So first off- I’m sorry for being unintentionally absent! A summer cold and a busy schedule have massively interrupted my blogging activities! Je suis désolé! (apologies sound much better in French) Anyhoo- on with the review…
*Don’t worry- no spoilers!*
Now for some reason, this book was marketed pretty much everywhere as “THE NEXT GONE GIRL”. As someone that *loved* Gone Girl I figured I had to give this one a shot. And the fact that it was going to be a movie jolted me into action, because as you may know from my review, I made the mistake of the Gone Girl movie before I read the book.
However, I was sorely disappointed to realise that other than being a thriller and having “girl” in the title- these two books actually have very little in common. Unlike Gone Girl, the writing is not splendid or showy or remarkable in anyway. I will allow that it is adequate in a very utilitarian fashion- but certainly nothing to rave about. More than anything, I felt like the writing in this book was just missing a soul. Where Gillian Flynn created striking and powerful voices for Nick and Amy, here the writing was hollow and void of any emotion.
Here too, this book fell down. Because, I just did not feel as fraught or connected to the drama or stressed out as I had when I read Gone Girl. Yes, I said earlier that this was technically a thriller, but I would not say it was even half as dramatic as others I have read in the genre. Frankly, plot-wise, this was predictable and the twist is easily guessed. What made it worse was that the author seemed to think the mystery was far cleverer than it actually was and needed a thorough explanation- which she provided in a sit-down moment where the villain explained every minute detail of their actions and motivations (yeah- because this was sooo believable *heavy sarcasm*). Not only did this drag down the drama of the climax, but it also made me want to scream, because and BAD GUY EXPOSITION IS NEVER A GOOD THING. It didn’t even make sense in context!
And speaking of other things that made no sense- I honestly didn’t buy some of the characters in this book. Too many of them had personalities that just didn’t add up or thought things that I were nigh on impossible to relate to. There were points when I just thought “would anyone actually do that?” or “do people really think that way?!” I might have understood it better if they’d all turned out to be psychos- but I think the author was going for “edgy and flawed” rather than aliens-with-stunted-emotions (which is mostly what I thought of Anna- the the protagonist’s ex-husband’s new wife). Comparing this to Gone Girl is yet again a disservice- as no one in this book was as vivid as Nick and Amy.
Now I know that this review has been pretty ranty- so I would like to clarify that it’s by no means an awful book. It was fun one-day read and great if you just want to switch off. I honestly feel like a lot of this will be much improved in the film version. Visually, I think the climax scene could work very well and there were parts when I definitely thought “damn this will look good on the big screen”. All the flaws I have mentioned could be fixed with a bit of editing. I reckon Hollywood can definitely inject some life into this rather bare-bones story. But given that this had none of the things that make me really excited about a book- believable characters, standout writing and a killer plot- I reckon I would have been better off just watching the movie.
Rating: 3½ banana
Have you read this? What did you think of it? And what book would you have preferred to just watch the film version?