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The Forbidden Game (1-3) (Review)

The Forbidden Game (#1-3)
Author: L.J Smith
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 750
Release Date :June 8, 2010 (First Published 1997)
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: When Jenny buys a game for her boyfriend, Tom, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the guy behind the counter. There is something mysteriously alluring about Julian's pale eyes and bleached-blond hair. And when he places the Game into her hands, she knows their connection is something deeper.

But as Jenny and her six friends begin to play the Game at Tom's birthday celebration, a night of friends and fun quickly turns into a night of terror and obsessive love. Because the Game isn't just a game - it's the seven friends' new reality, where Julian reigns as the Prince of the Shadows.

One by one the friends must confront their phobias to win the Game. To lose the Game is to lose their lives. And that is only the beginning.

My Thoughts:  This book is Jumanji for adults, or teenagers I guess, except that instead of the game coming to life, the players get sucked into the world of the game!  Jenny's boyfriend Tom is super annoying, according to everything you read about him he is the 'perfect guy' but honestly, I can't stand him, but maybe that's just me. He is the 'win win win no matter what' guy and takes everything for granted, yet Jenny complete romanticizes him because they've been together since the second grade and it's so annoying, I feel immediately like, she could do better.

We start at the beginning where Jenny is walking around in a sketchy part of town cause you know, there's no way the mall could have board games, and she sees this door just conveniently appear out of nowhere with a sign indicating it's a game shop. WHAT? Convenient, of course I'll go in.

You know right away that this was a bad decision, but hey it was either get possibly attacked by these people following her or go into the mysteriously appearing shop. Life choices am I right?

So here she meets, weird, attractive, blond and creepy Julian. Literally, it says this on his name tag (No I'm lying). They instantly have a connection and he gives her this game called 'The Game'and the rest is history. Night starts off normally enough, you know, for a seventeen-year old's birthday party with friends. I'm a huge advocate for board games but man, whatever happened to bowling?


Anyway they start playing the game and some awaken a rune that brings the whole thing into play, weird things happen, everyone ends up stuck in this fake house that came with the game and each and every one of them has to face their biggest fears and make it to the top of the house before dawn in order to escape alive.

Geeze, I thought my Friday nights were rough. I won't spoil it but this is only the beginning of their crazy journey with Julian. This is actually a collection of three books, the above one being The Hunter, the next being The Chase and the final chapter being The Kill. All throughout the stories we learn why and how Julian became so obsessed with young Jenny, that he's been watching her for her whole life.

What I liked about this whole thing is that it doesn't romanticize it. Jenny is very much aware that this Shadow Prince is a total psychopath. Throughout the series, they find out how Jenny's family and her past is woven into Julian's existence and that of the 'shadow men'.  Each novel sends them on a new quest to save themselves and their friends and hopefully to destroy Julian once and for all.

This book. Unique. Intriguing. Captivating. I was immediately drawn into this world and the moment it ended I was so disappointed, I wanted more of this story, more of this world. I was already a fan of L.J Smith's The Night World series so when I picked this one up I figured that I would like it, and I was right

As a pre-teen I got most of my reading material from the second-hand store, so I grew up on the Teen fiction of the eighties and early nineties, so now that it's all being re-released it's nostalgic to read titles like this as it brings me right back.

That being said, you don't read this novel and feel like it's outdated, it's a clever concept that barely takes place in reality so there's very little to be distanced from. That landline though.


Overall it's a fun book, if you like the spooky, supernatural type of read. 

Recommendation: If you like paranormal stories and are a fan of books like The Vampire Diaries (another L.J Smith title) this is definitely a read for you. I really liked it. 





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