Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Review: Game by Barry Lyga

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I received this book for free from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Game by Barry LygaGame by Barry Lyga
Series: Jasper Dent #2
Published by Little Brown BfYR on April 16 2013
Genres: Thriller, YA
Source: Hachette Book Group Canada
Buy on Amazon

Billy grinned. “Oh, New York,” he whispered. “We’re gonna have so much fun.”
I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jazz, the son of history’s most infamous serial killer, Billy Dent.

In an effort to prove murder didn’t run in the family, Jazz teamed with the police in the small town of Lobo’s Nod to solve a deadly case. And now, when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help, he can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple–and its police force–running scared. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous game.

*This review is spoiler free for book 1 and this sequel!*

Before I went into YA my favorite novels were criminal mysteries and serial killer type stories. Then my favorite among them were the ones dealing with profilers. There is just something incredibly fascinating about seeing how these guys can take one small and seemingly insignificant detail of a crime scene, and tell you who the killer is in the most intimate of way. Game brought back the reasons why I loved these types of books; there are truly sick people in this world and it’s shocking to get into their heads. True to its name, Jasper’s father brings us into an exhilarating game in this fast-paced sequel.The characters I so loved in I Hunt Killers are back with just as much wit and charm as in book 1. We’re privy to a few different POVs that I found worked great to bring up the intensity and intrigue: We see what every character is up to simultaneously, giving us the full 360 of this puzzle-filled plot. Jasper himself is still struggling with his own self-identity. Is he going to fall prey to his father’s brainwashing ways? Does he have an underlying instinct, or need, to kill as well? His character is as compelling as it is a psychological study. I love being in his head, trying to figure him out as well. What would it be like to have been raised by the most notorious serial killer? Some kind of effed up! The side characters are not put aside either. Howie, especially, gives this book all the humour it needs and then some. This guy made me guffaw with his come-ons to Jasper’s aunt. I think every single scene he appears in shows us a side of his hilarious personality; be it his amusing reasonings or creative ways to laugh at himself, you can’t help but love this fella! He’s also exceptionally loyal and that makes him awesome in my book!This book does in fact bring up its game when it comes to gory details. If you’ve read and enjoyed I Hunt Killers then you’ve been well prepared–though this sequel is fairly more gross than its predecessor. Several instances of disembowelments are involved, along with lots of eyeballs–even an explanation on how easy they are to remove. Some very noteworthy stuff in here! There really wasn’t much difference in the gore factor than most of the adult crime thriller books I’ve read so it’s clearly meant for more mature YA. This makes it real, though; serial killing is rarely a clean job and all. There were definitely some parts of the plot that were less realistic, however. No matter how famous of a serial killer is his father, I’m wary to believe that NYPD would start calling on a 17 year old kid to help with a case. A case that we know all along is linked to Billy Dent, but they don’t, so how… convenient? There were also details that Jasper discovers in the crime scene pictures that are hard to believe competent NYPD investigators (and FBI, even) wouldn’t have deciphered themselves. Fortunately these details weren’t a real bother for the story, it was just a underlying fact I had to look over. For the most part it was a convincing scenario of a messed up serial killer case that became a blast to figure out. While I did predict pieces of it, I was blind to the way it all fit together until it was revealed.

Oh, but I think you forgot something, Mr. Lyga! How about an ending! *sobs quietly* He truly leaves us hanging in the end, and we get two major cliffhangers that are going to make the wait extremely long for the third book! If it was a TV series, this episode would have ended with “… To Be Continued”. Likely with sinister music and all that jazz! This series continues to be the perfect read for fans of Dexter everywhere!

4 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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23 Responses to “Review: Game by Barry Lyga”

  1. Sam

    The gory details actually make me want to read this more. 😉 I haven’t read the first book yet, though I have a copy of it somewhere and look forward to starting it. I’m glad to hear the sequel is a promising one. Great review, Giselle!

  2. Nick

    Like Sam, the gory details are what makes me want to read this book. It sounds like a pretty intense story. Before I read YA, my favorite genre was crime thrillers as well. I need to get to the first book asap because it sounds pretty fantastic. Although, I have to admit that the sound of the cliffhanger is putting me off a little. Maybe I’ll just wait for the 3rd book to come out then start the series!

  3. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I can’t believe I never got around to reading the first book. It’s on my list! And I do love crime/mystery/thrillers with great characters…though I’m not thrilled about the cliffhangers. Maybe I’ll wait until book three is out so I can read them all in one fell swoop!

  4. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Yeah I had to stretch my imagination a bit more with this one as well and I snickered at some of the small details at times but once I did that I totally got lost in the mystery. I am right there with you on Howie I loves him! So cute and funny. Connie was a but of a dunce in this one at the end but oh wells, you can’t win em all, right?

  5. Amy

    It sound like this wasn’t quite as good as the first one, but I’m glad that you still enjoyed it. I used to read mostly mystery/thrillers before I got into YA too. I am kind of a sucker for cliffhangers so I would probably love the ending. I should really read the first book soon. I think I have it. I’m pretty sure in fact. Maybe… lol!! Awesome review hon!!

  6. Gellie

    I love detective books even though I have to wait for the big reveal because I rarely piece the puzzle together myself =)) I do agree that the “…To Be Continued” cuts are totally beautifully frustrating since I am one impatient girl. Great review, Giselle!

  7. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I really REALLY dislike cliffhangers with a fiery passion, but I suppose I can forgive Lyga just this once. I can’t wait to read this, but I’m actually once again waiting for the audio. The narrator for the first book was really excellent and I’m looking forward to another book read by him.
    I love how Lyga plays with the nature vs. nurture issue and I think he portrayed a son of a serial killer really realistically.
    I get what you’re saying about the FBI calling him in, it IS highly implausible, but I just accept these things as part of the genre.
    Fabulous review as usual, Giselle!

  8. Christina

    What’s better than one cliffhanger? TWO cliffhangers!

    Really? This is a thing now? Grrrr. I mean, I don’t really mind them so much, but that sounds seriously excessive. Anyway, glad you liked it, since I know it’s disappointed some. I still need to read the first one…

  9. Sirtsu

    WUT? The first one has a sequel already? But.. but.. I haven’t even read the first one 😀 Being raised by a serial killer must be something like the experience of being raised by Valentine Morgenstern, but of course, I can’t tell for sure. I wanted to read the first book some time ago and now I wonder why didn’t I.. Hmhh.. Anyhow, I have a soft spot for crime/mystery books and my absolute all time favorite crime-storyteller is Ms. Agatha Christie. That woman could write!! She’s the reason I enjoy these type of books and I Hunt Killers is one of my top if not THE top book to read in this genre. I hate cliff hangers though so maybe I’ll wait until all of the books in this series are published lol. Thanks for this review, Giselle! I wouldn’t have remembered it otherwise:)

  10. Candace

    I’m not so sure if this is a series I would enjoy. I’m not so big on gore and stuff and I’m just not feeling the urge to read these. I’m glad you’re really enjoying them though!

  11. Lauren

    Yay! So glad to hear this sequel lives up to the first book. I’m completely addicted to profiler shows/books, so obviously I adored the first book. Howie rocks, glad to hear he’s still in good humor. I found some of the plot details in book one unbelievable too, but I just overlooked them because I was enjoying it so much. I’m sure I’ll be able to move past them in this one too. Bummer about the cliffy, but hopefully it won’t be as bad now that I’m expecting it. Fabulous review!

  12. Eileen

    Fantastic review, Giselle! I haven’t read I Hunt Killers, but from the comments and your review I really need to pick it up soon! Although I may need to skip this one because I’m a TOTAL wimp and just hearing about disembowelments makes me want to go in the corner and slowly cry myself to death lol.

    But I still want to read it, if it’s only to find out about these characters that you seem to love so much! I love how Game has humor, creepiness, AND a fantastic set of characters! I’m glad you enjoyed this one!

  13. Kailia Sage

    I really, really, really need to read I Hunt Killers. I have a strong stomach but I never fail to get queezy when someone’s head is getting cut of or something along those lines.

  14. Shooting Stars Mag

    Sounds awesome- and thanks for the spoiler-free review. I still need to read the first, but I’ve been dying (pun intended) to for awhile now. Looks like it will be something I grab this summer! I’m glad the sequel is just as awesome.

  15. Jenn Renee

    I have this holding on Audio for when its released. I can’t wait!!!!! I loved the first book, it was one of my favorite reads of 2012. awesome review… and yes the first one did turn my tummy a bit, so I must prepare my self now for disembowelments lovely…