A masterly locked-room mystery set in a near-future Orwellian state, in which seven people are brought to a remote island to compete in a 48-hour test for a top-secret intelligence position, and one woman must stage her death. The year is 2037, and on the tiny island of Isola, seven people have been selected to participate in a 48-hour competition for a top-secret intelligence position with the totalitarian Union of Friendship. One of them is Anna Francis , a workaholic bureaucrat with a nine-year-old daughter she rarely sees and a secret that haunts her. Anna is not actually a candidate for the position: in fact, she’s the test itself. Her assignment is to stafe her own death and then to observe, from her hiding place inside the walls of the house, how the six other candidates will react to the news that a murderer is among them: Who will take control? Who will crack under pressure? But then a storm rolls in, the power goes out, and the real game begins…. Combining suspense, unexpected twists, psychological gamesmanship, and a sinister dystopian future, The Dying Game conjures a world in which one woman is forced to ask, “Can I save my life by staging my death?”
This is one of those books where the synopsis makes the book sound better than it actually is. I wanted action, suspense, and unexpected twists and what we got was just a boring book with not much plot and an annoying main character. Anna is offered a chance to comfortably live with her daughter for the rest of their lives if she agrees to collaborate with the government and be part of a test for a top-secret intelligence position. All she has to do is fake her own death and then spy on the candidates and report back how each handles the pressure of her unexpected murder. Sounds like it would make a pretty interesting and entertaining read, right? No. I was so bored reading this that I had to force myself to finish it.
My biggest issue was that I did not connect with any of the characters. Our main character, Anna, was boring and annoying. I hated every decision she made, starting with leaving her daughter to live with her mother for her entire life. This really made me sad that she didn’t care to have a relationship with her daughter. I have a really hard time liking a story if I don’t like the main characters, or in this case, any of the characters at all. If Anna didn’t make such dumb decisions, I might have been able to get over the boring plot. But no. She just got more annoying as the book went on. She made horrible decisions that I just did not agree with and spent the majority of the book pining after unrequited love.
This book is supposed to take place in the future, but I did not get that feel at all. It seemed like the story could have taken place in present time and it would have had zero effect on the story. This book is supposed to be a dystopian society but the book didn’t go into world descriptions at all besides talking about some sort of war. You get no information on the war or the world whatsoever, besides the fact that our main character was in charge of a refugee camp. I wish the world had been described a little bit more so we could get a better dystopian vibe and a little more insight as to what was going on.
I rate this book 2 stars out of 5. Publication date is August 1, 2017.
Thank you to Penguin’s First to Read Program for an advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review.