The Gameshouse

The Gameshouse Series by Claire North
Genre: Urban Magic
Published November 2015
Rating: 5
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The Gameshouse is a novella series by Claire North, author of Touch and several other books. She is a stunning writer with a distinct and mysterious writing style that engages the reader and forces them to think harder and harder with every passing page.

The first novella, The Serpant,
proved a beautiful introduction to the world in which the Gameshouse resides, which is our world, except not. It’s a world in which there are cunning, clever, devious, and skilled players using our world as a game board. The game might be an election, a war, or something more simple such as hide and seek. But they play for more than money. They play for years of their lives, their love of the taste of strawberries, a memory, the affections of the person they last loved, the richness of the color purple… or something more detrimental: if I win, you take my asthma. If you win, I take your constant migraines.

The story begins with a beautiful portrait and backstory of our main character Thini, who later becomes a crucial piece in a bigger game. Her game is played, the game is won, and the world goes on.

The second novella, The Thief, shows us a more detailed and in-depth look at the
Gameshouse and how it works, and how sometimes, not all games are fair. Remy plays hide and seek with a highly skilled player whose record of finding someone is 11 days. If Remy wins, he gains 20 years of the other man’s life. If he loses, he forfeits all of his memories. All of them. A hungover older player against a highly skilled young man who only plays when he knows he can win leaves us with a thrilling and unexpected end to an unbalanced match. But it ends, and the world goes on.

The third story The Master ties the other two together in the ultimate game. The final game, the Great Game. A great player, known only by the name Silver, challenges the Gamesmaster, the woman all in white behind a veil, who is in charge of the Gameshouse. The doors of the Gameshouse shut and both players use every piece they have to play a giant game of chess with the world. The winner will have the rights to the Gameshouse. The loser dies. But Silver is not a normal player. Silver has a different goal for the outcome. And when the last move comes to play, he has to make a choice. And so he leaves that choice up to the one thing he doesn’t have control over. Luck. And the world goes on.

This series was frustrating and exciting. The ending left me frustrated (okay, yes, I did spend some time ranting out loud). But it was in a good way. The story was finished and whatever happens after that doesn't really matter because the world still goes on. This is a series that plays with the reader's mind just as much as the players in the book play their pieces.

Step through the silver doors. And flip your coin.

About Claire North
Claire North is actually Catherine Webb, a Carnegie Medal-nominated young-adult novel author whose first book, Mirror Dreams, was written when she was just 14 years old. She went on to write seven more successful YA novels.  She also writes under the pseudonym Kate Griffin.

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Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.