Sunday, March 31, 2019

Book Review: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Title: The Lying Game
Author: Ruth Ware
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister...

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

My Review:
There was something about the synopsis for The Lying Game by Ruth Ware that caught my attention. I guess I wanted to see how this lying game the girls played would turn out. While The Lying Game was a good read, it didn't really focus on the actual lying game too much.

The plot for The Lying Game was interesting enough. Thea, Isa, Fatima, and Kate all met at Salten, a boarding school for girls, when they were all 15 years old. Thea and Kate tell Fatima and Isa about they lying game as well as the rules. However, that's about as much as the plot focuses on the the actual game which was disappointing. When a body is found near Salten many years after the girls were expelled from their boarding school, they must all come together to get their story straight. Isa isn't taking what happened at face value and begins to become suspicious of Kate's tell of events. She will do whatever it takes to discover the truth about what happened that fateful night that changed all four of the girls' lives. I will admit that there were some great plot twists in The Lying Game that I never figured out.

The world building in The Lying Game was mostly believable. I do feel like the townspeople of Salten would have been a bit more suspicious of the women coming back to Salten when a body is found. The women say it's because of Salten school's reunion dinner (which happens during the middle of the week, strangely), but this is the first time they've ever been to one of the dinners. I also had a hard time with Isa's baby, Freya. Freya seemed to be the most well behaved six month old baby! Isa brought Freya with her to Kate's house, but during much of the story, Freya never cries. Yes, there are a few times where it's mentioned she cries, but for the most part, Freya is happy wherever she is. Isa seems to be more obsessed with Freya more than any mother I've ever known, yet she puts that baby in a lot of danger during the course of the story.

The characters in The Lying Game were just okay. I did like Fatima the most. She seemed to be the most mature and reasonable out of the lot of them. Thea was alright. I did like how blunt she could be. Kate came across as being a bit whiny and manipulative. Isa was just very selfish. She seemed to only think of herself instead of her baby and husband. She blamed her husband for so much when it was clearly her fault their relationship was falling apart. I felt so sorry for Owen, her husband. Luc was an interesting character. I did feel sorry for him for how he was treated during his childhood. The major thing that annoyed me was all the profanity. The four main characters, Thea, Fatima, Kate, and Isa, swore so much. I'm okay with swearing, but a lot of the swearing seemed misplaced and like it was written in just to be there. It served no purpose. I would understand it more if they swore a lot in their teens, but these were women in their thirties sounding like they were swearing to sound cool or because they normally weren't allowed to. I just think the swearing was a bit over the top.

The pacing is very good in The Lying Game. Events flowed well, and I found myself not wanting to put the book down. I had to know what would happen next. Not one part of this story became too boring.

Trigger warnings in The Lying Game include lots of profanity, drinking (both underage and of age), cigarette smoking (underage and of age), animal violence (the death of a sheep), no sex but things leading up to it although not graphic, some drug references, overdosing, the drawings of naked underage girls, and murder.

All in all, The Lying Game is a good read. Yes, it does have some problems like the characters being immature and selfish and the overuse of profanity, but it's still a fast paced thriller with a fantastic plot twist. I would recommend The Lying Game by Ruth Ware to those aged 18+ who are fans of thrillers.

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