Books I Finished Recently, Pt. 1

Over the past few months I have read a fair few books. Because it’s been some time since I finished most of them, the details blend together too much for me to be able to write full reviews about each and every one of them. Therefore I’ve decided to write a post quick comments about what I thought worked and what didn’t.

* This post turned out a bit longer than I expected, so I’ve split it into two parts.

Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline

This book was so overhyped. I mean, to each their own, but by the end I didn’t really like it at all. It started out great. I love the idea of a virtual reality where you’re basically given a chance to go explore all the fictional worlds you could dream up. I would log in and go explore Hogwarts in a heartbeat if something like that existed in real life. But once I got past that, the book kind of fell apart for me. Wade quickly became frustrating, with his expert knowledge about literally everything he came across. I used to have a long list of notes about this book on my phone because I was planning to write a full review, but unfortunately I deleted those notes and now I can’t remember much at all. I do remember thinking that there was not nearly enough time spent one the world outside of the virtual reality; that there was so much potential for exploring the reasons why such a game was even desirable.

 

Title: The Silkworm
Author: Robert Galbraith

I don’t remember much about The Cuckoo’s Calling anymore, although I recall liking it but not loving it. I thought its sequel was a lot more compelling to read. It’s a crime novel, and as crime novels go I don’t have much to say about it. The murder itself was brutal and kind of disgusting, but I loved how it was entrenched in the publishing world and the main clue to finding the murderer was to analyse the truly disturbingly morbid manuscript the deceased wished to publish. Also, I totally guessed who the killer was in the first scene they appeared in.

 

Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins

I was not a fan. A point in this book’s favour is that it is a really easy read. I’m wracking my brain for something else positive to say but I’m coming up blank. Which is not to say that everything else was awful, but there were too many things about it that irked or bothered me. What I found hardest to overlook was the fact that the main protagonist is kind of a stalker. As in the whole story starts because she’s made up a whole life story for a couple who lives in a house her train passes every morning, and when the woman goes missing she becomes obsessed with finding her. And it doesn’t really get better from there. It also suffers from its alternating perspectives between the three female characters in the story. It was good to get a break from the main protagonist’s addled brain every now and then, but their individual voices were not really distinct and kept blending together for me.

 

Title: The Secret History
Author: Donna Tartt

I read this over Christmas break and it is now amongst my favourite books of all time. I love when an author can make me care about the fates of a group of mostly unsympathetic characters. From the very first page we’re told that this group of friends killed one of their own, and the draw of the story becomes working out whether or not that was justified or not. I was surprised to find that the murder we learned about in the prologue happens midway through the narrative and that a lot of time is spent on the fallout. I love the complexities of the characters, the various intricacies of the relationships between the people in the group, and how so much was constantly left unsaid between them all. Most of all I loved that the ending was just as bleak as the rest of the story, because I’m strange like that.

 

***

Stay tuned for part two later today.

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