The Lying Game by Ruth Ware: Book Review

Ruth Ware

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware is my fourth book by the author and I have no idea why I haven’t reviewed any yet! You’ll have to stay tuned for the others. My first experience with her had an amazing plot and buildup, yet a disappointing and rushed ending. The second book I read by her didn’t catch my interest and also had a rushed ending. The Lying Game, on the other hand, was a good book from beginning to end.

Synopsis of The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

“On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them.

The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).”


What I Loved

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When I was younger, I loved reading books set in high school or university. Don’t get me wrong, I still do and I’m currently rereading the Private series by Kate Brian. But as I get older, I tend to prefer books like this one where the protagonists are older but the book goes back to their school days.

This book is a similar “format” to It’s Always the Husband. We meet the characters in the present but we delve into their past as well. While It’s Always the Husband is mostly about the school days, this book focuses more on the present.

I really liked that the characters were all so different, one of the four being a strict Muslim. The diversity and the discussion of religion in a book where it isn’t expected was great. Also, the characters all had depth and we saw their development, making me feel like I personally knew them.

Finally, unlike the other two books by Ruth Ware that I read, The Lying Game had a steady pace until the very end. The ending was satisfying and not rushed. Since I had low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. The plot wasn’t as exciting as The Woman in Cabin 10, but it kept my interest.

What I Didn’t Love

The book started with a lot of mystery but it took a long time before anything exciting was revealed. Once it was, it got more interesting and new twists kept appearing. But I can see how people might put the book down in the first few chapters and forget about it. I actually lost this book after a trip and had to reread the first chapter because I forgot what had happened.

While I give this book a solid four stars, other critics were not as kind. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware has 3.52 stars on Goodreads. Those who hated it complain about the slow start and they found the ending underwhelming. I thought the ending was just fine; it can’t always be something ridiculous and over-the-top.

You can buy a copy of The Lying Game by Ruth Ware on Amazon using this link. If you’re interested in some of her other books, please check out the links below. I will be reviewing the other four I’ve read in the upcoming weeks!

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Ruth Ware

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