This Wicked Game by Michelle Zink Review: Secret Voodoo societies with no depth

November 3, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 1 star, Books, Reviews

This Wicked Game by Michelle Zink Review: Secret Voodoo societies with no depthThis Wicked Game by Michelle Zink
Published by Dial on November 14, 2013
Source: Borrowed
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
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Claire Kincaid’s family has been in business for over fifty years.

The voodoo business.

Part of the International Guild of High Priests and Priestesses, a secret society that have practiced voodoo for generations, the Kincaid’s run an underground supply house for authentic voodoo supplies. Claire plays along, filling orders for powders, oils and other bizarre ingredients in the family store, but she has a secret.

She doesn’t believe.

Struggling to reconcile her modern sensibilities with a completely unscientific craft based on suspicion, Claire can’t wait to escape New Orleans – and voodoo – when she goes to college, a desire that creates almost constant conflict in her secret affair with Xander Toussaint, son of the Guild’s powerful founding family.

But when a mysterious customer places an order for a deadly ingredient, Claire begins to realize that there’s more to voodoo – and the families that make up the Guild – than meets the eye.

Including her own.

As she bands together with the other firstborns of the Guild, she comes face to face with a deadly enemy – and the disbelief that may very well kill her.

You’d think a story about a secret voodoo society set in New Orleans would be the perfect back drop for diversity, but alas, it lacks depth. I feel like I’ve just read a story with cardboard cut out characters following a predictable, uninteresting plot that never hits a climax.

I wanted so much more out of This Wicked Game, more about the Voodoo, religious intent or more about magic and its ingredients. Even more about the amazing world of New Orleans would have done. Voodoo is a fanatical religion with African roots, but in the Wicked Game, all you get are white characters with no back story. Would it have killed to have a bit of diversity in a place that is filled with it, instead of making it the same old story superimposed over a Voodoo background?

The book was mainly focused on a loose mystery behind what the deadly ingredient was being used for and then foiling their plans, but the culprits were easily found out and there was no surprise whatsoever. I always have a problem with unbelievable plots where the teenagers don’t involve their parents in dangerous threats.

Usually I’d cheer at YA stories that aren’t centered on the romance, but Claire and Xander getting together before the events of the book was a convenient way to skip any development on that end. Now I know why most YA books tend to lean towards the romance, because at least that’s something, right?

Now let’s talk about Claire. She’s your typical boring protagonist who doesn’t think before she acts. After meeting Eugenia, a threatening character who wants to purchase a deadly, rare ingredient used for curses, what does she do? She breaks into her home to find more information with her boyfriend. She continues doing stupid things throughout the book, and I felt no connection to her whatsoever.

That being said, the writing was really succinct and action-oriented, easily read. There was a lot of telling instead of showing, with Claire and her friends talking it out and coming to conclusions about the Voodoo enemy.


This Wicked Game was a book that lacks depth all the way through. There is absolutely no diversity when it comes to the Voodoo Society in New Orleans, a place that is filled with a rich culture and history. The characters are flat and boring, and the plot even more so. It had so much more potential, which is disappointing, really.

I keep on getting this book confused with Wicked Games by Sean Olin, what is with two YA books with really similar titles being released around the same time?

Rating: 1 out of 5

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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34 responses to “This Wicked Game by Michelle Zink Review: Secret Voodoo societies with no depth

  1. Before I read your review had I read the synopsis I, too, would have hoped for the diversity and levels to the story that you wrote of, so it's such a disappointment to hear that those weren't at all a part of this story, and I'm sorry it worked so poorly for you, in the end- it seems like it was such an interesting idea that just didn't play out too well. Hopefully you find a better book next! x
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  2. Besides the awesome cover, the premise of this… It could have epic, but it sounds like the author just couldn't pull it off. There's nothing worse than boring one dimensional characters and a crescendo that build and build… To nothing. Damn. It sounds a little like that Blue Bloods series, could have been great, but failed to deliver. Great review Jeann, hopefully your next read knocks your socks off <3
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    • I know, it was just really really disappointing while I was reading it. Oh no, I have the Blue Bloods series on my shelf but I'm thinking of donating it, because I'm never going to read it I think. Than you Kelly!

  3. Oh I know, there was just so much in this book that annoyed me. I totally get what you mean by "easy" writing, it's kind of lazy without building any tension or development. No problems Jess!

  4. Oh I know right? Cults and religion, I've decided to stay far, far away from. Even just a mention of it or something embodying it, nuh uh. Hey, at least I helped you narrow your TBR for once XD

  5. Oh my gosh, I actually got it so confused! I thought I was reviewing this one but it turns out it was the Sean Olin book lol! Oh it really did annoy me, even though it had such a great concept. Hehe it's awesome that the character has your name too!

  6. I wasn't really feeling very drawn to this book despite the really gorgeous cover and now after reading your review I feel like I can easily skip it and forget all about it!

    Thank you for a very honest review Jeann!
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  7. Uh oh, I see where this went wrong. I'm sorry you ended up not liking it though. I also would've LOVED a book set in New Orleans. I've been there a couple times in real life, and I love it! Especially the French Quarter.
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  8. I saw secret voodoo society on the first line of your review and was like BOOM. YES. . . . and then I kept reading. LOL. Oh dear.

    I think stories with an already established romance need to work a lot harder to make it seem as if having them that way wasn't just laziness. I'm thinking Claire and Xander already being together was a bit lazy, because then the author didn't have to try to build them up. Was there a spark? There didn't sound like there was.

    Sorry this book was a shallow swimming pool 🙁

    (Oh yeah, Sean Olin's book! I thought the title sounded familiar!!!)

    • I know right? Oh I was so disappointed, hence the low rating. It definitely was really lazy and I just wasn't convinced on their romance. Not much spark at all. You know what, afterwards I tried to submit my review to EW and it turns out I didn't receive this one for review, it was Sean Olin's book instead! OH LOL!

  9. Oh damn, this one sounded really interesting as well! But I agree, when I hear New Orleans, white people are not the first ones that come to mind at all. It sucks that the author seems to have been drawn along the cliche route, when she had the potential for soooo much exploration. Sorry to hear that the story was so disappoint and the characters as well. 🙁 Hope you next read is much better Jeann! xx
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  10. Funnily enough, the first thing I thought of when I saw this review was Wicked Games by Sean Olin – you're right, it is strange that they have such similar titles. I'm intrigued to read this one, and surprised that it features a character with my name – since that doesn't happen all too often! That being said, books that lack real depth and dimension do tend to annoy me, but if I see this at the library I still might check it out.
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  11. Typical boring protagonist? So not for me. And I absolutely detest when the romance is done through taking the easy way out. I just want some development! Urgh, this book is a shame. Weirdly enough, I don't really like writing that is "easy", if you know what I mean? I like my head to hurt with a lot of metaphors hahaha Thanks for the amazingly honest review, Jeann! <33
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  12. *runs wildly away from this book* Nope, nopeity nope. I hate it when books go into cults and religion. It is just NOT for me. It never fails to frustrate me and cardboard characters? Noooo. I think I will easily cross this off my tbr, because even the premise just doesn't excite me. Not in the least.
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  13. Damn! It's a shame to hear about this one. And it looks so promising, too… I think I'll most likely steer clear from this one — I prefer books with more depth, and if this lacked it the whole way through then it's not something I am likely to enjoy, you know? Thanks for the honest review, though, Jeann!