Title: These Deadly Games
Author: Diana Urban
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication date: February 1st, 2022
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.
These Deadly Games is a new YA thriller based on revenge, guilt, secrets, and lies. Crystal and her friends play an online video game and are preparing for a big tournament. But Crystal’s younger sister gets captured and is forced by the kidnapper to play games in order to get her back. But these games are dangerous and endanger all of Crystal’s friends. She must figure out who is before it’s too late.
I was very much intrigued throughout this book because it’s very fast paced and there is always action. Some of the twists and turns were pretty easy to figure out but it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book. There was also a psychological twist and plot line that was very well done for being an aside to the main premise and plot of the book. I felt bad for Crystal throughout the book as she was being forced to jump through these hoops and make terribly difficult decisions.
The tone of this book was very much YA, from the characters to the video games to the puzzles the bad guy put together for Crystal to solve. However, the consequences to the puzzles and the overall goal of the villain is incredibly dark and not always fitting with the YA genre. The police involvement and investigation at the end is also fairly unbelievable in my opinion.
I will definitely read more of Diana Urban’s work in the future, These Deadly Games is an excellent sophomore novel.
Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!