“The Assassin Game”: a literary letdown

Kirsty McKays The Assassin Game

Kirsty McKay’s The Assassin Game

Makinsey Hamblin, Guest Writer

The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay is a young adult novel about a girl named Cate who goes to a boarding school for geniuses after her family suddenly comes into money. At her school, there is an exclusive group called the Assassins Guild. The Assassins Guild plays a game every year during which a member is named “the killer” and attempts to “kill” the other players in dramatic public displays while keeping their identity anonymous. Everyone at her school wants to be picked to participate in the game, and when Cate is chosen, she is thrilled. But when Vaughan, an old childhood friend, appears at her school out of the blue and manages to join the Guild after the game has already started, Cate begins to question how he fits into her new life and why he is really at her school. When things turn truly deadly in the game, everyone begins to suspect each other, and Cate has nobody she can trust. Will Cate manage to catch the killer before he strikes again? Will she even live to tell the tale?

The Assassin Game has a fascinating premise. However, McKay’s execution of this idea is frankly disappointing, and she spends so much time trying to build suspense that it got boring. I feel McKay also wasted a lot of time detailing Cate’s love life and romantic conflicts. At times, it felt more like an angsty teen romance novel than a mystery novel. The one remarkable part of this book was the ending. McKay had me on the edge of my seat when she finally revealed the killer, but I was disappointed that she saved the best for the absolute last part of the book. I give The Assassin Game a 3 out of 5 stars and recommend this book to people who like teen love stories with a hint of mystery.