Cover Image: Their Vicious Games

Their Vicious Games

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Unfortunately dnf this at 10% in. Just didn't understand what was even happening. It almost felt like I missed something right at the start.

Thank you netgalley for the earc in exchange for an honest review.
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I absolutely adored this book. Was so interesting and hard to put down! I read it in two days! I had a couple crazy theorys and none were right. I never coupd have guessed that twist and ending!
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Their Vicious Games follows Adina who enters a competition to show off that she is the best among a group of women in order to get an acceptance back from Yale after her's was taken away. Unexpectedly though it's actually an insane set of challenges that lead to death, only one winner allowed, and you will be married into the host family as a result. 

This book was so good and it had so many amazing quotes. I ended up with around 50 annotations on netgalley because I loved tagging things whether it was a quote that I loved (sometimes because it was poetic, sometimes because it was slick, smooth, and sharp, and sometimes because it was thought provoking),  romance blooming in a nice or shocking way, and for foreshadowing or theory moments I wanted to mark for later or to comment on. I loved so many quotes from the book and when I look back on them I pause and am just there having to nod and agree with my choices for highlighted quotes because they are just too good.

There was always so much going on, and I loved following it and seeing what all would happen. Things would constantly be getting crazier and wilder and you'd be surprised so often by what was coming next.

I loved how big and fun the cast was. So many of the characters were so sharp and spunky even while they were supposed to be these elegant women that would fit into the Remington family. Even the characters who were terrible were such interesting characters that made you want to learn more about them and just love hating them.

The political and societal aspects of the book were strong and carried in a great way throughout the book, reminding you of how crazy the characters were and how it reflects into the world around us, and making you think about so many things with its thought provoking tendencies. I really appreciated all of it and thought a lot of it was well done.

There were some things I didn't entirely enjoy or was unsure about relating to major spoilers, but past those things I did enjoy the book. The problems I had weren't major problems, but things that I wished had been done differently or had more intention/meaning since one of the problems seemed just unfinished. 

After reading the book and while writing this review, I saw that the author mentioned that the book was supposed to be satire and not taken too seriously. When I read that I started worrying if I had read it wrong but I've already read it and formed my opinion, so I can only hope that I read it the way that the author intended. The book has such strong characters, great intentions that showed what was wrong with the world and what people needed to overcome or change, crazy incredible drama that just upped the ante more and more as it went, and a wild premise that made you sit there and read the crazy while understanding how chaotic and crazy so many of the actions were. The way it all builds makes everything so much more thrilling and enjoyable.

For the most part I was content with the ending. I loved the lead up to the end and loved how it ended essentially, but one point near the end left me questioning things which is why I say that more than anything I ended the book feeling content. 

I was able to read this book as an e-arc through Simon And Schuster Canada and Netgalley so thank you to them both! I'm glad I had the opportunity and I enjoyed the experience, especially since it's been so long since I read an ebook and forgot how much fun it was to be able to annotate things with highlights and adding notes with all my thoughts. Even with my problems with the book, since it was so fun, thought-provoking, and intriguing with an ending that left me content, I would probably give this book around 4.5 stars. I don't typically rate books with stars so this could be a rating that I would change someday, but at this moment in time I think a ranking somewhere in the level of 4 and closer to 4.5 is fitting for my feelings of the book.
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OMG. The classism. The racism. The calculating cruelty and violence. This story was brutal in the best way possible. I was hooked—especially with Penicillin’s (iykyk) female rage reveal. Saint was such a great character and friend to Adina. Esme and Hawthorne were such a fascinating and riveting duo to read about, and I loved their plot twist at the end. The trials were all so interesting and the first murder took me by surprise as I had forgotten this book was about a competition to the death 😅 I was totally rooting for Penelope and Adina by the end of the story, and I thought the twist at the last trial was so fitting. Overall, I would totally recommend this!

4.5/5 Stars
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Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an arc in exhange for my honest review. The following opinions are my own.

I was really excited to read this one as I admittedly do not read a lot of satire. Although I enjoyed the idea of this story. It wasn't for me. But I'm sure it'll find its readers.
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I received a free copy of Their Vicious Games from Netgalley and Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.
	Their Vicious Games has been compared to Ace of Spades and Squid Games, but I unfortunately haven’t read/seen those yet. Instead, I’ll say that it reminded me of The Hunger Games and the Triwizard Tournament from Harry Potter (I’m sure there are better comparisons). A dozen young women must compete against each other in The Finish, a deadly competition that will leave one standing. Adina is smart, though. Perhaps what these games need is a bit of a different perspective – and someone playing by new rules.
	This is an amazing YA novel that I’m sure will land with fans of dystopian fiction, thrillers, and YA fantasy (despite this not being a fantasy novel). I enjoyed the non-stop action and that you never knew when the next thing would go wrong. Exhilarating from the moment Adina steps onto the page.
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This one was a bit of a struggle in the beginning, but once the rhythm of the story is formed, it was really well done! 
It was definitely different than what I was expecting, but in a positive way! I will be looking for more from this author for sure!
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My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Review:

I received a digital ARC of this book from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review – thanks!

This book was a wild ride from start to finish! Life got in the way of me finishing it quickly, but this was a read that I could not put down once I picked it up. Wellington’s storytelling is top notch, and I think fans of this novel’s comps (Ace of Spades, Squid Games) will devour this story as quickly. I don’t want to give too much away with my review, as with thrillers every bit of praise or critic i speculate on could be spoilerly – and this is a book I don’t want to spoil!

The characters are certainly the heart of this story. Adina is such a great protagonist. I love her determination, her sass, and her bluntness with all of the Remington’s. Her supposed naivety in the beginning grows into something else as the story progresses. I enjoyed that she didn’t waver, even in the more difficult parts of the story. She was wholly herself, and it was just such a thrill to read.

As with most stories, there are some things you can see coming. But honestly, most of this story took me by surprise. I enjoyed the twists employed to keep everything moving, even if they were a bit over the top. There were some (specifically the one in the Royale) that I wish had been built up to more concretely and not just as the story went. However, the action usually made up for it.

My other critique has mainly to do with the situation that puts Adina in this place to begin with. We are told, partially, what happened for her to lose her enrolments, but I think a flashback could have been beneficial. I wanted to know more about the history between her and Esme, as it is part of the central conflict. I felt like it was thrown in to cause antagonism, but it felt disconnected without proper explaining. There are a couple other instances of plot points being thrown in there for dramatic effect, which are more spoilery so I won’t go into detail, but these are the main reasons why this is a four star read for me instead of five
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this was so different than other YA novels i have read in the past. i didn't know what to expect and was so surprised! i don't want to say more, but the characters and the story are so fun.
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This book blew me away. I love the twistiness of each character. I love that everyone is basically unreliable and changes chapter to chapter. This book kept my heart pumping the entire way through. 

It definitely gave me hunger games mixed with inheritance games vibes and I loved it.
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“That’s what makes losing it all hurt so bad-it meant nothing to them, but it meant everything to me.”

i saw this book being described as “ace of spades” meets “squid games” with a pinch of “the bachelor”, and i was sold.

i thought i knew which direction this book was going in but i was wrong! i’ve read so many books that it’s genuinely difficult for me to be shocked anymore, but this book did that. i never knew what to expect and i loved it!! 

this was definitely the book i needed to read to get me out of my fourth wing reading slump! so so so good! loved the authors writing style and really enjoyed our main characters determination and ability to stay true to herself! would definitely recommend to literally anybody wanting something fast paced and unpredictable!! 

thank you to netgalley and Simon and Schuster for an e-arc of this book!!
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I absolutely loved this book!! I couldn’t put it down.  
I just loved all the characters. I highly recommend this book.
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Adina Walker has always been on a scholarship at Edgewater Academy, an upper class (and mostly white) school, because her parents work there. After losing control in a moment with a former friend, Adina had her admission to Yale revoked. Adina will do anything to get that admission back, even compete in a high-stakes game that the Remington family hosts called the Finish. Several young women in Edgewater compete in the Finish to be accepted by the Remington family and have all the advantages of their wealth and power. However, the stakes of this game aren’t what Adina predicted. She must change the rules to survive the Remington’s vicious games. 

This was an intense competition story that reminded me of The Hunger Games and Ace of Spades. The game had deadly stakes, which wasn’t what Adina had expected. There was some racism and classism in the story, since Adina was the only Black girl in the game as well as the only girl who didn’t move in the same circles of the Remingtons. I found myself holding my breath while reading this because I didn’t know what twists the games would reveal next. 

Their Vicious Games is an intense and twisty story!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book!

Content warnings: racism, death, murder
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This was a fun read. It definitely gave me Hunger Games/All of Us Villains vibes. I really enjoyed Adina’s character and loved her friendship with Saint. 

The Finish was twisted and I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next.
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This book is INTENSE.

After a fight ruins Adinas chances of going to any college much less an Ivy that she’s being working so hard for her entire life, she’s desperate to do anything to restore her academic standing. This is where an invite to The Finishing could turn everything around for her. The Finishing is a competition where girls compete in three unknown tasks and the winner gains the favour of the wealthy influential family that hosts the event. And they can get Adina back into school. Unfortunately, this book is a thriller and Adina finds out that the finishing is way more than what she thought she was signing up for.

I was sucked into this story immediately. It’s faced paced and intense. I spent so much of the book being stressed for Adina and rooting for her to make it through. I don’t read a ton of YA Thrillers but I’m glad this made it into my hands.
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I love reading books for young adults and it’s always my hope that sex isn’t a topic or at least not in such a blunt, classless way. I am a mom of 2 teens and 2 young adults and feel like they get exposed to such garbage these days. I will not be recommending this book. I could let get through the first 30 pages. If this book was written for the 25 plus group I would say fine but not kids in high school.
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This was a violent good time! It was such a wild ride. I liked the main character but honestly the most noticeable part of this book is the plot. It ramps up at the beginning and never slows down. I really liked the way the author wove commentary into the story, and I think this was such a good satire. 
I will say, I think the marketing of this book might make people like it a little less. I think it should've been more clear in the description of this book that it was satire. If people go into it not knowing that, it might make them like it less. 
That being said, I think this is an awesome satire, full of ridiculous over-the-top antics, strong commentary, and a main character you can root for.
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If you’re looking for a book that pits student-against-student with a dark Hunger Games/Squid Game twist, then Their Vicious Games by Joelle Wellington is for you.  Adina has been lucky to attend Edgewater Academy thanks to a scholarship and she has dreams to attend Yale.  Those dreams fall apart when she gets in an argument with one of her friends that turns violent. This leads to all of her college offers being rescinded.  Now without any prospects, Adina ends up with a mysterious invitation to attend “The Finish” which only a select few female students are invited to.  Adina knows that winning will open up doors for her and she will be able to attend her dream college.  

The Finish is not what it seems.  Girls from local wealthy families are chosen to compete, and what isn’t said is that the competition is to find a wife for the next Remington heir and no one else survives.  The heir has a girlfriend who was invited to compete.  The competition consists of three challenges, all of which Adina is unprepared for.  In this no-holds-barred contest of skill, malice, and luck, who will remain standing at the end to claim her prize?

This book was well-paced, filled with great (albeit morally questionable) characters, and the ending did not disappoint.  This book is dark, providing a portrait of the most extreme entitlement I could imagine.  Yet somehow, this book remains hopeful.  I look forward to more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I had to start this review with the heaviest sigh, because what a ride!

This book opens up with us meeting Adina, a young middle-class minority student going to school with the kids of the top 1%. She quickly learns that money can do a lot of things and craves to get the best education, rise in ranks, and never again feel powerless. However, as she joins a competition that she believes to be her saving grace, she quickly faces the reality of the world she wants to join. One where a classist and racist elite can use and abuse others with impunity for their own entertainment!

Someone described this book as Bachelorette meets Squid Game and it couldn’t be more accurate. This book kept me on the edge of my seat with each chapter, constantly trying to discover what each character was hiding behind their mask! As we get toward the end of this book, we see Adina get to the conclusion that the solution to her predicament is to eat the rich. And what a feast it was!!!

This book was a delight and will be recommended by me to all my friends!
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This book is marketed as Ace of Spades meets Squid Game meets The Bachelor, and I can’t think of a better way to describe this novel. We follow Adina Walker, a black teen who loses her scholarship to her dream Ivy League school, and the deadly competition she joins as a last ditch effort to reclaim her planned future.

Based on the book's description, I knew I would like this book, and I was right. It’s fast-paced, bloody, with an exploration of class and race directly woven throughout. The book’s ending absolutely blew me away and had me gasping, speeding through and wishing for a good resolution. I also really enjoyed the exploration of friendship, both toxic and supportive. My only complaint was that at times the writing seemed a bit repetitive, going over the same issues without giving much further insight into Adina as a character.

Overall, I liked this one, and I think you will too if you enjoy:
- Survival/competition shows like The Hunger Games and Alice in Borderland
- Plot-based storylines that keep you turning the pages to figure out what happens next
- Tackling systemic discrimination and entrenched privileges 

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada and Netgalley for providing us with an advanced reader copy of this engaging YA thriller.
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