Review: The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay

Goodreads  Amazon
Release date: August 2, 2016

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

Goodreads blurb: 

Who will be left after lights out?

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? 


Even though the premise of this story is a bit played out I was still interested after reading the blurb. How many movies and books have we all read/watched where kids play a game then things turn deadly? Tons, right? I had hoped that there would be some originality in this one, but alas I was left disappointed and irritated.

Cate is a pretty boring main character. McKay tries to create a creepy setting, but Cate’s lack of genuine fear makes it all fall flat. She’s very unemotional and bland, she’s overall just a lackluster person so I found I couldn’t even really like her, much less relate to her.

I was really hoping that at least the killer would be hard to identify, after all there was a pretty large cast of characters to choose from as the whole book takes place in a school. I guessed the killer about thirty percent into the book, which was obviously a huge disappointment. To be fair, I read a lot of mysteries and can guess whodunnit oftentimes. But I felt like this time it was so obvious that even the youngest of YA readers would guess correctly as well.

The pacing of this book was just off for me too. There were parts that just dragged on so slowly and others that just didn’t feel necessary. Something else complete unnecessary? The blatant sexism throughout. I was too annoyed to grab actual quotes, but things along the line of, oh the killer has to be male because he’s “killing” all females, and bitch has got to go. No thank you. I say “killing” because for a book with the premise of a killing game, not a whole lot of killing happens. 

Maybe I could recommend this to the younger side of YA readers. On second thought, no I cannot. I wouldn’t want anyone impressionable reading a book that alludes to sexism, mocking of athletes for being unintelligent for no other reason than they’re athletic, and sketchy relationships between students and teachers. Also, it does that typical thing that all YA readers hate! The absent parents who don’t care about their kids but only care about their money. Over. Done. To. The. Extreme. 

Overall rating: 2/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

6 thoughts on “Review: The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay

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