Talk-o-Babble, Episode 3:
Game by Barry Lyga
Here we are already on the third Tuesday of the Talk-o-Babble blog. In episode 1, we left off with the first book in the popular series: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. Yesterday, I just finished reading the second book in the series: Game. It caught my attention in the same way the first book did, but it definitely hit a little differently.
So let’s talk about it!
To give a quick summary:
Our story continues with the notorious serial killer’s son, Jasper “Jazz” Dent. He’s still struggling to show that he’s not a serial killer by nature or nurture, and now he has a real chance to prove it. In New York City, there have been a series of gruesome murders, and they’re only getting worse. It’s Jazz’s chance to show that he’s not his father’s son by assisting with the investigation and bringing the murderer to justice.
Let’s talk PLOT—5/5
The plot of this book is even more engaging than the first book. Lyga has managed to create a mystery twice as intriguing as the first. There are murders happening throughout the city and we get little clues here and there as to why and how they’re happening, but they don’t make sense until the very end. And that keeps you right on the edge of your seat. This murderer plays by different rules than the one in the first book, and that in itself creates new twists and turns to keep up with.
Let’s talk CHARACTERS—4/5
Jazz gets a lot more developed in this book. We see a warped, more complex side to him while experiencing the surface-level teenager as well. That complication makes his character a little more relatable than he was in the first book. Not to say that he wasn’t likable, it’s just hard to put yourself into the shoes of a serial killer’s son. Now, we can slip into the shoes of him just being a teenager, and that leads to a deeper bonding with his character.
A lot of new characters get introduced in this book, but the mainstays like Connie and Howie, remain. We get a more comprehensive look into their personalities and how they tick. Connie’s development is especially crucial for this book, and also creates a lot of intrigues within Lobo’s Nod. As does Howie. However, what Lyga explores in Howie is a bit controversial and adds a level of darkness to the story I didn’t expect.
Let’s talk WRITING STYLE—4/5
Much like in the first novel, Lyga’s writing style is fast-paced and engaging but doesn’t lack in the detail. He’s able to keep you reading and does so by revealing little bits of excitement at the end of each chapter. It holds you to the book with an iron grip and keeps you wanting to know more!
Let’s talk ATMOSPHERE—5/5
The atmosphere in these books is always beautifully crafted. With the story being set in New York City instead of Lobo’s Nod, the two settings have an interesting contrast. One is bustling with life, while the other is almost empty. But Lyga writes both places to be dreary, dark worlds. Lyga does this by focusing on the detail of the weather—the rain and snow—and by describing the grimy scenes (especially in New York!).
As far as sequels go, Game by Barry Lyga hit the nail on the head in terms of plot and character development. The murders and how they unfold are expertly done. And the more emotional look into Jazz’s head made me care about him and his well-being even more. Like the first one, it’s a fast-paced and gripping read, but the mystery of who the killer is will have you facepalming in defeat. It’s obvious but not obvious, which is the perfect way to trip us up.
Once again, this series is not for the faint of heart and will go into graphic detail about uncomfortable topics, but that’s part of what makes it such a compelling crime novel.