Cover Image: These Deadly Games

These Deadly Games

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Member Reviews

Great YA thriller, especially if you're in the target audience! I think I'm a little older than the target and probably need to steer away from the YA thrillers these days, as I usually just look back on the things they do and find it unrelatable (anymore, I'm sure my younger self would have eaten this up though). But I love Diana Urban's writing and she definitely succeeded at making me feel the discomfort and anxiety that the main character was feeling.
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Frist off I do have to say that this book reminded me of the TV show Pretty Little Liars,  in the way it was set up and executed, with a group of friends and one big secret among them. And with each turn of the page you find out more about the secrets and lies, and who is playing Crystal against her friends,  ( just like Pretty Little Liars) . Plus it's Suspenseful through out the book and makes you question  who to trust and can you even trust Crystal.
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Whoa! What a ride. It was very fast-paced. The writing style kept me hooked and I didn't find myself losing any interest. I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters and how real the story felt. The author did a great job painting the setting, so it was easy for me to visualize the scene played out before me.  I recommend giving this one a chance!
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Urban delivers a well-paced thriller for the YA crowd. Some of the inconsistencies/plausibility issues that bothered me as an adult reader will go over fine with the intended audience. Crystal, an avid gamer, must figure out who she can trust and how far she can go when her younger sister is kidnapped. The kidnapper sends Crystal instructions on tasks/games to complete but Crystal soon realizes that to save her sister the kidnapper wants her to punish her friends for a game that went very wrong five years ago.
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This book blew me away. I was not expecting it to be as good as it was. This book was a huge mindf*ck and I am completely here for it. This was a good combination of mystery and thriller, the bounce back and forth between past and present day were easy to follow and definitely helped add to the story and not hinder it.
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An intense, fast-paced YA thriller, featuring 16-year-old Crystal Donavan. She's one of a group of friends who spend all their free time playing video game MortalDusk.

We learn that bad memories plague all of them - of something they'd done five years before. Then Crystal receives a message with a video of her 8-year-old sister Caelyn gagged and bound to a chair. It says: 'React to this, and she dies. Show this to anyone, and she dies.' 

The kidnapper assigns her a series of tasks. They seem innocuous at first, but then do serious damage to her friends, one by one. How can she get out of this and save Caelyn?
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Crystal is focused on an upcoming Mortal Dusk tournament. She is determined to win with her e-sports team as the prize money could be life changing. Her sister calls her out on her being solely focused on the game and nothing else, so when Crystal drops her off for the weekend a little bit of guilt nags at her. Then a few hours later she gets a message with her sister bound and gagged. Now to save her sister, Crystal must play along with this secretive game that is threatening to hurt those around her. 

The summary here has so many points that made me raise my eyebrows in excitement. Sisterly love and trying to save her, but at the choice of friends? I was so curious as to how this was all going to turn out and eager to dive in and see what would happen to Crystal. So when this didn't work for me, you could say I was disappointed. 

On a positive note, this book started off quickly. There is no build up to what's going to happen. The reader is thrown into the plot which was excellent for me as I've been struggling to read, so the instant grabbed really helped me stick with the book and be excited to read it. 

It is also action packed. Once it starts, it really doesn't slow down. There is always something going on that really tries to keep you invested in the story and keep you wondering and guessing about who did it and what entirely is going on. 

Now, for more of the in depth details of the story.

With how the plot is set up, the readers really get to see a lot of Crystal and little of the other characters. For a thriller, this is not a big deal for me. I love being able to focus on the character who is trying to figure everything out and make it through whatever things they are going through. So, this should have worked for me, but it didn't. There was something that I didn't connect with. Usually I can easily connect with a character's panic and anxiety, but I never felt hers. For her being the focus of the story, I should feel like she was fleshed out, but it really felt like everything was happening to her and that was her whole personality. Even the flashbacks didn't help fix this for me which is truly a shame. 

The plot sounds interesting and honestly as a concept I feel like it could be, but this didn't work for me. It felt so wildly unrealistic that I struggled to look past that. For teens who are more of the target audience, maybe they could overlook this and just enjoy the wild ride; unfortunately, I couldn't overlook how wild the whole thing was. 

As I mentioned briefly earlier, there are flashbacks. The flashbacks pulled me out of the story every time. While the current time period was supposed to be intense and anxiety inducing, these flashbacks had a different vibe. For me, it was so obvious where these flashbacks were going that they didn't add tension for me or anything great importance instead it was just one thing that killed the pacing for me. 

While I do think that this was a good idea and did have some good points, These Deadly Games didn't work for me. I think if I was closer to the attended audience that I would be able to enjoy this more. If you are closer to the intended audience and enjoy a fast-paced storyline, you might want to try this one.
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This is by far the most terrifying book I've ever read, and I am someone who devours literal horror novels. Those who know me will realize after reading the synopsis that what happens to the main character is literally my worst nightmare, which influenced my reading experience... a lot.

I am never triggered by books but this one? Yeah, definitely scared me. After finishing it, I actually went to read a romcom for distraction... 

It's hard for me to look at THESE DEADLY GAMES and give it an honest rating, because honestly? This is one of the most confusing reading experiences I've ever had.

Diana Urban's sophomore novel is amazing entertainment. Not in the fun way, but in the heart racing oh-my-god-I-need-to-turn-this-page way. I inhaled this book to the point where when it was over, I felt like I couldn't breathe anymore. It's terrifying and action-packed and addictive as hell.

But once the rush from reading fades away, I wonder what really is left of this book...

Either way, I'm definitely planning on picking up more by this author! She has a talent for sure, and this three stars are very positive ones!
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This book reminded me of Nerve meets Pretty Little Liars. Excellent for a YA thriller and those who have no read a lot of thrillers. The more thrillers you read, the more likely you are to figure out the ending, which makes for terrible reviews, but I thought this ending was good and new YA readers will definitely enjoy it. I liked this better than Urban's first book, and I think her writing style is getting better with time.
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Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC!

“Let’s play a game.

You have 24 hours to win. If you break my rules, she dies. If you call the police, she dies. If you tell your parents or anyone else, she dies.

Are you ready?”

Spoiler free review:
I really enjoyed this book! It was wild, fast paced, and kept me on edge the entire time. Took me a while to see where the twist was going to be. I liked the main characters and how they develop throughout the story too! Lots of great mental health rep.
If you like psychology thrilled, gaming, and/or high risk “games”, you’ll like this book.
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Suspenseful and cleverly planned YA read. There was a sense of dread as the novel progressed through the "games" and they were a little over the top, but nonetheless I found this entertaining and a book that many YA readers will find enjoyable. I enjoyed the reveal of the mastermind behind the games, not what I would have guessed.
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Sadly, i have leaned away from YA in recent years, and now I remember why. I am not the target audience, and therefore, things that teens might relate to, I just cannot. That played into my enjoyment of this book. If you like YA thrillers, I do recommend giving it a try!
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These Deadly Games was a pretty typical YA thriller.i think that because my expectations weren't that high that I wasn't too disappointed with the story. It had an intriguing (albeit typical plot). The biggest grievance I have with this story was how overly annoying the teens in overly done in a way that was pretty much a disservice to teens.
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I really wanted to love this one, but I lasted about 40% before I gave up.  I really could not stand any of the characters in the book.  They were all horrible to each other.  The entire premise started becoming too unbelievable for me.  I gave her first book only 2 stars, so maybe this author just isn't for me.
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ooof this pushed me to finally stop adding YA thrillers to my TBR
- REALLY did not like the writing. it was very clear that these were teens written by an adult
- so many fart jokes??? for what
- the E-sports team took up so much "screen time" for absolutely no reason
- has one of my least favorite tropes where the MC knows something the reader doesn't and teases you with it the entire time
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This book is one hell of a ride. In a game of secrets  we follow a main character that we don't know we can trust and it was an good ride. I will say I didn't see the twist coming. If you like stories where the main character is being tricked and has something taken from them and made to play a deadly game this book is for you
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with this ARC. 
Description from NetGalley:
When Crystal Donavan gets a message on a mysterious app with a picture of her little sister gagged and bound, she agrees to play the kidnapper’s game. At first, they make her complete bizarre tasks: steal a test and stuff it in a locker, bake brownies, make a prank call.
But then Crystal realizes that each task is meant to hurt—and kill—her friends, one by one. But if she refuses to play, the kidnapper will kill her sister. Is someone trying to take her team out of the running for a gaming tournament? Or have they uncovered a secret from their past, and wants them to pay for what they did...
Let me get this off my chest: I understand that the flashback was when they were kids; however, once I found out what happened five years prior, I lost of my sympathy for Crystal. This book is fast paced and nicely written. I saw who is was coming from about 25% of the way through. For a YA thriller, it will probably bring in that age group to the genre.

Overall: 3.5/5
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I love a good scavenger hunt but this was scary! Imagine having to play because your sister is being held hostage with each task meant to bring harm or death to your friends. 

This story will have you on the edge of your seat as each task is completed. You will be completely shocked by some of these tasks as well as how the people behave. 

Great read!
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Man, this was intense. In true Diana Urban fashion, I was on the edge of my seat as each secret and plot twist was revealed. At times, the trauma and destruction was uncomfortable to read, which I suppose is the entire point, so I guess that means she did her job! If you want something fast-paced and concise, then this is for you. I'll definitely recommend to my teens at the library. 

Also perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Karen McManus books.
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This sounded like it would be a really interested read, and I guess there were parts that kept me interested enough to keep going and see how it ended. However, between the over the top plot (like with zero possibility of being even slightly believable) and the extremely unlikeable (and one dimensional) characters, this just ended up not working so well for me. There was one part of the mystery that I didn't put together, but other than that, I also felt it was super easy to figure out who was behind everything, and it just was kind of a let down when I found out I was right. I still think that a lot of people might like this one, it just wasn't for me.
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