Book Reviews

The Dying Game by Asa Avdic (Spoiler-free!) Review

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, Β 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.Β  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.

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43 thoughts on “The Dying Game by Asa Avdic (Spoiler-free!) Review

  1. Yikes! I almost picked up an ARC of this book but turned it down for something else, and it may have been the right choice. Such a shame though, the synopsis for this sounded really interesting. Thanks for the review! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. From reading the synopsis I was like “well this is going to be a glowing review” and then I read that line and was like “Oh wow, nope.” Likable characters are really important to a book. If you can’t find even one to like then I would casually put the book to the side and say “Nope, not finishing it.” Time is too precious to read crap. The beauty though of literature is that someone else may connect deeply with these characters for some reason that does not connect with you. I loved seeing your perspective though on why you didn’t like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. oh god i hate when the synopsis is so much better than the actual book! i was sat here reading the down the synopsis and i was like YES I WANNA READ THIS and then it was like ugh another thriller book where nothing happens 😦 i hope you enjoy your next book 1000x more! x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh man what a shame! I hate when you get excited at a synopsis of a book and it ends up being a complete let down! And there’s nothing worse than having to force yourself to read to the end of a book. Fingers crossed the next one is better!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It really is a shame when you find a book that sounds amazing and you think you will really enjoy but once you get stuck in, its not what you expected – and not in a good way!
    I hope you managed to pick a great book up after this one to keep you in the reading zone x

    Liked by 1 person

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