Hey, guys! Today I am very excited to talk about one of my all-time favorite trilogies, The Forbidden Game trilogy by L.J. Smith. This is a very creepy series that I read back in high school. I absolutely loved it then and I still am in love with it now. I had been meaning to reread this for awhile, and I finally did. I am so happy I finally got around to rereading it because I loved it just as much as the first time. But let’s go ahead and get into the review!
“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 on The Hunter:
I forgot how much I freaking love this series. This first book is equally scary and creepy and it is just an interesting world that L. J. Smith has created, and I still love it. I think I forgot this was based on Norse Mythology, and I honestly forgot a lot about what happened in this first book. There is only one part of this book I could never ever forget, and that is the bug scene. It was like my own twisted nightmare brought to life. It scared the crap out of me the first time I read this, and it still scares me to death. I had nightmares for months after finishing this first book back in High School. It is everything I want in a spooky, scary novel. There are family elements, friendship, love, and so much creepiness. I just fell in love with this series all over again.
Something that I picked up on in my reread of this book was the similarities I saw in Julian’s character with Sebastian Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I don’t think they are the same by any means, but Julian looks a little bit like him (they’re both unbelievably sexy with white hair), they have similar background in who/what they are (literally can’t say because spoilers), and they are both obsessed with a girl who is taken by another guy and who they really can’t have (which is frustrating as hell because I ship Jenny and Julian with a vengeance). My mind just kind of connected the two of them while I was reading, and now I can’t not see the similarities, even if the stories are completely different. I just thought it was interesting, considering this book was published over 20 years ago.
But I loved the storyline, the writing, the love story, and just everything about this. It is still my favorite thing to read around Halloween, and I think it is just great. Highly recommend!
My Thoughts on The Chase:
Oh, this was so good! This one had the creep factor, but it was different. It was scarier, more suspenseful. When you’re reading this book, you kind of become paranoid. Like, who is going to disappear next? How are they going to disappear? It just kept me on the edge of my seat, and the last fifty pages of this book were like terrifyingly suspenseful. I literally could not stop reading! With this one, while the actual romance is not touched on a lot, I was living for every single scene that had Julian and Jenny together because I am absolutely trash for those two. I freaking love them, and I will ship them until my last dying breath.
This book just gave off a very cool vibe to me, and I was here for it. It was interesting how L.J. Smith took the Game, and just made a new one, but on their turf in the real world, in reality, and not the Shadow World. It really forced us to see the repercussions of looking over their shoulder constantly. We got to see the aftermath of Summer going missing and how everyone thought that Jenny and all the rest of them killed her. We also saw how the Game was affecting their familial relationships. They were having to lie to everyone they cared about, and people were noticing how changed they all were. It just really put a strain on their relationships with everyone around them, and it was really cool to see.
I just really loved the different take on The Forbidden Game, the writing, the development of all of the characters, and I just think this was a solid installment in the trilogy. I loved this, I think, even more than I did the first time around, so I am really excited to finish up my reread of the trilogy with the last book, The Kill!
My Thoughts on The Kill:
This book was very creepy, I’ll give it that. It was a scary experience, and I am convinced that this book is the reason I find my local amusement park so creepy, but it was just missing a certain element. The romance. One of the reasons I loved the first two books so much was the romance between Jenny and Julian. You could see how much he cared about her. You could see how much Jenny really did care about Julian. But that element was just missing from this book. It was in the first part of the book, so I really enjoyed the first part of the book, but then that element was just suddenly gone, and that was why I was dragging my feet when I was reading this. It was missing my favorite part about this series.
I would say the character element to this story was what was really lacking. You don’t really get much character development because this time the story was plot-driven, and I just missed all of the character moments we got in the first two books. With this last one, it was just plot. And the storyline was really interesting, but it should not have taken precedence over the characters and their development, and I just feel like that is what happened. There was no chemistry between any of the characters in this book. I just didn’t feel emotionally connected to anyone in the story except for Julian, even if I do think he was behaving off in this book.
I had problems with this book, compared to the other two books, but I still really enjoyed it, and I want to continue my reread of L.J. Smiths’s other works! The writing was on point, as always, I still really enjoyed the first half, and I do think it was still a good conclusion to the series!
And there you have it! That was my review of The Forbidden Game trilogy by L. J. Smith. What is your favorite urban fantasy novel? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!