“Months after the last of the Wells sons jumped out of his bedroom window in Axton House (incidentally forgetting to open it first), a strange couple of Europeans arrive in Virginia to take possession of the estate. A. is the 23-year-old unforeseen scion; Niamh is the mute punk teen girl he refers to as his associate or his bodyguard. Both are ready to settle into their new cushy lifestyle, and the rumors about the mansion being haunted add to their excitement. But ghosts are not in any way the deepest secret of the house.
Through journals, letters, security footage, audio recordings, and ciphers, we follow A. and Niamh as they delve into Wells’ dubious suicide, the secret society he founded and its mysterious Game —a “bourgeois pastime” of global proportions— in Edgar Cantero’s dazzling and original gothic adventure.” — Summary from Amazon.
This was a truly unique story! The format, containing descriptions of security footage and audio recordings and such, was fun and added to the mystery a bit – like we are seeing something we weren’t meant to see. More than that though, the twists and turns and surprises that wait at the end are brilliant; I didn’t see any of them coming. Every piece of the puzzle, every secret eventually brought to light, every danger were all unpredictable and enhances the overall story.
The more technical aspects of the story, like the code breaking and how the mechanism that the secret society revolves around works, went over my head a little but were still fascinating to read about. I don’t think I’d actually be able to crack a coded message, but it was interesting to read about a few methods.
Niamh was my favorite, though I didn’t know how to properly pronounce her name until that very issue was brought up near the end of the book. She is such a badass and incredibly level-headed but also very playful at times. She just seemed like the kind of person I would love to have around. She cares deeply and takes care of those she loves, that love giving her strength.
I don’t want to say too much about the story because I believe this is the kind of book you should go into without knowing too much about it. Plus, it’s a story that is sort of difficult to summarize. Just know it’s highly recommended!