This is the second book in the Will Darling series of 1920s queer pulp action/adventure novels. It is absolutely imperative that readers begin with Slippery Creatures, the first book in the series. There won’t be any spoilers for The Sugared Game, but I’ll be discussing some of the events of Slippery Creatures over the course of this review, so please proceed with caution.
This book picks up a couple of months after the events of the first book. Will hasn’t seen much of Kim, but that’s perfectly fine with him because a bin fox is always a bin fox. Of course, as soon as he resigns himself to this eventuality, guess who pops back into Will’s life like Beelzebub?
TLDR: Kim is still chasing Zodiac, and he needs Will’s help. Their pursuit will take them to all sorts of unexpected places and the stakes are high. But, as always, can Kim be trusted?
At the risk of sounding too much like an elementary school book report, my favorite thing about The Sugared Game was that Maisie and Phoebe both played a much larger role than they did in Slippery Creatures. Their friendship is definitely #goals and I’m hoping for even more of them in the third and final book of the series.
This book unfolds solely from Will’s perspective. While I would love to have a scene from Kim’s POV, I acknowledge that having the reader know what Kim was thinking at any given moment would give away the game, so to speak. Not knowing what Kim knows and having to figure out what he’s holding back is a good portion of the fun.
That said, Kim is (slightly) less duplicitous in this book. Or perhaps maybe I’ve just grown accustomed to Kim’s slippery machinations. There may have been less of an emphasis on the romance aspect of Will and Kim’s relationship, but what was there was A++. Either way, this book provides one hell of an adventure, and I don’t think I breathed for the entirety of the big climactic chapter.
Oh, I’m going to have to keep this vague, but there is a HUGE surprise for fans of Charles’ books. I can’t say anything more, but it had me smiling from ear to ear as soon as I connected the dots.
I would absolutely recommend The Sugared Game. It was an amazing book from start to finish. The end was satisfying, but it left me clamoring for the conclusion to Will and Kim’s saga, but I’m content to keep reading the first two books while I wait patiently for book 3.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, but purchased my own copy because I enjoyed it so much.