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The Lying Game

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On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten, along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister… The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, a On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten, along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister… The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isa—receive the text they had always hoped would never come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.” The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second-rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty. But their little game had consequences, and as the four converge in present-day Salten, they realize their shared past was not as safely buried as they had once hoped…


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On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten, along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister… The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, a On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten, along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister… The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isa—receive the text they had always hoped would never come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.” The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second-rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty. But their little game had consequences, and as the four converge in present-day Salten, they realize their shared past was not as safely buried as they had once hoped…

30 review for The Lying Game

  1. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    *Unpopular opinion alert*: This book didn't work for me. The Lying Game is a slow burning psychological thriller about four friends who are bound together by lies. “A lie can outlast any truth.” When 15 year old Isa Wilde is sent to coastal boarding school, Salten, she quickly befriends Kate, Thea, and Fatima. The girls participate in a game, called “The Lying Game,” which isolates their classmates and causes local townies to hate them. There are 5 rules to the game: TELL A LIE, STICK TO YOUR STOR *Unpopular opinion alert*: This book didn't work for me. The Lying Game is a slow burning psychological thriller about four friends who are bound together by lies. “A lie can outlast any truth.” When 15 year old Isa Wilde is sent to coastal boarding school, Salten, she quickly befriends Kate, Thea, and Fatima. The girls participate in a game, called “The Lying Game,” which isolates their classmates and causes local townies to hate them. There are 5 rules to the game: TELL A LIE, STICK TO YOUR STORY, DON'T GET CAUGHT, NEVER LIE TO EACH OTHER, KNOW WHEN TO STOP LYING. After a horrible event occurs leading to the expulsion of the liars, the game ends but the girls never stop lying. They make a pact to never share what really happened, and keep the secret buried for 17 years. Switch to the present, and Isa is a 32 year old attorney living in London with her newborn daughter, Freya, and partner, Owen. She’s lost contact with the other girls, but when she receives a text from Kate simply stating, “I need you,” she drops everything and runs to her friend’s side. Kate, Isa, Thea and Fatima reunite, desperate to keep their secret under wraps. It soon becomes apparent that one of them has broken perhaps the most pivotal rule: NEVER LIE TO EACH OTHER. Told from Isa’s perspective, the narrative switches back and forth between the past and present. Isa shares a lot about how things used to be, and while the narrative shifts to the past we only get small glimpses of the friends time together, which hindered my ability to really get a full picture of their friendship. This is one of the reasons I had trouble with this book. I also found Isa’s voice stifling. The Lying Game isn’t bad, it’s just not great. While it's very well-written, there was something lacking for me. Often, I was bored--but this might be because I figured out the mystery super early on. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    Four high school friends now in their thirties reunite after a terrible shared secret threatens to emerge and shatter their peaceful lives. But what they thought was a shared secret turns out to be a lie - one of them isn’t telling the truth. I really enjoyed Ruth Ware’s debut novel, In a Dark, Dark Wood, and was disappointed with the poor follow-up, last year’s The Woman in Cabin 10, so I hoped The Lying Game would be a return to form; it’s not. The Lying Game is awful - looks like Ruth Ware is Four high school friends now in their thirties reunite after a terrible shared secret threatens to emerge and shatter their peaceful lives. But what they thought was a shared secret turns out to be a lie - one of them isn’t telling the truth. I really enjoyed Ruth Ware’s debut novel, In a Dark, Dark Wood, and was disappointed with the poor follow-up, last year’s The Woman in Cabin 10, so I hoped The Lying Game would be a return to form; it’s not. The Lying Game is awful - looks like Ruth Ware is a one-hit wonder! This non-thriller horribly takes its time, ambling towards the reveal of the mystery at the novel’s core, along the way introducing us to its cast of uninteresting nobodies in a small, dreary coastal town. The “dark secret” is underwhelming to say the least, particularly as it’s built up to be something utterly shocking. I guess what they did is morally questionable but I thought it was going to be much, much worse than it was. Things don’t improve in the second half of the book. Ware wastes more time on the impossibly mundane life of Isa, our narrator, who has boring quarrels with her husband - this, like too many passages clogging the narrative (what did having a baby add exactly?), has NOTHING to do with ANYTHING, I just kept thinking GET THE FUCK ON WITH IT! - as the pathetic “plot” shuffles towards a dull final twist that I couldn’t have cared less about at that point, and then the whole disaster is wrapped up. It’s never really clear what exactly the point was. The four friends gather and talk about what they did but don’t really do anything further - it’s not just a lack of any character’s discernible motivation, it’s a total absence of direction which only accentuates the turgid pacing of the book. A menacing figure, Luc, is introduced but other than wondering whether or not he killed a sheep (another go-nowhere subplot), it’s not clear at all what his purpose is - his presence only makes sense with the final twist so up til then he feels like another superfluous addition to this overlong novel. The mystery itself is flimsy at best. It was only a mystery to us because the details are slowly parcelled out - if it was revealed at once you’d be able to poke holes in its flawed construction, as the main character does once she begins to think about it. But why wouldn’t she have thought about it at the time or at any time in the 16 or so years since it happened!? It’s such contrived drivel. No aspect of The Lying Game was interesting or worth reading. It was a supremely tedious, unremarkable and unsatisfying novel that’s put me off of picking up anything by Ruth Ware in the future. I highly recommend her only good novel, In a Dark, Dark Wood, which is exciting and fun, though I’d steer well clear of her other books.

  3. 3 out of 5

    Navidad Thelamour

    “…years on, people round here still use your names as a kind of salacious cautionary tale…” It’s rare that I stumble upon a read as gripping and as raw as this one was. And, it was not an outright or vulgar kind of raw—no, that wouldn’t really be the English way, now would it?—but Ruth Ware’s The Lying Game was something arguably so much better, because it didn’t lean on outright shock, melodrama and over-the-top confrontations. No, here the rawness is in the imagery, a true reader’s delight, bec “…years on, people round here still use your names as a kind of salacious cautionary tale…” It’s rare that I stumble upon a read as gripping and as raw as this one was. And, it was not an outright or vulgar kind of raw—no, that wouldn’t really be the English way, now would it?—but Ruth Ware’s The Lying Game was something arguably so much better, because it didn’t lean on outright shock, melodrama and over-the-top confrontations. No, here the rawness is in the imagery, a true reader’s delight, because it pulled at the senses and plucked at our moral strings in unpredictable ways, in ways that were altogether unexpected when I picked up this novel. Here, the reader will peep behind the closed doors of a partially secluded English home at the edge of a reach, a place where the water laps at the very door of the home in high tide just as danger and uncertainty laps at their feet from the moment they receive Kate’s SOS text: I need you. Once a place of refuge and harbor, the Reach has turned into a silent stomping ground for their greatest fears and will forever be a magnet of both dread and longing for each of the women in this sisterhood. Kate, Thea, Fatima and Isa share a secret that bonds them together tighter than blood ever could. And it starts and ends with the Reach. The gentle suspense here was wonderful, but even it was heightened and magnified like a fly under a magnifying glass by the camaraderie that held these four unlikely friends together nearly 20 years after that fateful night—you could feel their anxieties, mistrust and the burn of their lies scorching your very skin as you read on. Ware swirled so much unexpected goodness into these pages that I was amazed at her deftness and insight. This glimpse into their world was so much more than just that—it was the peeling back of the layers of humanity within ourselves and at the lengths that we will go to protect one of our own. The very act of peeling seemed to be almost a metaphorical foundation: the peeling away of clothes wet from the waters of the Reach, of skin around ragged fingernails chewed nearly to the quick, of secrets from the truth they’d all stood on as their foundation for years. And, too, within these pages you’ll find other hidden nuggets, like a subtle commentary on the cultural insensitivity Muslims face every day (“What do you think it means? If you think it means that she’s using that head scarf as a bandage, then yes, that’s what I mean. It’s great that Allah’s forgiven you…but I doubt the police will take that as a plea bargain.”) the bond of family—blood and otherwise—and a true sense of setting and surroundings: It gives the whole place a melancholy air, like those sultry southern American towns, where the Spanish moss hangs thick from the trees, swaying in the wind. The town of Salten was embedded in true English culture, making the characters all leap to life on the pages, the values of this tight-knit society playing an important role in the unfolding of events. The Lying Game managed to be about so much more than lying—though those moments of actual “game play” were delightful, fun, frisky and filled with all of the carefreeness of youth that we all remember, that we all yearn to hold on to even now. It was also about the grip of a parent’s love and protection of their children, small town scandal and the whisper of child sexual abuse. How dare you judge me? I do what I have to do to sleep at night. So do you, apparently. How about you respect my coping mechanisms and I’ll respect yours? Ruth Ware gave her readers a phenomenal roller coaster of twists and turns. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would be happy to read more from this author any day! The setting was palpable, the sisterhood and kinship of these women SO relatable. These women felt real; their faults and growth felt real and it made me want to follow them throughout these 300+ pages. The camaraderie was palpable, lifelike, believable and touching. There was no bow-tie happy ending here and I respected that, yearned for that, in fact. Ware had the guts to not put a ribbon on it for us, and her readers can only revere her for that. I loved every moment of reading this novel and I'm definitely a Ruth Ware fan from here on out. The Lying Game easily earned itself a very strong 4 stars. **** (I've downgraded this review from a 5* to a very strong 4* read, because the 5* nagged at me. I reserve that for the absolutely breath-taking works of writing, and this was not quite that, though it was exceptionally well done!) **I received an advance-read copy of this book from the publisher, Gallery/Scout Press, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.** FOLLOW ME AT: The Navi Review Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  4. 3 out of 5

    Paromjit

    This is an atmospheric and eerie psychological thriller from Ruth Ware. Take four teenage schoolfriends who set up a group that vies to create the most outlandish lies that they can get others to believe, and what you have is a recipe for potentially horrifying outcomes. This is exactly what the author does, creating two time lines when something terrible happens that results in the four girls being expelled from their school, although this does not stop them from lying. Their one proviso is tha This is an atmospheric and eerie psychological thriller from Ruth Ware. Take four teenage schoolfriends who set up a group that vies to create the most outlandish lies that they can get others to believe, and what you have is a recipe for potentially horrifying outcomes. This is exactly what the author does, creating two time lines when something terrible happens that results in the four girls being expelled from their school, although this does not stop them from lying. Their one proviso is that they must tell the truth to one another, however, when you specialise in lying, that may be a bit of a tall order. In the present, the four friends have not seen each other in years. Isa is now a 32 year old lawyer, with a partner, Owen, and baby daughter, Freya, she is a woman with everything to lose. She gets a text from Kate saying that she needs her. The narrative is delivered from Isa's perspective, filling us in on their past and what is now happening in the present. Isa rushes to Kate, and they are joined by Thea and Fatima, they are tense and disturbed at the possibility that the secret that they have kept for seventeen years is about to emerge. We are slowly taken back to their schooldays at Salten, a boarding school. We see their relationships build, and how their group was set up. Their Lying Game, which seemed so much fun at the time, creates divisions and isolates others, and the locals are none too happy either. Then the awful event occurs and they lie their way through that. Are their secrets from the past now set to emerge? This is a beautifully written novel with both suspense and twists. However, whilst we do get a clear idea of the characters of Kate and Isa, we are left more in the dark about Thea and Fatima, which is a shame. A great read that focuses on the issues of love, deception, trust and relationships. However, whilst I derived enjoyment from reading it, it did have too many strong echoes of her book, In a Dark Dark Wood. I hope the author does not keep repeating the same motifs in her future books and finds new territory to explore. Many thanks to Random House Vintage for an ARC.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carol (Bookaria)

    A story of female friendship, lies and deceit. This one had my heart pumping till the very end and I'm glad to see Ruth Ware delivering again. The book tells the story of four friends who met in a boarding school when they were teenagers. They played "the lying game" until something happened and they were withdrawn from the school. Seventeen years later the last lie they told has come to haunt them.  The novel takes place in London and also in an English coastal town. The story is narrated by Isa W A story of female friendship, lies and deceit. This one had my heart pumping till the very end and I'm glad to see Ruth Ware delivering again. The book tells the story of four friends who met in a boarding school when they were teenagers. They played "the lying game" until something happened and they were withdrawn from the school. Seventeen years later the last lie they told has come to haunt them.  The novel takes place in London and also in an English coastal town. The story is narrated by Isa Wilde, one of the four friends and alternates between the present and the past. (image source) I felt the tone was very gothic because of the descriptions and actions at the end. Also, the book is more character than plot-driven and is engaging, riveting, and chilling. Overall, I loved this book ❤  and recommend it to all. Review posted on blog. FINAL NOTE: whenever I pictured the English boarding school then Hogwarts came to mind. Don't ask me why, it just did.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kaceey - Traveling Sister

    It’s The game. It’s the lying game. Rule one: Tell a lie Four young girls all sent by their parents to a boarding school for various issues. They quickly form strong bonds, becoming inseparable. Their favorite form of amusement? The lying game. Rule two: Stick to your story How far can you take a lie? Everyone has to stay on the same page – or it will all unravel! Rule three: Don’t get caught Years later they’re all brought back to the small town near the boarding school, where their biggest lie is a It’s The game. It’s the lying game. Rule one: Tell a lie Four young girls all sent by their parents to a boarding school for various issues. They quickly form strong bonds, becoming inseparable. Their favorite form of amusement? The lying game. Rule two: Stick to your story How far can you take a lie? Everyone has to stay on the same page – or it will all unravel! Rule three: Don’t get caught Years later they’re all brought back to the small town near the boarding school, where their biggest lie is about to be exposed to all. And they aren’t young girls anymore. There is so much more on the line now. Rule four: Never lie to each other Can the four women really trust each other? Who has the most to lose? Is everything they’ve believed to be the truth since boarding school be a lie? Rule five: Know when to stop lying Now with families and careers in jeopardy, it’s time to re-evaluate the game. The premise of this book sounded fantastic. With all the blatant ‘lying’ going on, I was hopeful for something unexpected. Unfortunately this one just fell flat for me. I had difficulty connecting with the characters and actually found a few of them downright annoying! Just too slow without any real surprises or reward along the way. There are a lot of mixed reviews for this one, so if it’s on your list give it a try! It might work for you! (I hope it does!!). The best part for me - my reading experience with my Traveling Sisters Brenda and Susanne! (And that’s no lie!!)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Norma * Traveling Sister

    Traveling Sisters Review by NORMA and LINDSAY!! 4.5 stars! Lindsay and I have both read all of Ruth Ware’s previous novels and agree that this was definitely our favourite one thus far! The book was divided into sections from the 5 rules of The Lying Game that the four friends participated in: TELL A LIE, STICK TO YOUR STORY, DON'T GET CAUGHT, NEVER LIE TO EACH OTHER, and KNOW WHEN TO STOP LYING.  As the novel progresses through these five rules you do get a sense of how the game is played. THE LYIN Traveling Sisters Review by NORMA and LINDSAY!! 4.5 stars! Lindsay and I have both read all of Ruth Ware’s previous novels and agree that this was definitely our favourite one thus far! The book was divided into sections from the 5 rules of The Lying Game that the four friends participated in: TELL A LIE, STICK TO YOUR STORY, DON'T GET CAUGHT, NEVER LIE TO EACH OTHER, and KNOW WHEN TO STOP LYING.  As the novel progresses through these five rules you do get a sense of how the game is played. THE LYING GAME by RUTH WARE is an engrossing, intriguing, steady-paced, and a suspenseful psychological thriller that grabbed our attention right from the very first page and had us reading and guessing right to the very end trying to figure out the secrets lying within the storyline. RUTH WARE delivers an atmospheric and vivid read here that is written in such a way that completely drew us right into the descriptions of the old, run-down Mill and the dark, creepy, and deserted Reach.  With the strong sense of atmosphere we felt like we were experiencing it right along with all the characters in this book.  The mystery within this story is slowly revealed as it switches back and forth between the past and present and is told in Isa’s perspective which allowed us to be completely absorbed in the character’s lives until the very last page.   While Lindsay and I were reading and chatting about this one at one point we both picked up on and discussed how we both felt about the strong theme that was emanating within the story here.  We feel that a lot of mothers will especially connect with this novel as there is a strong theme of the mother/child bond and breastfeeding. The main character, Isa Wilde, who narrates this story has a six-month-old baby daughter named Freya who we both absolutely loved and felt that she definitely stole the show for us!  We were both in awe of how well RUTH WARE described in complete perfection the bond between a mother and her newborn child.  These were very touching aspects of the novel and pulled at our heartstrings! While Lindsay was reading this book, it brought back a lot of memories for her of those sleep-deprived nights and the fond feelings of being a new mother. She could really relate to Isa in so many ways as far as motherhood goes.   We both really enjoyed the setting in this one, the game, all the drama within, and the strong connection that we felt to Isa was one of the main reasons that we both loved this book so much!  Would recommend!     All of our Traveling Sister Reads Reviews can be found on our blog: http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The Lying Game by Ruth Ware is a 2017 Gallery Scout publication. This latest thriller, by Ruth Ware, is an all- consuming, riveting tale, full of mind games and edgy suspense. Isabel, Kate, Fatima, and Thea became fast friends while attending Salten boarding school, as teenagers. They began ‘the lying game’ to liven up their stay at the school, garnering them a terrible reputation on campus. But, ironically, their practice of lying came in handy, when they found themselves involved in a scandal The Lying Game by Ruth Ware is a 2017 Gallery Scout publication. This latest thriller, by Ruth Ware, is an all- consuming, riveting tale, full of mind games and edgy suspense. Isabel, Kate, Fatima, and Thea became fast friends while attending Salten boarding school, as teenagers. They began ‘the lying game’ to liven up their stay at the school, garnering them a terrible reputation on campus. But, ironically, their practice of lying came in handy, when they found themselves involved in a scandal that forced them out of the school. Now, as adults, the women have moved on with their lives the best way they can, but they all live in fear of the day they will be summoned back to Salten to answer for their crimes. That day has finally arrived. Isabel, Fatima and Thea all receive a text message from Kate- ‘I need you.’ This story is moody and atmospheric, with a heavy feeling of foreboding percolating in the background. Ware had me on edge right from the start and kept me there until I crossed the finish line. The consequences of lying are numerous, and we all know that lies cultivate more lies. It’s a vicious cycle. But, it’s especially brutal for Isabel, Kate, Thea, and Fatima, who have all lived with their lies, precariously balanced on a precipice, knowing their dark secret could be discovered at any moment. When it looks like their worst fears are about to be realized, it forces them to polish up their lying skills once again… only this time, it’s not a game. ‘When you define yourself by walls, who’s in, who’s out. The people on the other side of the wall become, not just them, but THEM. The outsiders. The opposition. The enemy.’ Isabel is the narrator of this story, and gives an accounting of the girl’s pasts, and the events of the present that brought them back together after all these years. “What am I coming to? I am as bad as Kate, haunted by ghosts of the past. But, I remember lying here, one night, long ago, and I have that feeling again, of the record skipping in its groove, tracing and retracing the same voices and tracks.” With her stable home life at stake, Isabel has a great deal to lose if the truth were ever exposed. But, all the characters are complex and flawed, nervous, and jumpy, and under an equal amount of pressure. But, with their reputations preceding them, it is impossible to completely trust any of them. “A wall, after all, isn’t just about keeping others out. It can also be for trapping people inside.’ I enjoyed the setting in this one, the guessing game, the dramas, confessions, and the surprising twists, all of which are important for any psychological thriller, but this book almost has a Gothic undertone, which of course, I found very appealing. The suspense is mostly derived from the foreshadowing of doom, and is much more psychological than thriller, if that makes sense. Ware’s style, after only two novels, won her the moniker of ‘the Agatha Christie of our time’, but, this one may seem like a kinder, gentler version of Ware, who seems to have altered her style of writing just a little bit with this one. This one is not quite as gritty as her previous novels have been, but I liked the more in -depth characterizations and the clever way she creates long lasting suspense that hangs in the air like a mist that refuses to burn off, becoming murkier and more intense as the story proceeds. But, never fear, there are still lots of surprises and twists that will catch you off guard. Overall, this is another very solid performance from Ware, and I enjoyed this one, especially appreciating the tone, which is very much the style of suspense I enjoy most. 4 stars

  9. 5 out of 5

    j e w e l s [Books Bejeweled]

    I'm now caught up on all of Ruth Ware's books! She is one of my favorite writers, yet I'm still waiting to give one of her books a five star rating. That's how talented she is as a writer, I'm willing to overlook her product output in favor of the gorgeous technical skill she possesses. The plot of THE LYING GAME is the weakest of Ware's three books. I was frequently bored and zoning out during the book, it really took me awhile to finish it and then, meh...not much more than a beautiful rewrite I'm now caught up on all of Ruth Ware's books! She is one of my favorite writers, yet I'm still waiting to give one of her books a five star rating. That's how talented she is as a writer, I'm willing to overlook her product output in favor of the gorgeous technical skill she possesses. The plot of THE LYING GAME is the weakest of Ware's three books. I was frequently bored and zoning out during the book, it really took me awhile to finish it and then, meh...not much more than a beautiful rewrite of Pretty Little Liars in a British accent. Ware is a master at creating atmosphere, mood and an overall foreboding tone to her mysteries. She may very well be the next Agatha Christie, but I hope she comes up with a compelling plot to go with her first rate writing ability soon!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay - Traveling Sister

    4.5 stars! This was my favourite Ruth Ware novel yet!! This suspenseful and secretive story had me hooked from the first page! I loved the characters, storyline and atmosphere. I had the pleasure of reading this one with Norma. It sparked a lot of great conversation along the way. I highly recommend! To find our full Traveling Sister Read Review, please visit Norma and Brenda's fabulous book blog at: https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....

  11. 4 out of 5

    Esil

    3.5 stars. The Lying Game was a mixed bag for me, but on balance I quite liked it. It's told from Isa's perspective. Isa is now in her early thirties with a young baby. She and two others get a text from high school friend Kate -- "I need you" -- and this sends Isa and her three friends into a tailspin back to the village where they went to boarding school when they were 15 years old. The less said the better because in large part the point of this story is how it unfolds. As a narrator, Isa is 3.5 stars. The Lying Game was a mixed bag for me, but on balance I quite liked it. It's told from Isa's perspective. Isa is now in her early thirties with a young baby. She and two others get a text from high school friend Kate -- "I need you" -- and this sends Isa and her three friends into a tailspin back to the village where they went to boarding school when they were 15 years old. The less said the better because in large part the point of this story is how it unfolds. As a narrator, Isa is slow to let the reader know about what happened at school when she was 15 that has left such an emotional scar, and then Isa comes to find out that she doesn't have all the pieces of the puzzle. There's something dark, breathless and melodramatic -- almost gothic -- about how Isa tells her story that pervades the whole book. I wavered between finding the tone immature and just going along with it. At the end of the day, what I liked was that for this kind of quasi thriller, the story seemed original. I didn't know where it was going, and it was relatively morally complex. I cringed at many of the decisions Isa and her friends made at 15 and that Isa makes in her early 30s, but I couldn't stop looking because she had me hooked and I wanted to see what happens next. You wouldn't want to read The Lying Game looking for characters to like or side with. But you might want to read it if you're looking for an entertaining read that doesn't follow what have become some of the usual storylines. But definitely don't read it if you're not into dark melodrama. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    3.25 Stars* (rounded down). Isa Wilde is a married mother of baby Freya, when she receives a text: “I Need You.” She knows exactly what it means. She hasn’t heard from Kate in over 15 years, yet she has been terrified this moment would come. She needs to go to Kate, but she can’t tell her husband Owen the truth. She must lie to him. And so it begins. Again. Thea and Fatima, old friends from school, also received the same text from Kate and all three go to her. Kate, Thea, Fatima and Isa become fa 3.25 Stars* (rounded down). Isa Wilde is a married mother of baby Freya, when she receives a text: “I Need You.” She knows exactly what it means. She hasn’t heard from Kate in over 15 years, yet she has been terrified this moment would come. She needs to go to Kate, but she can’t tell her husband Owen the truth. She must lie to him. And so it begins. Again. Thea and Fatima, old friends from school, also received the same text from Kate and all three go to her. Kate, Thea, Fatima and Isa become fast friends at Salten House. Every spare second outside of school was spent at Kate’s house in Salten, with Kate’s father Ambrose and her stepbrother Luc. They excluded everyone else from their clique. Kate, Thea, Fatima and Isa had a game that they liked to play. They called it “The Lying Game” - which they only played against older girls, powerful girls and teachers, of course. They were despised, thought to be liars. The rules of the game?: Rule 1: Tell a lie. Rule 2: Stick to your story Rule 3. Don't get caught. Rule 4. Never lie to each other. Rule 5. Know when to stop lying. After a while, somehow, things end up going awry. Ambrose, Kate’s father goes missing. And then the girls get separated, life goes on. Yet they never forgot each other and always knew that their past, their secrets and their lies bound them together. “The Lying Game” by Ruth Ware started out slow .. it burned like a fire that refused to go out, even though I wished I could stomp on it. This was a Traveling Sister Read with Brenda and Kaceey and all three of us had lots to say about this one. At first I enjoyed it more, but as the story went on and as I thought of it in terms of other stellar mysteries I’ve read as of late, it was obvious how flat this one fell in comparison. There was nothing about the novel that stood out, nothing that grabbed me unlike “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware, which I loved: (I still remember Lo Blacklock and her Maybelline Mascara!). I loved reading this novel with my Traveling Sisters: Brenda and Kaceey. Thanks for making this read so much fun sisters! Published on Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter and Instagram on 12.10.17.

  13. 3 out of 5

    .

    3.75 stars last year, i was in a mall target ambling its book section waiting for a screening of the conjuring 2 about fifteen minutes away. having seen and fallen for emilia clarke as lovely lou on screen the previous month, i had tore through three moyes titles in as many weeks, not knowing that was the beginning of my most intense reading marathon to date (i used to maybe read a book every 12-24 months). i saw ms. ware's debut, in a dark, dark wood with the cover stating reese witherspoon 3.75 stars last year, i was in a mall target ambling its book section waiting for a screening of the conjuring 2 about fifteen minutes away. having seen and fallen for emilia clarke as lovely lou on screen the previous month, i had tore through three moyes titles in as many weeks, not knowing that was the beginning of my most intense reading marathon to date (i used to maybe read a book every 12-24 months). i saw ms. ware's debut, in a dark, dark wood with the cover stating reese witherspoon was making its film. a few days later, i picked it up at my library, she being my first non moyes title to experience. since it was her debut and i was fresh into my ravenous reading debut, i decided i would follow her career from its genesis. between wood and her sophomore effort, the woman in cabin 10, i felt seven yrs into a marriage, recalling the phrase "for better and for worse," stressing the latter. i had put a ring on it, never mind my suffering through it. particularly with cabin 10, i felt the writing somewhat clumsy and characters flimsy. it may be late, but the lying game is our honeymoon. for me, this is by far the strongest of her three titles to date, and by stronger, i mean strong. i enjoyed the dynamic of four females entangled in the past, in pain, in particular with secrets and lies. our narrator, isa, is mother to five month old daughter, freya. for the most part, i really enjoyed that her role as a mother was her predominant attribute in her character. not only was the baby with her through all the tense ordeal, but she kept weighing options and consequences to any and all possible conclusions against how this would affect her daughter. at times, like any honest parent would tell you, the constancy of the baby's wailing and fussiness got old, but it wasn't terrible. for her seemingly being a good mother, she was less than ideal as a baby mama, long time companion to owen. the dynamic between the four women worked rather well for me. after a terrible ordeal almost twenty yrs ago in boarding school, they are still attached at the hip with as little as three words in a group text: i need you . though their backgrounds are somewhat limited, there is enough personality in each of them to create various emotive scenes. as the extrovert, thea could be a handful at times, but she cut through the crap when needed. fatima's sincerity in her amplified practice of her religion was questioned; is it to cover her soul or her ass? kate, her life, family and house in disrepair - is it who she knows? is it what she knows? all we know is that all the ladies can be good liars. the pacing of the story was like nag champa, the suppressed combustible tension of the story both past and present steadily unraveling in mysterious smoke. while it is much like nag champa, it's more satya sai baba than super hit, thus a bit short of four stars. about three quarters through i felt it start to putter out in places; at 368 pages, i could see perhaps a total of fifteen pages trimmed to, ironically, add fullness to the body of the tale. i'm just so happy in the third times the charm kind of way, i can forgive a few shortcomings. i may have one or two myself. not a psychological thriller, but a mostly satisfying suspenseful story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Oh Ruth Ware, I expected more from you. Last year was all about The Woman in Cabin 10, which blurbs compared to Gone Girl and I’m sorry, but NO. I digress….finding The Woman in Cabin 10 a decent enough read, I was looking forward to seeing what Ms. Ware had up her sleeve next. I didn’t need another blockbuster novel, and in fact, preferred the follow-up to be quieter, but perhaps more finely tuned. I acknowledge that writers must be under immense pressure when penning their first story after a Oh Ruth Ware, I expected more from you. Last year was all about The Woman in Cabin 10, which blurbs compared to Gone Girl and I’m sorry, but NO. I digress….finding The Woman in Cabin 10 a decent enough read, I was looking forward to seeing what Ms. Ware had up her sleeve next. I didn’t need another blockbuster novel, and in fact, preferred the follow-up to be quieter, but perhaps more finely tuned. I acknowledge that writers must be under immense pressure when penning their first story after a runaway hit. I get it. And The Lying Game sounded promising. After human remains are discovered, a group of women are summoned to their former stomping grounds by a mysterious message, hurriedly scribbled by the fourth member of their formerly tight quartet. A quartet that used to engage in The Lying Game, an innocent boarding school pastime that eventually leads to the group’s expulsion and sudden death of the school’s art teacher. Juicy, right??!! WRONG. With all the pieces in place: interesting premise, good writer, you might think: how could this book fail? But oh how it did. While Ruth Ware’s writing itself remains lovely, The Lying Game might be one of the dullest stories I’ve ever read. AND IT’S A MYSTERY. The primary issue is the book’s entirely too long. It’s bogged down with so much flowery prose and extraneous information that entire sections of the narrative read as pointless AT BEST. And with all that needless hoo-ha, “THE BIG SECRET” the women are keeping, and the narrative’s main drive, get lost. They disappear in endless soliloquies about Salten’s (the village) pastoral scenery (believe me, once you’ve read one such passage, you’ve read them ALL). And then follows the pages upon pages of school-day reminiscing, which yes this is partly a reunion story, but these women are allegedly in imminent danger. WHY AREN’T THEY SCARED? WHY AREN’T THEY PUTTING TOGETHER AN ACTION PLAN? Why aren’t they doing ANYTHING really other than getting drunk & acting ridiculously? DO THEY NOT KNOW THE RULES OF HORROR MOVIES??? How about postponing the girls’ weekend until AFTER you vanquish the psycho killer? The characters are similarly frustrating. The only person who’s at all developed is our protagonist, Isa. The remaining three women are one-dimensional tropes of the jock, cheerleader, bad girl variety. The women are reduced to personality TYPES rather than fully realized individuals. And in a story that’s supposedly character-driven, having few players to identify with or become interested in decreases overall reader investment. I'm not saying let's transform this novel into a James Patterson-esque thriller (please for the love of literature, don't). But a balance between actual mystery and pointless description needs to be struck (think: Tana French, Kate Atkinson, Denise Mina). The book reads more like a very tedious drama than a mystery and the characters are boring, which begs the questions WHY AM I READING THIS? Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 3 out of 5

    Nazanin

    3.75 Little-Liers Stars Isa, Kate, Fatima and Thea have met each other at a train station that its destination was Salten House (Somewhere like boarding school). They quickly became best friend. One day something bad happened and they had to make a decision, even though they knew it was a wrong decision. Now after seventeen years they reunited just because of one text: "I need you." Yes, the consequences of their decision are now being revealed. They think they know everything about that day but yo 3.75 Little-Liers Stars Isa, Kate, Fatima and Thea have met each other at a train station that its destination was Salten House (Somewhere like boarding school). They quickly became best friend. One day something bad happened and they had to make a decision, even though they knew it was a wrong decision. Now after seventeen years they reunited just because of one text: "I need you." Yes, the consequences of their decision are now being revealed. They think they know everything about that day but you know in these books nothing is that simple! My issue with this story was that it was really slow and just the last 40% of it was exciting. The mystery wasn’t that mysterious. Also, I didn’t like the way it ends (About Isa, not the whole story). But the writing was great and that was the thing that I liked about this story and made me enjoy it! the characters were good. The story is told from Isa’s POV, 1st person. It’s a standalone story. Overall, it was a good read for me and I had a good time with it, hope you enjoy it as well!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Justin Tate

    A slow-moving I Know What You Did Last Summer premise that does become twisty and intriguing around the halfway point. Unfortunately the characters are so disagreeable that the stakes never feel high. What? That horrible person is actually more horrible? Shocking! Will the stalker kill them all? I hope so! In the end it wasn't all bad, but I'm sure this is Ruth Ware's least impressive effort. Maybe try one of her other books instead?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    I really enjoyed this author's previous novel, The Woman in Cabin 10 and was really looking forward to this one. This book did not work for me and I even had a hard time finishing it. I know many have loved this one and I wish I could have liked it more. I couldn't feel any suspense building and the story just dragged on chapter after chapter. I didn't feel the connections between the four women characters and I found the plot to be predictable and without any thrills. I do think many people will I really enjoyed this author's previous novel, The Woman in Cabin 10 and was really looking forward to this one. This book did not work for me and I even had a hard time finishing it. I know many have loved this one and I wish I could have liked it more. I couldn't feel any suspense building and the story just dragged on chapter after chapter. I didn't feel the connections between the four women characters and I found the plot to be predictable and without any thrills. I do think many people will enjoy this book with the girlfriends and their secret past that comes back to haunt them, but I figured the mystery out early. Give it a try and see what you think. I do like this author and of course I am looking forward to her next novel.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bam

    At the Salten Reach in England, a dog unearths a human bone from the sand, a bone belonging to a body hidden there for nearly twenty years. In the aftermath, an urgent text goes out from one woman to her three friends, saying only: "I need you." And they come running. Kate, Thea, Fatima and Isa first met at Salten House, a boarding school for girls, when they were fifteen. Kate and Thea had created a 'lying game' with rules and points and all four girls played along: Rule 1: Tell a lie. Rule 2: St At the Salten Reach in England, a dog unearths a human bone from the sand, a bone belonging to a body hidden there for nearly twenty years. In the aftermath, an urgent text goes out from one woman to her three friends, saying only: "I need you." And they come running. Kate, Thea, Fatima and Isa first met at Salten House, a boarding school for girls, when they were fifteen. Kate and Thea had created a 'lying game' with rules and points and all four girls played along: Rule 1: Tell a lie. Rule 2: Stick to your story Rule 3. Don't get caught. Rule 4. Never lie to each other. Rule 5. Know when to stop lying. Of course, they earned the reputation as liars--in school and in the town. Who would believe anything they said? Kate's father, Ambrose Atagon, was a celebrated local artist who painted coastal landscapes and wildlife and taught art at the school. On weekends, he welcomed the girls to his home where they swam in the sea and were often the subjects of his drawings. His stepson Luc became inseparable with the girls. Then one night, Ambrose disappeared and embarrassing drawings of the girls reached the hands of the school administrators. To avoid a scandal, the girls and their families agreed for them to leave Salten behind. For seventeen years, they kept a secret between the four of them but now it looks like their lies and deception may be coming to light. A character-driven psychological thriller told from Isa's point of view, the story unfolds slowly, as Isa remembers the past and deals with problems in the present. The story picks up the pace in the final quarter as the women face the truth of what really happened so many years ago. Satisfying ending. So different from The Woman in Cabin 10! I think Ruth Ware's writing skill has grown beyond her previous work and here she has delivered a thriller with more depth. Looking forward to reading her next novel! I wish to express my gratitude to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read an arc of this book. Many thanks!

  19. 3 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    If you've read Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood, then you'll recognise that the essence of the plot here is exactly the same: a group of girls were once close friends, something horrible happened, they went their separate ways and are brought back together again 17 years later; the horrible thing resurfaces, the truth is uncovered. Once again, too, we're in an unusual location, here a dilapidated mill which is sinking under the encroachment of water. What this book lacks, though, that the first one d If you've read Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood, then you'll recognise that the essence of the plot here is exactly the same: a group of girls were once close friends, something horrible happened, they went their separate ways and are brought back together again 17 years later; the horrible thing resurfaces, the truth is uncovered. Once again, too, we're in an unusual location, here a dilapidated mill which is sinking under the encroachment of water. What this book lacks, though, that the first one did so well, is characters with individual voices and a sense of humour. With those qualities lacking, this turns into a generic melodrama that lacks credibility. This supposedly tight-knit group turn out to have known each other for less than a year (they're 15 when they meet, haven't turned 16 when the horrible thing happens and they're separated, and despite not having seen each other for 17 years, when one of them texts the others they instantly drop London jobs, family, life to meet up - heck, my friends can't even co-ordinate drinks in the pub without military-style planning! Add to that a boring narrator obsessed with how many times a day she has to breast-feed her screaming baby (surely important in real life, duller than dull to read about), characters who are thin stereotypes (the artistic one, the Muslim one, the anorexic one), a plot involving sinister locals and a desperate last-minute 'twist'. It's a shame as Ware writes more fluently than many commercial authors in this genre but it seems that here she's just re-writing her first success without the elements which made it work: 2.5 stars for a fast, commute read which I was glad to finish.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I think of all the lies I have repeated and repeated over the years, until they became so engrained they felt like the truth: I left because I wanted a change. I don’t know what happened to him; he just disappeared. I did nothing wrong. Can you imagine something you did as a teenager coming back to haunt you seventeen years later? You even stopped hanging out with your best friends, but all it takes is a text, I need you, to drag you back in. Four girls (Isa, Kate, Fatima, & Thea) became fri I think of all the lies I have repeated and repeated over the years, until they became so engrained they felt like the truth: I left because I wanted a change. I don’t know what happened to him; he just disappeared. I did nothing wrong. Can you imagine something you did as a teenager coming back to haunt you seventeen years later? You even stopped hanging out with your best friends, but all it takes is a text, I need you, to drag you back in. Four girls (Isa, Kate, Fatima, & Thea) became friends at Salten House, a coastal boarding school. The girls bond over The Lying Game, a game they made up with a point system where they tell all sorts of lies to fellow students and faculty. The only rules are: tell a lie, stick to your story, don't get caught, never lie to each other, and know when to stop lying. Some lies were harmless enough, while others had real consequences. The girls get expelled in their final year of school around the same time Kate's father, the art master, goes missing. That’s the trouble with having a “click” as Mary Wren might call it. When you define yourself by walls, who’s in, who’s out. The people on the other side of the wall become, not just them, but them. The outsiders. The opposition. The enemy. The story is told from Isa's perspective and switches back and forth in time between present day & the past. We're told how cliquey the girls were, but it feels like mere glimpses into the girls' friendship back then. I feel like I was only being told by other characters what it was like around the girls or to be victim of their game. There wasn't much showing. In present day, Isa has new baby Freya who takes up a lot of her thoughts. This doesn't prevent her from dropping everything to take Freya with her to Kate's the second she receives the text. Is a seventeen year lie going to coming back to haunt them? There is so much I was dying to know. What did the girls do 17 years ago? What happened to Ambrose, the art master? Why does Kate need the others now? I had no idea the part that Ambrose would play in our lives, and we in his, or how the ripples of our meeting would go on reverberating down the years. The Lying Game is more of a character-driven mystery than Ruth Ware's previous novels. It is oozing in characterization. The setting is brilliant for the story - atmospheric and tense. The steady decay and sinking of the Tide Mill felt metaphorical for the girls' friendship. The marshes the girls would cross to get to Kate's house I could feel myself walking through. While this is a slow-burn mystery, at times it feels much too slow. I would've liked more on the friendship when the girls were younger. I feel like there was a bit more potential in Thea..and Fatima for that matter. They felt underwritten. I even have certain things I'm still wondering regarding Thea and her secrets. The mystery started out compelling, but became clear at a certain point. It just wasn't quite as mysterious. I did like this one overall. Ruth Ware's writing is strong. It was nice to see something a bit different from her. I still prefer her first novel, In a Dark, Dark Wood. It's interesting how both explored an old friendship since left behind but felt like very different books. Not by any means a bad thing. I love that Ware has this ability.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dorie

    I enjoyed “In A Dark Dark Wood” and really thought “The Woman In Cabin 10” was great! I was a bit disappointed in “The Lying Game”. While the novel is well written I really didn’t feel that great “tense, exciting” feel of a thriller until perhaps the very last 30 pages. I also didn’t particularly care for the characters in this book. This was really more like a 3.5 for me. A simple text “I need you” is sent from Kate sent to her three best friends from boarding school, Isa, Fatima and Thea. Withi I enjoyed “In A Dark Dark Wood” and really thought “The Woman In Cabin 10” was great! I was a bit disappointed in “The Lying Game”. While the novel is well written I really didn’t feel that great “tense, exciting” feel of a thriller until perhaps the very last 30 pages. I also didn’t particularly care for the characters in this book. This was really more like a 3.5 for me. A simple text “I need you” is sent from Kate sent to her three best friends from boarding school, Isa, Fatima and Thea. Within 24 hours each of the three have left their jobs, husbands, kids and rushed to Kate’s side, quite a feat considering all of their involvements. The three young women had been close friends in boarding school, so much so that many of the other students steered clear of them. They were notorious for playing “The Lying Game”, quite simply a test of how each of them could come up with an outlandish lie and then convince as many people as they could that it was true. They usually bailed on the game if things looked like they would be discovered by those in charge. The number one rule of the game however is that they never lie to each other. During the next few hundred pages we follow what happens as the young women rejoin their friend Kate at her home in a coastal village with a great estuary called “The Reach”; the boarding school is located within walking distance of Kate’s home. Something has happened, something discovered on the beach, and now the four are fearful of being found out for a disastrous lie that they told to cover up an event that happened 17 years ago. The four young women are fairly well developed and we find out the most about Isa as she is the narrator of the story. There are other notable characters, in particular, Luc who is Kate’s half brother and a key player in their story. Why is he here when they all believed that he was still in France?? When he confronts Kate in the village he is barely recognizable as the young man that she spent so much time with in her youth, “Luc is not that boy anymore. He is a man, and an angry one. And I am one of the people he is angry with”. He is furious when he sees her and she has so many unanswered questions. What really has been taking place in the 17 years since they were together. I wish that I had gotten to know a bit more about Fatima and Thea as they sounded like interesting and unique charaters. Ambrose was the girls art teacher at school and is also Kate’s father. How, why and where did he disappear to when things started to come apart for him at the school? What really went on during all of the weekends that the girls spent at Kate’s house? Why were they all expelled from school mid semester? I checked my Kindle location and I know that I really started enjoying this book at around 70% through. The tension was ratcheted up, we all know that we are getting close to the answers to all of the questions scattered through the book. I think for me there was a lull in the middle of the book but it was worth continuing for the ending is very good and for me it was quite a shock. I really enjoy Ms. Ware’s writing and I will always look forward to her next book! I received an ARC of this book through the publisher and Edelweiss, thank you.

  22. 4 out of 5

    G.H. Eckel

    Four adult women, friends since school, gather again because one of them, Kate, has issued the call for help none of the others ever wanted to hear. "I need you." The four have a history of playing a game of lying that has it's own rules, which are basically about lying consistently and well. But what have they lied about in the past and what is this mysterious summoning that reunites them? That is the central mystery of The Lying Game that gets played out over 400 pages. The Good: The start of Four adult women, friends since school, gather again because one of them, Kate, has issued the call for help none of the others ever wanted to hear. "I need you." The four have a history of playing a game of lying that has it's own rules, which are basically about lying consistently and well. But what have they lied about in the past and what is this mysterious summoning that reunites them? That is the central mystery of The Lying Game that gets played out over 400 pages. The Good: The start of the book with the summoning is great. It's followed by the friends reuniting, ala the old friends reuniting in The Big Chill and Last Vegas. The characters are drawn as distinct from one another, the racier ones egging on the less racy. The game they've created about lying is a good conceit. And the twists and turns revealed at the end of the novel are clever. The Less Than Good: Ruth Ware is clearly a talented writer. The Woman in Cabin 10 (minus the first 70 pages) is a terrific novel. Her writing style and character portrayals are winners again in The Lying Game. What is less than scintillating is the plot in the middle of the book. We certainly expect four people coming together to reminisce and enjoy their reuniting. But so many of the middle chapters are one-idea chapters that don't often relate to the plot. It's as if the plot takes a backseat to the women playing subtle mind games or having conversations that don't really lead anywhere. There's one chapter about whether or not the narrator should smoke a cigarette. Another chapter about whether or not to skinny dip. Obviously, there's character interaction and growing pains but the chapters, to me at least, are kind of one-off ideas of the women just spending time together as if there wasn't an emergency that brought them together. Throughout the middle, the women are haunted by an unexplained past, which is Ware's attempt to keep some dramatic tension where there really is very little; there's more character study than plot. Toward the end of the novel, the plot picks back up and the secret is revealed as are some unexpected twists in the story. I enjoyed the beginning and end of the novel and not a lot in between. The publishing house spins this novel as a "slow burner." The novel is definitely a crock pot. For many, this will not be a problem. I'm too plot oriented to sit still when the plot is put on the back burner. That's just me. I look forward to Ware's next book, in which I hope she turns up the heat and gets the plot going in a roiling boil.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Trina (Between Chapters)

    My favorite thing about Ruth Ware's books is her ability to create tension and hold me on the edge of my seat. The Lying Game was no exception to this. She does suspense well and keeps me up far too late reading because I NEED to know the outcomes. I don't go to Ware's books for mindblowing mysteries because that's just not her strength, and again, The Lying Game was true to that. It's definitely the quietest and most straightforward of her mysteries. This book met my expectations and delivered w My favorite thing about Ruth Ware's books is her ability to create tension and hold me on the edge of my seat. The Lying Game was no exception to this. She does suspense well and keeps me up far too late reading because I NEED to know the outcomes. I don't go to Ware's books for mindblowing mysteries because that's just not her strength, and again, The Lying Game was true to that. It's definitely the quietest and most straightforward of her mysteries. This book met my expectations and delivered what I wanted, but it is still my least favorite of her books so far because the structure I had loved about Woman in Cabin 10 and In A Dark, Dark Wood was lacking in this. Instead of teasing where the story would go, this went the route of standard flashbacks. The plot itself was fairly predictable, or even if you don't see everything coming, it's at least unsurprising. Ware's writing is very atmospheric and she's captured 3 distinct settings that make you feel trapped in SO well in her books, but I was seeing too many similarities in her characters. To me, this book didn't set itself apart from the genre, and didn't improve upon Ware's previous novels. But like I said, I still really enjoyed that gripping reading experience and I will be waiting for her next novel.

  24. 3 out of 5

    Heather 'Bookables'

    I really wish I loved Ruth Ware books but sadly I don't. I will say this is my favorite of hers that I have read. I really resonated with the main character and loved the setting of the book but that's where my love stops. I want her characters to be fleshed out more and the mystery to be a little bit more compelling. I do enjoy Ware's writing alot, and will probably keep reading her books for that reason. Her writing draws you in, that is for sure. The main problem I have with her books is the o I really wish I loved Ruth Ware books but sadly I don't. I will say this is my favorite of hers that I have read. I really resonated with the main character and loved the setting of the book but that's where my love stops. I want her characters to be fleshed out more and the mystery to be a little bit more compelling. I do enjoy Ware's writing alot, and will probably keep reading her books for that reason. Her writing draws you in, that is for sure. The main problem I have with her books is the overall mystery and characters. Overall 3/5

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    This is one of those thrillers that is more like a flower unfolding than a tense whodunnit. In fact, I was pretty sure who did do it early on, but for me, that wasn't the point. It's the character studies above all that form the focus of the novel. Amongst them, Salten itself, that bleak place on the periphery where all things are possible. Interwoven here are the sun bright, happy memories of the past and the sinking dark of the present day. And so the stage is set for the big questions, not ju This is one of those thrillers that is more like a flower unfolding than a tense whodunnit. In fact, I was pretty sure who did do it early on, but for me, that wasn't the point. It's the character studies above all that form the focus of the novel. Amongst them, Salten itself, that bleak place on the periphery where all things are possible. Interwoven here are the sun bright, happy memories of the past and the sinking dark of the present day. And so the stage is set for the big questions, not just what really happened to Ambrose all those years ago, but who knows about it, and more importantly, how much you really owe to your school friends, especially if you no longer trust them.... Don't go into this one for twists, do it for the deft portrayal of human foibles: love, lies, greed, and loyalty. ARC via Netgalley

  26. 3 out of 5

    Margitte

    Soul. Depth. Integrity. This book has it all. Add to that an unbelievably believable story, relentless suspense, an experienced wordsmith, and we've got a brilliant book. Kate Atagon Fatima Chaudhry(née Qureshy) Thea West Isa Wilde Four fifteen year-old girls attended Salten boarding school for girls. They commit themselves to the Lying Game, scoring anything from a 5, 10, to fifteen for their efforts to deceive and play pranks on everybody. They become pro's in doing so and it will help them cover Soul. Depth. Integrity. This book has it all. Add to that an unbelievably believable story, relentless suspense, an experienced wordsmith, and we've got a brilliant book. Kate Atagon Fatima Chaudhry(née Qureshy) Thea West Isa Wilde Four fifteen year-old girls attended Salten boarding school for girls. They commit themselves to the Lying Game, scoring anything from a 5, 10, to fifteen for their efforts to deceive and play pranks on everybody. They become pro's in doing so and it will help them cover up a crime for seventeen years. They thought they got away with it. Until they receive a text message from Kate: "I need you". How much could they trust each other when their world was cracking at its foundations? Why didn’t I realise? Why didn’t I realise that a lie can outlast any truth, and that in this place people remember. It is not like London, where the past is written over again and again until nothing is left. Here, nothing is forgotten ... Reading this atmospheric thriller, I had heart palpitations so badly, that I had to escape from time to time, spending aimless long minutes on Facebook, reading boring posts, go outside with my Nikon, try to catch a glimmer of hope in the softly falling rain after three years of no rain; trying to start conversations with anyone about anything I could find, just to escape the anxiety of waiting for the denouement to come. The neverending suspense was a killer! When I finally got the nerve up again to go back to the story, I rolled myself up in a thick blanket in my room, while a cold snowy wind started freezing up the world outside. The bright sunlight after the rain was deceiving. There was no warmth to be found anywhere in my world apart from in the warm cozy blanket around me. My nose was freezing. I took up the iPad and said to my nervous self: "Right, let's do it!" One of the best thrillers this year. But there's more to it than that. It was a book about friendships, relationships, trust, redemption, forgiveness. And hope. Ruth Ware is a major discovery for me. RECOMMENDED!!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    Tense, absorbing and eerie! This is a well-crafted, character-driven thriller that takes us on a journey to solve a 17-year-old mystery while delving into the intricacies of a friendship built on lies and secrets and maintained by trust, loyalty, and fear. The characterization is well done with a cast of female characters that are unique, troubled, and self-involved. The prose is clear and direct.  The setting is a character in itself with its isolation, dereliction, and dreariness. And the plot u Tense, absorbing and eerie! This is a well-crafted, character-driven thriller that takes us on a journey to solve a 17-year-old mystery while delving into the intricacies of a friendship built on lies and secrets and maintained by trust, loyalty, and fear. The characterization is well done with a cast of female characters that are unique, troubled, and self-involved. The prose is clear and direct.  The setting is a character in itself with its isolation, dereliction, and dreariness. And the plot unravels subtly and has just the right amount of drama and a past/present style that reveals all the actions, motivations, personalities and relationships within it This is ultimately an intriguing, atmospheric novel with little action but enough twists and suspense to be unputdownable. Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. All my reviews can be found on my blog at http://whatsbetterthanbooks.com

  28. 3 out of 5

    Malia

    “A lie. I'd almost forgotten how they feel on my tongue, slick and sickening.” ― Ruth Ware, The Lying Game 3.5 stars I am quite torn between giving this three or four stars (Goodreads- when are you going to give us our half stars?!) The first half of book was a real slog for me and I contemplated just abandoning it altogether. But suddenly it picked up pace and became interesting. The story is told from Isa's point of view, as she is called on by an old group of friends, with whom she has had no c “A lie. I'd almost forgotten how they feel on my tongue, slick and sickening.” ― Ruth Ware, The Lying Game 3.5 stars I am quite torn between giving this three or four stars (Goodreads- when are you going to give us our half stars?!) The first half of book was a real slog for me and I contemplated just abandoning it altogether. But suddenly it picked up pace and became interesting. The story is told from Isa's point of view, as she is called on by an old group of friends, with whom she has had no contact for fifteen years. She returns to the town where she went to school as an adolescent and met three other girls - Fatima, Thea and Kate. It is quickly clear that they share some big secret, and though I was intrigued by this, the slow pace and the characters, with whom I struggled to connect, made me almost give up on it. The title comes form a game the group played as teens, and it is evident that it has stretched into their adult lives as well. They are all keeping secrets and something that happened in their past is forcing them all to be liars still. While the ending and last third of the book picked up pace and grabbed my attention, I was not wholly surprised by the resolution. This sounds as if I have only bad things to say about the book, but it was just so hyped up that I was expecting something magnificent. It was not a bad book, and Ruth Ware is a good writer, I was simply a little disappointed. Also, I should mention, I listened to the audiobook and this may have made me dislike Isa more than was warranted, because the narrator has a very nasal, whiny voice and reads everything with an air of great gloom. This served to build an atmosphere, but after a while, it became irritating, because I felt nothing much was happening and the heightened sense of dread was unwarranted. Anyway... not my favorite by this author, though ultimately not a book I regret having read either. Still, if you are looking into her books, I would recommend the other two over this one. Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com

  29. 3 out of 5

    Dennis

    2.5 stars I was so excited to pick up Ruth Ware's The Lying Game , as The Woman in Cabin 10 was one of my favorite reads of this year. Let me tell you right now, if you're expecting The Lying Game to be another iteration of the same story, you will be un/pleasantly surprised. I say it that way because, this story is told in a very different tone and manner than Ware's last two works so you might be caught off guard. The Lying Game starts off with Isa Wilde and her family, where she receives 2.5 stars I was so excited to pick up Ruth Ware's The Lying Game , as The Woman in Cabin 10 was one of my favorite reads of this year. Let me tell you right now, if you're expecting The Lying Game to be another iteration of the same story, you will be un/pleasantly surprised. I say it that way because, this story is told in a very different tone and manner than Ware's last two works so you might be caught off guard. The Lying Game starts off with Isa Wilde and her family, where she receives a text from her friend Kate - "I need you." - Immediately, Isa packs up and heads back to Salten, a boarding school set by the English Channel, where Kate resides by. June meets up with Kate and her other high school best friends Fatima and Thea to uncover mysteries surrounding their time at Salten, and reveal the truths about the effects of their dangerous game that they played; the lying game. As the story unfolds, the reader learns a lot about each character without it going too deep into non-relevant characterizations. The best part about this book is the feeling of girl power that I got while reading. I think it'll serve a nice purpose in that aspect. The Lying Game is more of a teen drama than a thriller or mystery to me and it was too much of a slow burn for me to actually enjoy that much. It's not to say that you won't enjoy it, because I can tend to be stuck in my own mindset of what I enjoy with books. Ruth Ware's writing is one of the many reasons why she can slap me in the face, and I'd keep coming back for more. I will be back for the next Ruth Ware novel!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    The Lying Game is the third Ruth Ware novel I've read and I have to say I liked it the most. It was great but it was an improvement over the previous books. I know everyone else just loves Ruth Ware novels but I just think there okay. If you read The Woman in Cabin 10 or In a Dark, Dark Wood than you'll probably like this one.

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