Book Reviews

Review: The Dying Game by Åsa Avdic

I was initially intrigued by the premise of this near future “And Then There Were None” sounding book, but while the idea is great, it lacked follow through.


Seven seemingly random people have come together on the island of Isola in the year 2037 as candidates for a super-secret government agency position. Unsure of why any of the rest are there, and forbidden to ask, their only real objective is to get through it. One of the candidates, Anna, is not actually in the run for the position at all – she is going to be an observer, to report on the real candidates. Even further, Anna is supposed to stage her own murder and then witness how the rest of the competitors deal with the stress in this situation. But soon the power goes out, communication towers die, and unexplained events keep occurring. Soon Anna realizes that everything on this island is not what it seems, and the question becomes, will she make it off this island?


There were many writing touches that Avdic employs, to make the reading interesting. The world has an interesting premise, which is ‘documented’ by a text that establishes the setting of Sweden. This gives the reader a distinct flair for the world building and was incredibly promising. Additionally, I enjoyed Avdic’s choice of metaphors while reading, they were both descriptive and full of imagery.

The Plot

But I had two major problems: the plot and the characters. The plot, while interesting, had some pacing issues. I felt like it switched between slow and fast and the main ‘climax’ had a strange feeling to it – like it came up too fast, because the whole ending wasn’t really prepared for. I enjoyed the suspense and cleverness of the plot, but lacked time to appreciate it, or dwell on it.

My biggest concern with the characters was that they were vague. Don’t get me wrong, Anna and Henry, our main narrative perspectives, have a backstory, but it seems barely sketched out. The rest of the side characters are mere ghosts and serve absolutely no purpose but to advance the plot.


I just wanted more from this book – in terms of more details about the future world, about our characters, and tension in the plot. All in all, these elements were just missing something, and together combine to give us a somewhat entertaining read, but one that doesn’t satisfy for long. If you’re in the mood for a plot that will bring you back to something similar to “And Then Where Were None” then this is definitely worth a try.

You can pick it up, it comes out August 1st, at Amazon(US), your local indie bookstore, or add it to Goodreads.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.


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4 thoughts on “Review: The Dying Game by Åsa Avdic

  1. If you’re looking for a really good series of thrillers then look no further than Tana French’s crime novels. They’re set in and around Dublin, Ireland and are full of twists, excellent dialogue and make the reader question each and every characters’ actions. I’m probably biased though as I lived in Dublin for years before moving further down the coast and know the areas, the vernacular etc.!

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