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The Forbidden Game: The Hunter; The Chase; The Kill Paperback – June 8, 2010
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About the Author
L.J. Smith is the New York Times bestselling author of the Night World and Vampire Diaries series. She has written over twenty-five books and lives in California.
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- Originally published in the 90s, LJ Smith went ahead and used some slang and details from the time period where more generic terms would have worked and made it feel less dated now. Still, how would she have known that all of these years later they'd be doing reprints of all of her books? So while it feels wrong now... eh... It worked when she wrote it.
- Yes, they do seem to be on a crazy spree, reprinting all of her books. Now we're all human. I expect us all to goof, especially me, I'm the queen of typos. But with editors and reprints and the like, it feels like somehow LJ Smith's books are the ones I read that always keep having silly errors even after multiple re-prints and a decade or more of people reading and re-reading them. Yet they never get caught / fixed in new versions? Things like: "But we got her back from him last time, Michael. We'll get HERE back now."
- You'll probably want to keep telling yourself "This is the omnibus version. This is three books, not one." Otherwise it'll feel really repetitive as you re-meet some of the characters over and over, their descriptions repeated almost word for word several times.
- Well that'd be one thing, the most important thing, the story itself. Jenny goes in search of a game for her boyfriend's birthday party. While trying to find the store she's followed by two shady looking men and stumbles into the the nearest door to escape them. A game store. Not the one she'd been looking for. Still, convenient... a little too convenient. Turns out she'd been led to the store by the boy who runs it, Julian. The game he sold her, it was real. Jenny and her friends become trapped in it. If they win, they get out and that is that. If they lose, Julian gets to keep Jenny. Along the way they'll all face their worst nightmares.
In typical LJ Smith fashion the villain is someone we end up rooting for. He's got to redeem himself. He's fun! So he's done some bad things, he couldn't help it, really. The good guys are so dull. They don't appreciate the girl! Etc. Usually, you're not supposed to hope the bad guy wins and get the girl in the end, but in LJ Smith's books, you do. So will he? That'd be telling...
I have always considered this trilogy as one book and feel that that is the only way for it to be read as none of the books are really stand alones by themselves as each leave off with a cliffhanger of sorts. So my review is or the three books as a whole. The beginning and end of this story are of course the strongest while the middle does slow down a bit with pacing but is merely setting up for an amazing ending.
Jenny and her friends I always felt were nicely written and each were interesting in their own right. Julian the perfect villain, an evil guardian almost but intriguing none the less. The only thing that has really changed as I reread these as an adult is that I do wish the story had grown more adult with it. As it is the romance here is very tame with nothing beyond a few kisses but it is targeted to teens.
I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA or for those like me who just like a little 90s nostalgia :)
Why even allow a sample to download if the book itself isn't available? Bad advertising, people.
Edit: Got in contact with Amazon and managed to convince them that the book is, in fact, available as an e-book in the US, as both Barnes&Noble and Borders Books can attest to (considering they both sell it). They fixed the issue, so all is well.
Now that that's taken care of, I changed the rating to four stars, because the book itself is really very good. I already own a paperback copy, but I've read it so many times it's starting to fall apart. While The Forbidden Game isn't classic literature, it's definitely one of LJ Smith's best trilogies, and the book that made me a fan. If you're a fan of the movie Labyrinth (which I am), think of this story as a darker version of the movie, and Julian as a slightly more evil (but no less sexy) version of the Goblin King.
I'd take a slightly sadistic shadow man like Julian over sparkly vampires with no personality, any day.