Title: The Forbidden Game Trilogy
Author: L. J. Smith
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: June 2010
Paperback: 768 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Young Adult
Source: Own Copy
Guest Review by Jo

RATING: 9/10 – Excellent, this will remain on my bookshelf forever
To lose the game is to lose your life in bestselling author L.J. Smith’s THE FORBIDDEN GAME.

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




Oringinally published seperately, this omnibus of The Forbidden Game trilogy includes ‘The Hunter‘, ‘The Chase‘ and ‘The Kill‘.
I love L.J. Smith! Most famous for her Vampire Diaries series, I am so glad this fantastic story, and my personal favourite of hers has been re-released.
The stories revolve around Jenny, who at the start doesn’t have a care in the world. Popular, pretty, with a gorgeous boyfriend, Tom and a great group of friends she is content with her life.
The Hunter


In the first story, Jenny is searching for the perfect entertainment for her party. She has invited her group of friends over for the night and comes across a game store in the bad part of town. A mysterious (but very handsome complete with dreamy blue eyes) shop keeper persuades her to buy a certain game, and so she heads home to start her little party.
The game comes to life, drawing the characters into it and they meet the person responsible for their fate. It’s the mysterious shop keeper, otherwise known as Julian! They are separated, and made to live through their fears. Jenny and her friends lives are up for gamble. If they win, they are free to go. If they lose, Jenny must stay with Julian forever.
It turns out Julian is seriously, insanely in love with Jenny, and wants her for his own and the game is his way of courting her. Whatever happened to flowers and choccies?!
The characters are all very different, and their fears may not seem scary at first but the writing is very effective in making you feel how they feel. When I first read this, I was much younger but I still felt scared reading it now! I feel very silly, but I literally had to stop reading it at night because it still creeped me out.
By the end of the book (after I got the courage to start reading it again – in broad daylight) I finished it very quickly and loved re-visiting Jenny and her friends struggle for their survival in a twisted game of love, secrets and nightmares.
The Chase


The aftershocks of the first story is still prominent in ‘The Chase‘ Jenny and her friends are not the same, their lives have been forever changed by Julian’s game. After dealing with the death of their friend, they are determined it will never happen again and search for the Game that disappeared. Soon, although I wish sooner, Julian makes a reappearance with a proposition for Jenny to be bound to him forever or her and her friends become a pawn in his new game. (seriously, dude – try some roses!)
The race is on again to stop Julian and his creatures from taking lives. Once again, I couldn’t read this at night…..slightly embarrassing, as I read many Stephen King novels yet it’s a Young Adult novel that brings me to my trembling knees. The shame. But I hope my scaredy cat behaviour can convey how absolutely superb the writing is, it’s creepy and it gave me many chills reading it. Again….
The Kill


The best, in my opinion, of the series. The Shadow World, which is Julian’s home, comes into play here, and we learn much more about it. I’m quite loathe to write more due to giving anything away, I’d hate to spoil this fantastic story. I’ll just say this – it’s very intense, very scary and very romantic.

An amazingly written story, ‘The Forbidden Game‘ draws you into it, almost in the same manner as the actual game of the story. The characters fears became my own, and my heart beat at the prospect of finishing the Game in one piece, just like Jenny and her friends.

As much as Julian is the bad guy in the story, he is also a brilliant character because he really is an anti-hero. Handsome, with electric blue eyes and a dangerous streak, his ideas of love are twisted, creepy but he genuinely loves Jenny and he is only wooing her in the way he knows how. Just like Jareth from ‘Labyrinth‘ and Erik from ‘The Phantom of the Opera‘ his ways are the only ones he knows and therefore he doesn’t see how it is wrong. It’s totally not his fault, guys! This of course made me fall in love with him, and I know I’m not the only one.

The Forbidden Game‘ is really very enjoyable, and I really feel I’ve been through everything with Jenny and her friends.

But yeah….I won’t be buying any games from mysterious shop owners anytime soon. I’ll stick with Monopoly, thanks.

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Jo lives in Surrey. Reading is a huge part of her life and her taste in books is eclectic. While she enjoys any genre she tends to read more Science Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. [Jo no longer reviews for the site.]


Bookish Brunette April 3, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Oh my lord! I read these when I was like 12! The Forbidden game remains one of my favorite series (or just book now I guess!) and it's been 15 years. I actually bought the series off Amazon a couple of years ago after losing my copies when we moved *tear*!

Now I totally need this new cover!


Kah Woei April 3, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I re-read this one myself a few months back … but the one I liked best was actually the first book.


Mel April 3, 2011 at 4:44 pm

I too read these years ago and loved them! I re-read the Vampire Diaries recently and was a little disappointed that they weren't as good as I remembered…I happy that the Forbidden Games lives up to it's reputation! I may have to try re-reading this trilogy!


heidenkind April 3, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I totally agree! The last book in the series is so great. I love Julian.


heavenisabookstore April 3, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Wow I haven't read any of these, but they sound really good. Then again, I have a hard time reading scary books before bed.


Jo (BCC) April 4, 2011 at 7:42 am

Thanks for commenting guys!

It really is much better than Vampire Diaries in my opinion and it was really fun to re-read this and meet Julian again!

I have a hard time with reading scary books before bed too, I can handle zombies/weres/vamps but faced with ghosts/demons and I'm up all night with the light on! :)


Siobhán April 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm

im a big LJ Smith fan. however i just couldnt get into this one. i ended up giving up halfway through n still havent finished.


Aleksandra April 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

Great review! I have this one on my tbr list, but still haven't gotten around to it :)


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