Book Review: “The Assassin Game” by Kirsty McKay

Warning: If you have not read “The Assassin Game” by Kirsty McKay, don’t read this review unless you want spoilers!

I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “The Assassin Game” by Kirsty McKay! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:

“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?”

I thought the first half of the book was exceptionally good, plotwise! The worldbuilding of the game the characters play is very fleshed out with its own Gamemaster, hierarchy of players, an established Killer, etc. Unfortunately, the second half falls flat with this as once the ‘kills’ start getting life-threatening, the whole game itself just loses control entirely.

As for the characters, I felt that the romance between Vaughn and Cate felt a bit forced, and the fact that Alex was the person behind the deadlier pranks all along felt a bit random and also forced as well. There wasn’t much character development in this book for any of the characters, to be honest.

However, the pacing of the book isn’t too bad overall. It feels a little rushed in the second half, because the first half is drawn out so much with the harmless pranks and trying to guess who is the ‘Killer’ in the game, but it did help to establish the decent worldbuilding.

I was surprised that there was more mystery and romance in this book than actual ‘horror’ elements. The more ‘horror’-like elements are the cryptic notes Cate keeps getting in the book, rather than in the game where people are getting ‘Killed’ in both the non-deadly and actually deadly pranks. Alex trying to kill Cate and Vaughn would have been terrifying, had the establishment of Alex as the villain of the book didn’t feel so random and forced.

Overall, I’m rating this book 3 out of 5 stars!

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