The Lying Game by Ruth Ware


“I need you.”

— Ruth Ware, The Lying Game

    After In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware brings us a character-oriented thriller with The Lying GameUnlike her previous stand-alone stories, this one focuses a lot more of the bond that lies tie together between friends and family. All grown-up, Isa Wilde is now a mother to her little girl Freya and a wife to Owen. She contemplates a typical life of adulthood, balancing both her new responsibilities as a mother but also as a lawyer. However, The Lying Game wouldn’t be much of a thriller if it didn’t suddenly shift gears and raced head first into danger. In fact, that is exactly what happens as Isa Wilde receives an unexpected text from a friend she hasn’t heard of for over 17 years: “I need you.” Left clueless to what kind of history compels an individual to rush back to a dark place from the past, readers are kept at the edge of their seats as Ruth Ware slowly but surely unravels the lies that have kept a couple of friends connected together, whether they liked it or not.

    If there’s one thing that Ruth Ware seems to never fail to do, it’s definitely to write beautifully. Her ability to capture the tension of a scene as well as the attention of the reader is infinitely masterful. Her writing alone could keep me hooked to her books for days and never struggle to hold onto my gaze. The details that are conveyed as well as the emotions that are put forth are always accurate and genuine, helping greatly in delivering a compelling story no matter the direction it takes. Unfortunately, The Lying Game fell short in the story-telling department. It didn’t help when the biggest plot twists were mostly foreseen and that all the clues that were offered early into the story as elements of foreshadowing were pretty easily discernible. While the story remained far slower than Ruth Ware’s previous novels, it still delivered a very well-written and enthralling mystery. Isa Wilde and Kate Aragon’s characters were definitely the highlight to this book as their character development were refined and emphasized.

    I did however feel like every other character didn’t get an equal or significant amount of development too, notably Fatima and Thea, the two other friends who will inevitably be dragged back to a past they have all left behind. This lack of development, if I may call it so, only eased my ability to deduce the outcome and predict the course of this mystery. What’s also worth noting is that the book is split into five parts, each titled after an important rule in the Lying Game. The originality behind this was definitely present and the titles were cleverly infused into the story-telling. However, its impact and overall importance slowly deflated as the story went on. Ruth Ware also alternates between past and present narratives throughout the book in order to share bits and pieces of these girls lives and the bond that connects them. Unfortunately, the alternating narrative also saw a steady decline as you’ll quickly find yourself grounded in real time with very little to no narrative featuring these girls as adolescents. In all honesty, all these inconsistencies truly took away the potential behind this book.


    While not Ruth Ware’s strongest story, The Lying Game remained a highly captivating and atmospheric book. The author plays on our desire to find out the truth in a world where lies served as the foundation to the four girls and definitely succeeds in making this story greatly captivating. Although you don’t really have countless hypotheses fighting to come out on top, Ruth Ware still keeps the intrigue high and offers us a fascinating story filled with character development. It might also be worth mentioning that the book sometimes felt like it had plenty of heavy drama-filled sequences that curved slightly away from the main plot, but by the end of the book you’ll understand that everything served a purpose and ultimately showed us the repercussions of the lies that infested these girls early in their lives as they slowly crawl out of the shadows. Ruth Ware still remains a very solid mystery writer and her latest novel, although slightly different in style, promises us countless more enticing titles to read in the near future.


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36 thoughts on “The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

  1. I can definitely see why this book was a three star one. You make a compelling case of it and I appreciate your honesty in this review (as well as other reviews you write). I have not read anything by this author but have heard about her – I guess I should start ‘investigating’ her books 😀 Best, Nikola

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeh, man. Would’ve been pretty dishonest if I didn’t convey those cons. As much as I love Ruth Ware’s writing and her contribution to the world of crime novels, honesty had to prevail with this review. It’s not a bad book though, it’s definitely a fun read. Check out her stuff if your curiosity is piqued. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read any of her books yet but I think I have the first on my e-reader, I really must get to that soon (that’s what I always say lol). Too bad it was so predictable and you guessed the outcome.. a bit like my last read. I do hope her next novel will be back on the same high level again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaahh I’d be a billionnaire with the number I say that too!! 😛 You should definitely check out her books, in the order they’ve been released. They’re really well-written and your enjoyment will basically depend on the pacing and how much you’ll appreciate the delivery. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have only read one book by Ruth, Woman in Cabin 10 which I liked. I think I need to read Into the Dark Woods since it has so many wonderful mentions. I am yet to read Lying Game and I think I am still on the fence about it especially because of the inconsistencies you mentioned. Great review though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, you definitely should. Especially if you liked The Woman in Cabin 10. Once you do, I think you’ll know if you want to try out The Lying Game, regardless of the mixed reviews. I can assure that it’s far from being a bad book though! 😀 Thank you so much for reading Diana! 🙂


    1. Yep, yep! She became quite popular, quite quickly! Her first two books earned her a lot of comparisons to Agatha Christie too. Which I think is pretty rare in our day and time where we have much more “psychological thrillers” à la Gone Girl, rather than classic crime stories like we used to have. 😀 Thank you for reading!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Kim! Oh, I totally understand. Have you ever thought about trying her first book though? In a Dark, Dark Wood might maybe change your mind concerning The Lying Game. Then again, The Lying Game does have issues too. Eh, I guess we’ll let your mood for some Ruth Ware stories and your free time decide if you want to jump into these stories. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I can see where you’re coming from. Tough decision indeed. I guess if you ever get curious enough and are in a mood for a character-oriented, no-too-much-action thriller, you can pick The Lying Game up to fill the void! 😀

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  4. In a Dark Dark Wood is staring at me from the bookcase! :p I’m sorry to read this one was not as well executed as the others, especially because I liked the blurb! I think there’s a lot of pressure when a first book gets lots of praise, like In a Dark Dark Wood, and it’s hard to keep the standards after… I hope your next read will be better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m honestly not surprised that you already have that one hahahah 😛 Madame been busy with her awesome orenda/bookouture books for the poor debut novel by Ruth Ware!! Hahahah I liked that the author tried something different with The Lying Game, and it’s not a bad book at all too. You should totally try out her two other books if In a Dark, Dark Wood manages to convince you that Ruth Ware can write good stuff! 😀 Thank you for reading Meggy!! 😉


  5. I want to comment based on my view as a writer but I feel like I would be lecturing, haaahaa. My most consistent thought as a reader writer is that sometimes these authors need a little more time… a debut should be pretty good because they had unlimited time and no pressure! It’s the next book… we see it all the time in the mid-book slump. Great review Lashaan! Two thrillers in a row! You love this genre?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaah I do like hearing both sides of you (writer and reader) as they are always different and greatly insightful. 😉 I do agree that nowadays a lot of the “big hit” authors end up releasing books on a yearly basis. Some of them don’t have any issues at all (I’m especially looking at some of the YA authors that are ALWAYS releasing books left and right), but others seem to just dish them out as soon as they have a beginning, middle and end. It would be nice if they took more time in between releases and worked on making each release a masterpiece, but.. hey.. to each their own. 😀 Thanks Dani! Well, I’m definitely a huge fan of crime, suspense, thriller, true crime stuff. Anything that has a criminal, villainous touch. It sort of transpires in everything about me too hahah (shows, movies, etc.). My field of study also touches upon criminals (criminology) so there’s no real surprise that I’d pick up thrillers anytime hahah Oh, and I think my love for Batman highlights my love for crime-solving, detective, mystery stuff. 😀 😀


  6. Great review for this book Lashaan, it sounds really intriguing and wow I love that cover. Overall this sounds like a good book as well; granted it’s a shame some of the characters weren’t as well developed as others, I always hate that in books because it does pull me out of the story if the characters aren’t developed well, but it doesn’t seem as if that was an issue for you. 🙂
    Again great review. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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