The Forbidden Game
|Author||L. J. Smith|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
The Forbidden Game trilogy is a series of novels by American author L. J. Smith about a girl named Jenny who has been watched for years by a Shadow Man named Julian. Julian has fallen in love with Jenny and will do anything to take her for his own. The books are as follows: The Hunter (book 1), The Chase (book 2), and The Kill (book 3). Smith has said that she started a sequel, more information to be announced.
The Forbidden Game Trilogy was originally published in three parts, in 1994, by Simon & Schuster. They were released in the United Kingdom in the following year by Scholastic UK. In 1996, the trilogy were republished by Simon & Schuster. All three books were also published together in one volume in the United States as a "Collector's Omnibus Edition", in 1997. The three books were republished as one volume called "The Forbidden Game: Bind-up Edition" in June 2010.
In the first book, The Hunter, Jenny is a young girl, living in California, who feels she has always been watched - and protected - in much of what she does. Preparing for her boyfriend's 17th birthday party, she goes to a rough part of town where she is followed by two thugs her age. There, she buys a game, a glossy white box, simply called "The Game" from an enigmatic blue-eyed stranger who she seems to have an unusual connection to. She and her friends (Dee, Audrey, Mike, Zach, Summer and Tom) put together the paper house, invoke a rune, (Uruz) and awake inside the game, where the stranger from the shop - blue-eyed Julian, also known as 'The Shadow Man' - puts Jenny's friends in different parts of the house and tells jenny that she must travel through each room of the house, help her friends face their worst nightmares, including her own. If they make it to the top of the house before dawn, they can go home; if not, they have to stay forever. All but Summer make it through their nightmares, and she is killed because she cannot face her worst fear and escape it. In the end Julian reveals the game they have been playing to actually be "Goats and Tigers." To rescue everyone else Jenny promises herself to Julian before locking him back into the closet. Everyone but Summer makes it out, but the ring Julian gave her is still there. It bears the words "All I refuse & Thee I chuse." The group wants to burn the box which holds the game in it in the end but before they can come to a decision the two boys who followed Jenny home break in and steal the box, which holds both the game and Jenny's ring, and quickly leave.
In the second book of the trilogy, The Chase, the group of friends have to explain about the disappearance of Summer, while trying to find the box that contains the game. Julian was still trapped in the closet, but there was a chance that the two boys that stole the game might let Julian out. All of the friends begin to have nightmares, and unnatural weird occurrences at school are happening in the daytime. Finally, when Jenny is at the senior prom with a boy other than Tom, Julian appears. Julian gives Jenny a chance to break free from the promise, but the stakes were the same as the last game. This time the game is "Lambs and Monsters", where Julian is the monster, and the friends are the lambs trying to hide from him; for the lambs to win, they have to find the monster's base. One by one Jenny's friends start disappearing, and Jenny is the only one left. She manages to find the base in an old black and white photo by tricking Julian. She finds her friends, but to get out they have to pass through a wall of flames. Everyone makes it but Tom and Zach, and to get them back again, Mike, Dee, Audrey, and Jenny have to find a way into the Shadow World.
In the last of the three, The Kill, the remaining four run away to Monessen, the place where Jenny's grandfather had lived before being taken away by the Shadow Men. They believed that there was a portal to the Shadow World there, and there was. When the four enter the Shadow World, they find themselves in a closed amusement park. After looking and experiencing some of the attractions, which are made to be like nightmares, Julian appears, and he tells them that if they find three Spanish doubloons in the amusement park, everyone will get to go free. The four friends search through the amusement park and find Summer, who is still alive. They also find three other souls being kept by the Shadow Men, the two boys who stole the game, and Jenny's grandfather who had been taken when Jenny opened the closet door. They set the three free without knowing the consequences, and they find the three doubloon coins to save Zach and Tom. Right as they all are leaving, the Shadow Men appear and say that the group has taken the souls, which were theirs. The older Shadow Men want to take Jenny's soul, but Julian objects and fights the other Shadow Men off. They take Julian's life but he makes it back to Jenny's apartment. Before he dies, he tells Jenny that he has always loved her and to dream him in a place where there are no shadows. Julian's body turned into mist and shadows. Jenny ends up with Tom and the story ends with her wishing Julian well if he was ever reborn.
Jenny is a beautiful and willful teenager who dates Tom Locke. Prior to the first Game, she is entirely subservient to Tom's wishes, dressing and acting exactly the way he wants her to. As the series progresses, Jenny and her friends fight against the antagonist Julian. In doing so, her friendships deepen; Jenny matures to become more responsible and independent.
The youngest of the Shadow Men, an ancient race that lives in darkness, with blonde-white hair, short on the sides and long in the back and on his forehead to almost cover his electric blue eyes protected by thick, black lashes. He fell in love with Jenny Thornton when the his fellow Shadow Men captured Jenny's grandfather. He watches over Jenny, protecting her from all harm, but upon Tom Locke's seventeenth birthday, Julian makes a move to claim Jenny. His alluring looks bring doubt to Jenny's lovelife.
Jenny Thornton's boyfriend since the second grade. He is a star athlete and student, handsome and popular, and is known keeping his composure in emotional situations. He truly loves Jenny, but also takes her for granted. After seeing Julian's obsessive love for Jenny in the first game, Tom re-evaluates his careless attitude to his relationship with Jenny and decides that he is no longer good enough for her.
One of Jenny's best friends and the newest to their group. Audrey's father is a diplomat, and as a result, Audrey is well-traveled and sophisticated. However, beneath her chic facade, she is insecure about how other people perceive her. As she falls for Michael, Audrey comes to realize that it is what is on the inside that counts. She has auburn hair and chestnut eyes.
Deirdre 'Dee' Eliade
Jenny's other best friend. She is a fierce martial arts expert, and her physical strength comes in handy. Dee looks like an Egyptian princess, but she often feels overshadowed by golden Jenny and chic Audrey. Dee also has an irrational fear of technology and feels much more comfortable using the body rather than the mind.
Audrey's boyfriend. His father is a science fiction author, which allows Michael to be more accepting of the situations the group faces. He and Audrey's relationship becomes less shallow as the series continues.
Jenny's Modern Art-inclined cousin. Zach has problems in his family, especially because his focus in his art photography tends towards the modern style, far from his ruggish father. Julian declares that Zach also has romantic feelings for Jenny, though he never took interest in any girl. He has long, light blond hair and gray eyes. His greatest fear is going insane.
Summer is the 'baby' of the group, the one everyone looks after and worries about. She acts a little ditzy, but uses that as a shield to protect herself. Believed to be dead after facing her fear in the first book it was revealed that Julian saved her as he knew how much she meant to Jenny. Since no one believed the story of the Shadow World (Jenny had insisted on telling the truth of what happened), in the second book there is a large organization of volunteers searching for her, since they believe her to be kidnapped. In the last book, Summer was found again.
Joyland Park, from the third book in the series is loosely based on Kennywood Park located in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. LJ Smith has Julian allude to Persephone (from Greek mythology) who was kidnapped by the king of the underworld. Norse mythology also has a strong influence on this trilogy, both through the use of Runes and other references to the Norse and Viking culture.
According to an August 2010 blog entry, Smith is considering a sequel to the Forbidden Game series for adults and has already written a few pages. An undated FAQ page on the author's website states a sequel is in progress and a teaser will be available soon.
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