Wicked Games by Sean Olin
Disclaimer: This review first appeared on my GR profile
My rating: 3.5/5
Don't you understand, Carter? I love you. I love you. Carter, don't you understand? I love you.
She'd make him understand -- and everyone else, too.
At first (30%) I was like
And then (50%) I was like
And at the end I was likeeeee
One thing is sure: there is no wrath like a woman scorned. In hindsight, if you're dating a girl who is 'mentally ill' (more on that later) you really should not do anything to piss her off, especially if you know she's a danger to herself and others. If you feel the need to cheat and lie to a girl like that, why not just break up with her?
"OH BUT SHE WOULD'VE FLIPPED!" You say. Well, here is what I know:
Lilah has a mental illness. What mental illness? No one knows. She could have anything from BPD to schizophrenia, but it's only ever mentioned that she's under 'treatment' and taking antidepressants. We're not told why she is so volatile and dangerous, just that she is which, in my eyes, didn't make it as believable as, say, telling us she is schizophrenic. Imagine the drama!
So imagine you, yes you, have been dating a Lilah for the past four years of your life. You know her better than anyone, right? You know she's not all there, yeah? You know she loves you more than she loves herself, but you also know the relationship isn't working any more. She's become too much even for her parents.
What do you do?
a) Break up with her and get her the treatment she needs and warn everyone (parents, teachers, friends) that she's a danger, so she needs that extra support now that you're not there
b) Break up with her and flee the state
c) Cheat on her and have a mini affair behind her back even though she's not stupid and knows you're a scumbag cheating dickwash
Carter is in the option 'c' section. The problem with cheating is that you're not only hurting the person you're with, but you're also hurting the person you have the affair with. The only person getting any kicks out of it is you, the cheater. And that's not fair, is it?
Sure, he tries to do the honorable thing
"I mean, I should get my shit together before I start messing with yours. It's not fair. It's not fair to you and it's not fair to Lilah. You know what I mean? I shouldn't be starting new things with new people when I'm in the middle of a great big confusing thing already."
But the fact remains that he he slept with Jules, someone he met at a party that Lilah was also attending when she wasn't feeling herself and betrayed the trust of his long term girlfriend because Jules felt 'like a breath of fresh air'.
I couldn't wrap my head around the situation. There was a huge dollop of insta-love, where Carter was willing to throw away his relationship for someone he'd just met. If his love for Jules really was that real, he should have broken up with Lilah before doing the dirty with Jules. He shouldn't have worried about what Lilah was going to do. Everything could've been solved easily if only he'd told her naive parents what was happening.
"Lilah," he said. "What happened? To your legs?"
She quickly covered her cuts with her hand. "I thought you were going to leave me. After what I did," she said.
The thought of what she might do if he broke up with her sent a cold spike plunging through his heart.
So when Jules is suddenly at the receiving end of attacks, I couldn't muster up a huge amount of sympathy.
A car had been found in the parking lot, vandalised. A Honda Civic[...]. It appeared at first that some sort of words had been scratched onto the hood, but this had been crossed over, gouged out with hundreds of scribbles[...] The driver's side mirror was shattered. There was a hairline crack in one of the windows.
[Jules] flipped down the driver's side sun visor to apply it.
The word shouted at her like there was a person sitting on the visor's mirror.
Is that a...
If you're scared for your safety and you think something tremendous is going to happen, you call the police. There was no reason why Jules and Carter didn't do this. The evidence was clear, there must have been security footage from the school. There was no reason why the couldn't have called the police AND warned Lilah's family of the situation.
At this point, I'm starting to think they were looking for trouble.
However, I did really like Wicked Games. I think Sean Olin did a great job with the story by bringing in a lot of tension, fear and spite. Everything that happened tied in with previous attacks and I was on my toes the entire time.
I'm surprised and happy to hear that this is, apparently, going to be a series. I love a good thriller and even though a lot of what happened was nonsensical, it played well with the storyline.
And that plot twist and cliffhanger? Holy smokes, it left me with my heart racing and adrenaline pumping.
This book reminded me of The Hand that Rocked the Cradle(1992) and Fatal Attraction (1987) -- both exhilarating, adrenaline pumping and terrifying and, funny that, those films are all about women scorned.
Overall, it wasn't a bad ride. I finished it in 12 hours but some things left a lot to be desired/didn't make sense.