends never learn the truth?
These Deadly Games raises the issues of online safety in a really creative way. My gosh I was not expecting the explanation of how it all worked and that very last twist was a big surprise. I think that’s highly relevant for teens of today’s world and a great aspect of the book. It also makes the concept realistic, as sometimes YA mystery books struggle to find that balance between authentically teen and “yeah, a teenager is never going to actually be doing THAT!”.
These Deadly Games is clever, shocking, exasperating, thrilling, tense and honestly just insane. I think the lengths Chrystal goes to are hard to believe. But I also have to admire, grudgingly, her determination and guts. Because, man I would have just gone to the police. Like, at the start.
That is all.
Seriously? Can you be that cold hearted and ruthless and yet still try and convince me (and everyone else in the book) that you are not? And that I maybe, sort of believe that maybe, instead you are really just stupid. Or clever? Aghghggh!! I don’t know. I think I spent 89% of the book in utter disbelief and 99% of the book screaming (out loud, not just in my head, ask my family) at Chrystal that she was an idiot.
So, this one is a mixed review from me but I think our teen readers will enjoy it.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: esports, friendship, murder, games, suspense, kidnapping, abduction, death, sisters.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Coarse language, f*** (40), sh**(43), ass**** (5), bi** (7), pi** (2). Murder, death, kidnapping, injury.
Published: 1 February 2022 by Wednesday Books
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 416 pages.