Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
Point of View: First/Third Person & Multiple
Published: May 2, 2017
“A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.”
I gave this book 2 stars, which means I didn’t enjoy reading it. This rating generally also means I don’t hate it, but it just wasn’t for me. I rate my books based on how much they meet my expectations and wishes when going into the book. I do this because I think whether you find a book good or bad depends on what you want from the book. In my reviews, I explain why a book did or didn’t meet my expectations and try to specify which people might like or dislike it.
What I was hoping for
I didn’t even read the synopsis before picking it up. Which is something I do quite often with mystery/thriller books. So I didn’t have a clue of what to expect. I was just hoping for a creepy story with a unique twist to it. I’ve read ‘The Girl on the Train’ too and I was hoping to be a little closer to the story with this one, as I felt quite detached from her other book.
What I liked
It did have a creepy atmosphere, especially in the beginning. The setting with the water… lake… pool… (whatever) was mysterious. It felt like I was pulled into its spell. Every time it was mentioned I felt suspenseful. Unfortunately, it started to play less of a prominent role when the mystery started to unfold. In the end, I didn’t feel like the full potential of the creepy setting was used, as it was kind of lost along the way.
What I didn’t like
Let’s start with the thing that bugged me most about this book. It had an endless amount of different perspectives. Well… not endless exactly. According to my list, it’s 11 perspectives but I could be missing someone. Don’t get me wrong, I love books with multiple perspectives! This was just too many. Most of the different perspectives were introduced in the first few chapters. Different names kept dropping and I was so overwhelmed with it that I had to start listing them down. I couldn’t keep up and I probably wouldn’t have managed without the list. It got confusing pretty fast.
With the change of perspectives, there was often also a change in which person it was written in. With some chapters, it was written in first person pov and referred to others in second person. With others, it was written in third person pov and referred to others in third person as well. So between chapters, there were switches like “I was cold with you” to “Libby was afraid they were coming for her”. This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it did add to my confusion. A lot of times I didn’t know to whom the characters were referring.
I felt distant from the characters. I noticed that I didn’t really care what happened to them. Due to having so many perspectives, we just spend so little time with each one of them. I didn’t get a chance to get close to any of them. These characters already weren’t the most likable characters, which doesn’t help either. Another thing that contributed to this feeling of distance was the fact that a lot of things and conversations were vague. I felt like I was being left out of some important information.
Finally, how the plot came to the ending was underwhelming for me. It’s not like I predicted, but it still wasn’t anything special. It just wasn’t creepy or surprising. It didn’t leave me wondering. It just kept moving from character to character with very short chapters and I kept thinking “Is this it?”. Then there would be another chapter and another. Until there wasn’t anymore and I was left like “Is this it? Yes? Ok…”. It might be partly because I already didn’t care about the characters, but still. It was a very forgettable.
My feelings overall & Recommending it
Overall I feel like this book had a lot of potential with the setting but didn’t make enough use of it. Choosing fewer perspectives probably would have made it a more enjoyable read. However, it also lacked in the plot and was kind of forgettable for me.
You might still want to check it out if you don’t mind having a lot of perspectives and being kept at a distance. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to anyone.
Are you proud of me? I finally did a review again.
I’m so behind on them it isn’t even funny…