Book Review – These Deadly Games

Hello hello, and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m sharing a really exciting book review with you; These Deadly Games by Diana Urban doesn’t come out until February of next year but thanks to the wonders of NetGalley and Wednesday Books, I was able to read it in August. A BIG thank you to Diana Urban’s Street Team set up as this meant I was in the group of people who were first sent a “read now” option.

I absolutely loved All Your Twisted Secrets, and so I couldn’t wait to read this. It absolutely did not let me down.

Let’s play a game.

You have 24 hours to win. If you break my rules, she dies. If you call the police, she dies. If you tell your parents or anyone else, she dies.

Are you ready?

When Crystal Donavan gets a message on a mysterious app with a video of her little sister gagged and bound, she agrees to play the kidnapper’s game. At first, they make her complete bizarre tasks: steal a test and stuff it in a locker, bake brownies, make a prank call.

But then Crystal realizes each task is meant to hurt—and kill—her friends, one by one. But if she refuses to play, the kidnapper will kill her sister. Is someone trying to take her team out of the running for a gaming tournament? Or have they uncovered a secret from their past, and wants them to pay for what they did…

As Crystal makes the impossible choices between her friends and her sister, she must uncover the truth and find a way to outplay the kidnapper… before it’s too late.

Crystal and her friends have a secret. That’s one of the first things we learn. That five years ago, something awful happened, and they’re all hiding from it in the form of an interactive game, MortalDusk. I really liked the idea of the inspiration here, and I was also impressed by how much of it I understood game-logic wise; I’ve obviously been exposed to too much Fortnite thanks to my child. Sigh.

Crystal drops her sister off at school for a school trip with advice to laugh off her bullies, and hurries back to her house, desperate to squeeze in some extra time on her game. When she gets to school however, the ‘fun’ really begins…

As predicted with a Diana Urban novel, this had me on the edge of my seat and wanting to rush through the pages as quickly as I could. Crystal reaches a point where she is suspicious of everyone, being forced to make horrible choices, and eventually having to look back over everything she’s done, wondering just what concequences she’s brought into play without even meaning to. The game is afoot indeed, and Crystal is a player with a big motivation to want to win.

It was creative, unique and captivating, keeping my attention fully on the book even when it wasn’t in my hands. I needed to know how! I needed to know who! I needed to know why.

It’s one of those books where you get so excited about reading it, you’re immediately sad it’s finished as you know it’ll be a while before the author produces another book; the only downside to ever reading anything so far in advance. It’s a clever book, and I’ll be waiting with baited breath to see what Diana Urban comes up with next.

I absolutely loved this book, and it’s one of those I will certainly buy and reread when it’s been long enough for me to forget some of the details! If you haven’t read Diana Urban before, you’ve got plenty of time to read All Your Twisted Secrets before These Deadly Games comes out in February. You really won’t regret it.


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