Review: Game of Secrets
I received this ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Felicity Cole sells flowers in the streets of Victorian London to feed herself and her young brother. But she has a close-guarded secret--her brother is a Tainted, born with special abilities that society fears and a shadowy organization called the Hunstsman scours the country to eliminate. When Felicity becomes the target of one of these individuals, she discovers something horrible: she's Tainted, too. Rescued by a mysterious gentleman on the eve of execution, she's whisked away to a school funded by Queen Victoria, established to train selected Tainted into assassins in service of the crown. Struggling to harness her incredible strength, speed, and agility, and despised by her classmates, all she wants is to use her new position to find a cure so she can be normal and reunited with her brother. But with the Golden Jubilee fast approaching and the discovery that there's a traitor in their midst, she has no choice but to embrace the one thing she's been fighting all along.
My rating: 3 stars
I hate to say this but I did not enjoy this book and that makes me a little sad because I was excited about the book. When I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read it and I requested it. Game of Secrets started out very promising. Felicity Cole is an orphan living in Whitechapel with her younger brother, Nate. She sells flowers to try to make ends meet. She's trying her best to protect her Tainted brother. Things escalate when a wealthy man and his servant come into the slums, taking pictures. Felicity's boyfriend/best friend, Kit, gets irritated and ends up getting shot dead. This the point where Felicity realizes that she's a Tainted too. She injures one man and kills another so she's carted off to prison where she is awaiting execution. Before that can happen, a mysterious man comes to offer her a way out which she reluctantly takes. She's taken to a school where other Tainted like her are taught to be spies and assassins.
That's where the book stopped being interesting to me. I tried to like this story but once Felicity gets to the academy, the story seems to fall apart. It's missing that depth and storytelling that draws a reader in. I did not connect with Felicity or really any of the other characters. Felicity was too annoying with her constant wishes to go back to her old life where she was barely surviving and guilt because she is interested in the handsome guy, Julian just a short time after losing Kit. She annoyed me to no end with how she kept doing the same thing over and over again. She kept putting herself in danger and the same thing kept happening with the Huntsman coming for her but that never stopped her from going off on her own. She never saved herself. At one point, she should have saved her self after getting herself and others in a sticky and deadly situation. It took her too long to get it and that annoyed me to no end. I felt like the minor characters and Julian were not developed enough for me to see them as whole or to form an attachment to and I didn't.
The plot was flat as well. The premise is spectacular. I love a good Victorian era story that has a twist but this one just did not take it where it needed to go to be good. There were too many unanswered questions by the end. I never found out why Warwick and the Huntsman wanted Felicity so badly. They tried to take her like five times and never was it explained fully why they need her. What is it about her blood that they need? Where is Warwick? Is Kit the Christopher Marlowe or was he never real? What does Felicity's father have to do with all of this? These were some of the questions left hanging at the end of the story. If there is going to be a sequel, then I hope these questions are answered and resolved in that one but if there is not a sequel, then that is another missed opportunity by the author.
Even though this was not one of my favorite reads so far this year, I did like some of the twists that I did not see coming. There were some surprises and I feel like the storyline has so much potential that I hope the author can tap into if she writes a sequel.