Thursday, May 2, 2013

REVIEW: Game by Barry Lyga

Game (Jasper Dent #2) Game by Barry Lyga
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

CAUTION: major spoilers

I really thought book 2, Game, would surpass its predecessor, but alas my feelings were virtually the same. In other words, for both book 1 and 2, I was entertained but I was not particularly wowed.

In book 2, too many little things tugged my suspension of my disbelief. Also, the ending disappointed me, and it was not because all the plot lines ended on a cliffhanger, although that sucked too.

The Characters

+ Jasper, the protagonist

Book 2 constantly told the reader how much of a genius Jasper was. The telling was tactless and amateurish. The story needed to let the subtext speak for itself. I also found it a little hard to believe that Jasper could have so much knowledge about forensic science. Despite all the tellings, the book didn’t do a very good job of building his character as a genius.

To elaborate, Jasper’s forte lay in profiling and psychology, specifically “prospecting” and manipulating people so he can do his serial killer shit on them and successfully get away with it... if he wanted to. It was what his father taught him. In book 2, Jasper spouted off things that included bloodstain pattern analysis and crime scene reconstruction, things that I don’t ever recall his father teaching Jasper or Jasper teaching himself. Somehow, I was expected to believe that he would obviously know those things because the book said Jasper was a genius, i.e. “Jasper is a genius because I said so.”

+ Howie, the best friend

Jasper’s sidekicks were worse. They amused me in the beginning but at the end they turned into a three-car pileup wreck. Jasper’s hemophiliac best (and only) friend, Howie, appeared only a few times, which saddened me because I liked the dude... so much that I wanted to ship him and Jasper because my friends’ fangirlism infected me. Anyway, every time Howie appeared he was portrayed as a one-track mind pervert. I get that he served as the comic relief (I do love dick jokes), but there was no substance to his character. It was like the book said “he’s not really important in book 2 so let’s not do character development.”

Also, Howie always appeared conveniently. I find it very hard to believe his parents would let him out their sight after what happened in book 1 because he almost died and his parents were the definition of overprotectiveness. In book 2, Howie was there to help babysit Jasper’s grandma while Jasper was out of town and to chauffeur Connie on her ill advised quest to help Jasper. Where the hell was the parental supervision?!

+ Connie, the girlfriend

Connie, I had to say, took the trophy for the most astounding character in book 2, which is not a compliment. The good news was that she was believable as a teenage girl. She obsessed over Jasper like any teenage girl would with her boyfriend, especially a boyfriend who is the ultimate bad boy. What can be more badass than the son of the worst serial killer in history? Nevertheless, her obsession perturbed me. A gut instinct told me that if Jasper were to snap and go serial killer, Connie would totally acquiesce to play as accomplice. Forget Jasper and his “I must not become a serial killer” mental shit, Connie was the real headcase.

Here’s the bad news: Connie willfully involved herself with the serial killers, plural. Not only was Connie wack, she was TSTL. Initially, I cut her some slack because I related to her feelings of being left out and wanting to help. However, that was because I thought she would eventually come to her senses. Color me foolish but the damn girl never did and in fact walked directly and willfully into a trap. Because, hey, being kidnapped and held hostage is so passe, let’s make it easier on the bad guys and step into their trap because it’s cool. *facedesk*

The Plot

The plot was engaging. It always maintained a minimum level of suspense. However, the ending was disappointing... as a three-cars pileup wreck can be, one car for each character.

Major Spoilers Ahoy.

The same thing happened last time in book 1. Once again Jasper found himself in a weak and helpless situation and needed to be rescued. For someone who the book spent an entirety building the character as a BAMF, Jasper once again donned the Dude in Distress role. The dude tattooed “I Hunt Killers” on his chest, but he should have tattooed “Killers Hunt Me” instead. It’s more appropriate.

Also, Howie may or may not have killed Jasper’s grandma in the process of taking down an alleged — ALLEGED — serial killer/serial killer accomplice. Seriously! Where the hell is the parental supervision?!! It’s not Jasper who needs CPS because his grandma is demented and thus incompetent as a guardian, it’s Howie.

Connie walked directly, knowingly, and willingly — WILLINGLY — into Jasper’s father’s hands. The girl walked into the worst serial killer of history’s hands.The stupid was strong in the girl.

*facewall* When facedesk is just not enough.

In Conclusion

I rate Game 3-stars for liked it. Surprised? Despite the issues and the facewall-inducing ending, the book entertained me, which compensated a lot. It was the equivalent of watching a great episode of a TV crime series.

Goodreads | Amazon

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