When a secret society has you in their sights, it can lead to power, privilege… or death.
It’s been two weeks since Polly St. James went missing. The police, the headmistress of Torrey-Wells Academy, and even her parents have ruled her a runaway. But not Maren, her best friend and roommate. She knows Polly had a secret that she was about to share with Maren before she disappeared― something to do with the elite, ultra-rich crowd at Torrey-Wells.
Then Maren finds an envelope hidden among Polly’s things: an invitation to the Gamemaster’s Society. Do not tell anyone, it says. Maren is certain her classmates in the Society know the truth about what happened to Polly, though it’s no easy feat to join. Once Maren’s made it through the treacherous initiation, she discovers a world she never knew existed within her school, where Society members compete in high-stakes games for unheard-of rewards―Ivy League connections, privileges, favors.
But Maren’s been drawn into a different game: for every win, she’ll receive a clue about Polly. And as Maren keeps winning, she begins to see just how powerful the Society’s game is―bigger and deadlier than she ever imagined. They see, they know, they control. And they kill.
Maren’s roommate went missing two weeks ago and has been declared a runaway by the powers that be. But Maren doesn’t believe it. Sure Polly had been acting a little strangely, but Maren believes there’s more to her disappearance. After she finds an invitation to the Gamemaster’s Society among Polly’s things, Maren forms a plan to infiltrate the group and discover the truth about what happened to her friend.
The missing person angle and high-stakes games grabbed my attention, and I’ve enjoyed several other dark academia novels. It didn’t take long for the story to take off, and I liked that. It’s a pretty quick read that moves along briskly for the most part. To uncover the fate of her friend and play the games, Maren has to become a person she doesn’t like, but she has no other choice if she wants to receive clues about Polly. Her friendships with two other society members, Remington and Gavin, quickly turn into a weird kind of love triangle. Neither characters seem trustworthy, and she flip flops several times on who she can turn to. The identity of the Gamemaster also kept me guessing. It’s one of the people I suspected, but the author does a pretty good job of keeping it hidden.
The games, their consequences, and some of the acts these students perform are extreme at times, especially for high school students. Suspension of disbelief is a requirement for much of the story. If you can set that aside, it’s a twisty, enjoyable thriller I finished in a couple of sittings.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.