To capture the love of Jenny Thorton, Julian--a visitor from a dark world--draws Jenny and her friends into forbidden games; the contest for a human soul. The prize is Jenny's freedom. The stakes are all of their lives. Jenny's friends are determined to help her win. But Julian is the master of the Game. Jenny's most desperate fight will be with him, this eerily handsome boy with electric blue eyes. He knows her deepest secrets, her darkest fears. He has almost infinite power. And the only thing he wants is for Jenny to surrender to him--body and soul.
'The Forbidden Game' by L.J. Smith is actually 3 books in 1. This volume contains The Hunter, The Chase and The Kill. This is another re-release as the trilogy was originally published in 1994 but it's now been repackaged by Simon Pulse and brought out for a new audience. I think it's great that the popularity of the paranormal/supernatural genre has breathed new life into a lot of authors who you could say were ahead of their time. I've certainly been interested in checking many of these authors out that I missed the first time around. Now, I've mentioned before what a huge fan I am of L.J. Smith's series, The Vampire Diaries. I am a massive fan of both the books and the TV series, so I've recently been trying out some of her other stories.
I think my main problem is though that I enjoy the paranormal but I'm not such a big fan of those books which have quite a heavy horror slant. And frankly, I found bits of 'The Forbidden Game' a bit too creepy for me! Which is not to say that others wouldn't love it. It's just not for me. I prefer the horror to be slightly more subtle and not so in-your-face. I don't want to hear every single little detail so I did find that I was skipping over pages at times.
The trilogy started promisingly enough and I think that 'The Hunter' (book 1) actually did make quite a strong start. It was certainly my favourite. The story unravelled at a break-neck pace, it was suspenseful and exciting and I liked the idea of Jenny and her friends becoming embroiled in a game which they had to win to save their lives. Each of the characters was interesting and unique and I thought the idea of them having to overcome their own personal nightmares made great reading. Unfortunately, by book 2, 'The Chase, I started to lose interest. I found that it all became a bit too strung-out, the story got repetitive and I really just wanted to get to the end to see how it was all going to be concluded.
At over 700 pages long it was a challenge to finish a book that I knew I wasn't going to end up loving but even though I had problems with it, I'm glad I stuck with it until the end. I liked the way L.J. Smith wrapped it up and I would have been disappointed if I hadn't of ever found out if Jenny and her friends survived or not.
I think that this would probably appeal to readers who like a healthy dose of horror and are looking for something a bit different than your normal vampire story.