Title: The Game: The Valley (Das Tal, Season 1 #1)
Author: Krystyna Kuhn
Genres: Contemporary | Mystery | Thriller
Length: 316 pages
Julia and her brother Robert are sent to an isolated college in Canada.
At first Julia believes the eerie feelings she gets will pass but soon she will understand far more sinister things are happening.
Well, this one was a major let down.
First of all, when I got this book I had no idea it was the first of a series. I really wanted to read a standalone.
Alas, when I first started reading The Game: The Valley I was faced with the same old YA formula: annoying teenage who throws tantrums and feels like the world is all about her and, well, boys – more specifically insta-love.
The one good thing was her brother Robert, whose rare perspectives I did enjoy reading but even that was an incredible disappointment as the author keeps hinting that there is something paranormal going on with him and then it doesn’t, he’s just really smart. I usually don’t mind the author leading me in a completely wrong direction if things are going to be wrapped up nicely but this was not the case. I finished the book wishing I had read a lot more about him, found out what exactly was going on in his preciously little head. That talk about the Valley being evil, for instance. What the heck was up with it? Was anything paranormal actually happening or is the guy just wacko?
I never got why Julia and Robert were so disconnected, not only because they were siblings and the only ones who knew each other at the college but also that they obviously shared some secret story together. To me, that means they should be extra close and protective of each other. Instead Julia struck me as such a bad sister and I was actually annoyed that I had to read about her so much. She always came across as so whiny, dramatic and selfish to me. Also, I could not see what the heck she was doing in a college for gifted teenagers, not to mention other characters.
Besides not being able to connect to the main character, another thing that irked me was that the narrative felt very disjointed. Although the writing was smart, in the way that chapters ending in cliffhangers makes the reader want to keep going, the events did not flow, I always felt like a connecting thread was missing. In the end when things came together it felt like info dumping.
Throughout the story there was this constant air of mystery about the college and the Valley where it is located, with hints to weird things that happened there, but nothing really leads anywhere and a lot of silly assumptions are made along the way.
Needless to say I will not be reading the sequels but I suppose fans of YA can enjoy this. I still do not recommend it, though.
Read from Sep 26th to Oct 1st, 2016