Publication date: 23 April 2013
Publisher: Yen Press
Length: 400 pages
Age group: Young adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository
My rating: ★★★★★
A Japanese cell phone game called Rabbit Doubt has gone viral in Tokyo. In it, players are rabbits who must do everything in their power to uncover the wolf in rabbit’s clothing before it kills them off. The wolf, a randomly selected player, must use his wiles to create mistrust among the rabbits and knock his adversaries off one by one. When five fans of this game decide to meet offline for fun, the last thing they expect is to lose consciousness and wake up trapped in an abandoned building with a corpse strung up in front of them, a mysterious barcode tattooed on each of their bodies. Will the virtual friends be able to pull it together in the real world and figure out what’s going on in time to avoid ending up the wolf’s dinner?
I was introduced to the world of manga – and to the work of Yoshiki Tonogai – by my friend Veronica from Mostly Reviews a couple of weeks ago. I was racking my brain for some relatively short and easy books I could read for Dewey’s 24-hour readathon, but I didn’t get very far. Since she knows what kind of books I tend to like, I asked her for some suggestions – and she gave me Doubt.
I wasn’t entirely sure whether it would be my cup of tea because I’ve never tried manga before, but I was hooked from the very beginning. (Having to read from right to left took me a little while to get used to, but once you actually get used to it, you don’t even realise you’re doing it.)
As someone who lives and breathes locked room mysteries, I loved the idea behind the book. Doubt tells the story of a group of teenagers who are all players of the mobile phone game “Rabbit Doubt”. In “Rabbit Doubt”, all the players are rabbits, except for one of them, who is really a wolf. The aim of the game is for this wolf to pick them off one by one, and for the players to figure out which of them the wolf is before it is too late and s/he kills all of them.
At the beginning of the first book, players of this game decide to meet up in real life and go to a karaoke club to have some fun – and that is when everything starts to go downhill. Because instead of a fun night out, they end up being locked in an empty building (with a corpse), only to realise they’re there to play the Rabbit Doubt game live – and someone’s picking them off one by one.
Needless to say, the story is incredibly fast-paced and it sent shivers down my spine several times, as I was trying to figure out who to trust and who was lying. Just like a brilliantly written thriller, Doubt keeps you guessing right until the end and has dozens of twists and red herrings in store for you, which makes it literally impossible to put down.
The ending – and the wolf’s identity – took me completely by surprise and it was so much more complex than I expected, which made it all the more exciting and chilling.
I devoured both books in one sitting and really can’t recommend them highly enough. If you enjoy twisted, dark, and suspenseful stories or you’re simply looking for a quick read, give Doubt a try – you’ll be hooked.