Review: Wicked Games

Wicked Games
Wicked Games by Sean Olin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

To all the locals in the small beach town of Dream Point, Carter and Lilah seem like the perfect It Couple-but their relationship is about to brutally unravel before everyone’s eyes.

Carter has always been a good guy, and while Lilah has a troubled past, she’s been a loyal girlfriend for the last four years. When smart, sexy Jules enters the picture at a senior-year bash, Carter succumbs to temptation. And when Lilah catches wind of his betrayal, she decides that Jules needs to pay.

By the end of the summer, the line between right and wrong will be blurred beyond recognition. Blood will be shed. Nothing in Dream Point will ever be the same.

Wicked Games certainly promised what the name says, with one girl’s sick and cruel manipulations leading to two lives ruined. The story is pretty simple actually – Carter and Lilah have been a couple for nearly four years, and their relationship has run their course. After one particularly bad fight, he finds Jules and feels a connection. Now, instead of being an upstanding guy and breaking up first, he hooks up with Jules (who was aware of Lilah), and even after that, goes on non-dates (what does that even mean?) with her. When Lilah finds out, instead of confronting him directly, she turns psycho and goes after Jules. In the end, she is neutralized but they are traumatized. The End.

Wicked Games has good writing, I won’t deny that. Hell, that writing kept me turning the pages, since the scenes were rendered so realistically, the second half containing most of the thrills, in particular. But then the plot was weak to begin with, so in the end, you are left with a book that gave you a high but intellectually speaking amounted to nothing. It was like watching a trainwreck – it’s morbidly interesting but you are also horrified by it. So many of the situations could have been avoided by better communication, someone doing something about the stalking and bullying (where were the adults, besides Jules’ mom, during that?), and finally restraining Lilah knowing that she is dangerous.

Lilah herself is a textbook definition of crazy ex-girlfriend and has no personality beyond that. At first, I thought the fact that her insecurity stemmed from her parents would gain more focus, but ultimately it just boiled down to jealousy and manipulation. Carter, well, I felt a little for him when he was being manipulated later on, but initially he just came across as a tool. Like, you could have NOT cheated on your girlfriend, dude? Or at least be honest about it, and let the chips fall as they may? If he was so afraid of her harming herself, he could have very easily informed her parents or the authorities. Now, Jules, well, I found it hard to empathize with her, when she went into the situation totally aware of it, and then carried it around with herself until it all came out. I do feel bad that she was traumatized so much that she was constantly looking over her shoulder, but did she do anything about it? No! Nor did Carter, for all his promises of not letting anything happen to her (LIAR!).

So, in short, basically it was one hell of a ride, but leaving you slightly queasy afterwards.

P.S. What does the cover have to do with the story, I don’t understand. It looks new-adult-ish and the book is nothing about that.

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