I jumped on the Ruth Ware bandwagon about 13 pages into her thriller In a Dark, Dark Wood. I knew I was hooked, and I refused to pretend I wasn’t. I gifted that book to more than one person and recommended it to everyone I knew. When I found out it was being made into a movie I was thrilled.
Ware’s second book, The Woman in Cabin 10, wasn’t as enjoyable as Dark Wood, but it was still a well written and interesting story. I found it a little less plausible and a little more far-fetched (which anyone who reads my reviews will know I don’t like). But regardless, I remained a steadfast Ruth Ware fan.
The Lying Game falls somewhere in between Ware’s two previous books. It’s definitely not as good as In a Dark, Dark Wood, but it’s better than Cabin 10. Ware’s mastery of foreshadowing and surprise turns is evident in The Lying Game, and her skill at developing characters shines through clearly.
The book is about a group of four high school friends who, almost two decades later, are reunited on the premise of attending their former boarding school’s reunion night. The truth is they have actually come back to town for a different, and much more sinister, reason.
The Lying Game burns slowly. It takes a while for the story to really get underway, but it never feels stagnant or boring. The real triumphs of this book are the characters. Like the characters from so many other mysteries, they are flawed and have secrets, and they aren’t always likeable. But what makes The Lying Game work is the relationship the characters have with one another. The four main friends in the story are a refreshing depiction of female friends. They truly care about each other and they are willing to drop everything to help one another.
I think The Lying Game will please fans of In a Dark, Dark Wood. It plays on the same themes of friends reuniting and old decisions coming back to haunt people. But where Dark Wood was fast-paced and made you sit on the edge of your seat, The Lying Game is slower and takes longer to develop. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it just makes the book a bit more of a commitment to get through.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has read and enjoyed Ware’s other books (obviously). And I would say it’s a great book for people who liked Big Little Lies, because it plays on the challenges of friendships and relationships and motherhood. It explores the process of aging and the hardships of high school, and it is set in a beautiful English landscape that makes the final scene even more ominous.