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The Shining Girls

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  26,196 ratings  ·  3,778 reviews
The Girl Who Wouldn't Die Hunts the Killer Who Shouldn't Exist

The future is not as loud as war, but it is relentless. It has a terrible fury all its own.

Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.

Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harp
Hardcover, 375 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Mulholland Books (first published 2013)
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Community Reviews

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this book is going to end up being the "it" book of the summer, and probably beyond, because some of you are slow to catch on, and it deserves a longer "it" cycle.

it is about a time traveling serial killer.

which sounds like drunken-mad-libs, but it works. time travel (the idea of time travel) frequently either makes my head hurt,

or is just too silly for me to care about

but this one is different. the time travel is never given any scientific justification - it just is and you accept it o
Wendy Darling
Here's the thing about this book: it is a mash-up of many different genres, and while the execution was perfectly fine, I felt none of them were showcased in a way that was particularly...outstanding?

A breakdown of some of the different elements this book tries to incorporate, along with a few thoughts on each:

Time travel: the jumps in timeline in this book involve a weird house in Chicago in the 1930s. It shows Harper Curtis all the girls he's yet to kill, and allows him to slip in and out of d
Stephen King
No, not the twins from the Kubrick movie, but the targets of a serial killer who finds a time portal in Chicago during the Depression and jackrabbits his way through recent American history, killing women and taking trophies. Until, that is, he encounters a tuff girl who’s not so easy to do away with. It’s the black-hole version of The Time Traveler’s Wife.
This book is weird. The climax features a one-sided snowball fight. And it’s about a time-traveling serial killer. It’s weird. It’s also not very good.

The Shining Girls is a book of parts, and some parts work, some parts don’t. Each chapter focuses on a person and a time. Harper, the time-traveling serial killer, spends most of his chapters in the Great Depression Era, plotting escapades to the future to kill “shining girls.” The other main character is Kirby, a shining girl from the early 90s

There's a lot for me to love about this book:

1) The main character Kirby is fantastic. She is a survivor (literally), independent, courageous and determined, a bit of a smart ass with a smart mouth. But she's no mere Mary Sue, possessing vulnerabilities and flaws that make her uniquely "Kirby" and nobody else. I found her funny and totally sympathetic. Quite honestly, the entire novel pivots around her. Without her, the intricate house of cards the author builds would collapse in on itself at th
I was going to fire up the time-mower to do this review, but I was scared I’d bump into a homicidal maniac so I left it in the garage this time.

Harper Curtis is a hobo during the Great Depression in Chicago who makes a miraculous discovery when he gains access to a mysterious house that can transport him into the future up until the early ‘90s. Unfortunately, Harper is a psychopath who starts using names and objects in the house to track and murder women in various times. Harper thinks that the
This book has a great premise: It's a time-traveling serial killer! One of his victims survives and starts to track him down!

However, I was disappointed in the novel and I think it got overhyped. The chapters alternate between different characters and time periods, and the author was juggling too much and couldn't make it gel. The killer, Harper, has so many murder victims that it's difficult to care about them or even to remember who is who. We also don't get any explanation for why Harper was
I read this book as it was listed somewhere as a"Top twenty must-read books of the summer."
I believe it was in "Paste" Magazine, but I am not sure.
I read a lot of "book lists" because I read a lot of books.
It is billed as a "Serial Killer" novel with a twist-Time travel.
OK, I'm sold.
Bring it on!

This book tries so damn hard to be clever that it loses its focus straight out of the gate.
It is so caught up in the vehicle of "time travel" that it becomes snared in the trappings of 'contrived nuance.'
Quick caveat to apologising for not reading or reviewing so much anymore. I'm an English Lit student and it's pretty much killed reading for pleasure for me. But along came "The Shining Girls", and Karen's review compares it to "Gone Girl", one of my favourites and the big buzz book of summer 2012 and I need to get on this shit.

Then I read it.

And I don't know what's wrong with me, but it's as simple as this - I don't understand the hype.

Looking at the blurb, I do. The premise is both devilishly
Wow. Just wow.

I'm amazed at the mixed reviews that this book has received. I loved it.

A time traveling serial killer. A girl who survived his attack. She tries to put her life back together and to put an end to his murdering ways.

I felt deliciously drunk on time, as the chapters changed POV and year, but all clearly marked by the title heading. During the last several chapters, my feet were making little running motions and I kept checking to see how many pages of tension were left. That's rare.
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
I wanted to like this book way more than I actually did. The premise of it sounds wonderful. A time traveling serial killer? Color me intrigued.
The thing was this book reads so slow that I kept falling asleep.
There's a house that allows this cray cray man to travel across time. Spotting girls that "shine" and going back later when they have grown up and killing them. Brutally.
I thought the "shine" thing would draw me in since I loved that theme in The Shining and Doctor Sleep. Nope.
There are
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, first published in 2013, is fascinating, almost hypnotic, for many reasons, but emphatically because its style and subject matter makes it an odd fit for clearly defined genres. Combining elements of horror, murder mystery, thriller, crime, and time travel fantasy this book finds itself on a unique bookshelf and Beukes demonstrates her rare gift of imagination and technical ability.

Using a shifting perspective, jumping chronological narrative technique that w
My problem lately with books is that I have been generally enjoying what I've been reading, but I just haven't had much to say about them once I'm done.

Time-travelling serial killer. Bad-ass punk/hardcore grrrrl* who he failed to kill when he had the chance. Chicago.

That's my plot summary. I don't think when I was recently recommended to try to write a review in four sentences or less that is what the guy had in mind.

(view spoiler)
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

A time traveling serial killer, you say?????

I was so ready to amp it up to 1.21 gigawatts and press the accelerator to 88 MPH. But then . . . .

It’s like the author was really late for a meeting with the publishers, and while running down the hallway as fast as possible she drops the whole shebang, chapters scatter, there is no time to put everything back together in the proper order, so she makes the decision to go with whatever arra
Jul 22, 2013 Jean rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
So disappointing.

Beukes must have an incredible agent, because the buzz around this book was crazy. I expected a feminist science fiction thriller, where an alternative, parallel history of revolutionary women is wiped out by an agenda-driven killer. This book turned out to be a run-of-the-mill slasher novel with an unexplained time-travel element.

I don’t even mind that the time travel wasn’t explained. What bothered me was that there wasn’t any point to it. It isn’t as though Beukes made any i
While fleeing the law in Depression era Chicago, Harper Curtis stumbles upon the key to a derelict house with magical properties. Despite its outward appearance, the inside of the house is one of grandeur (well, except for the dead body in the hallway, but real estate being what it is during the Depression, one can't be too picky). There's a stash of cash and a haphazard collection of kitschy objects from different time periods, but that's not the only secret hidden by this house--it is also a p ...more
'Everything happens for a reason. He should be grateful. It's because he is forced to leave that he finds the House. It is because he took the coat that he has the key.'

Harper stalks his Shining Girls through time and the House helps him. He visits the girls when they are children, takes mementos from them and tells them he'll be back for them when it's time. When that time comes, he leaves their bodies with a new memento, one taken from a different Shining Girl. His goal is to kill them all, al
With a plethora of reviews having appeared already and a good amount of pre-publication publicity hype, I was both keen and intensely curious about this foray into crime from Lauren Beukes, author of the excellent Zoo City and Moxyland.

With a clever and quite unique premise The Shining Girls is something really quite different in crime fiction fare, but I almost fell at the first hurdle I must admit. Stupidly I read the first 50 pages or so in small chunks, racing to finish another book at the s
Jun 19, 2013 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of literary fiction, gore, Gone Girl
As seen on The Readventurer

Reading The Shining Girls was like reading Gone Girl all over again. Here I was, expecting an entertaining genre fiction romp, and instead I got a literary, undoubtedly well-written, but mostly boring novel that underutilized its exciting premise.

Sorry to say, but The Shining Girls is just not nearly as entertaining as its blurb leads you to believe. A time-traveling serial killer and the thrilling chase after him lead by his only surviving victim and her journalist fr
Feb 23, 2015 Apatt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf-f
A monster that sucks people's brains out their heads is far less disturbing than a serial killer that stalks and kills girls for no reason. An “equal opportunity” serial killer that kills men as well as women is also less disturbing. I don’t know much about real life serial killers but for some reason their fictional counterparts almost always go after young girls. There is a layer of unreality in the brain sucking monster scenario that makes it not at all disturbing regardless of how graphic th ...more
Joe Valdez
The next stop in my time travel marathon (November being Science Fiction Month) was The Shining Girls, a 2013 thriller by Lauren Beukes. Here's a novel I did not cotton to at all through 80 pages. It's written in present tense. It's fragmented, with a few chapters no longer than four pages. The narrative unfolds from at least four different recurring points of view and over ten total. It's a puzzle that fits together at odd angles. It was not going to be my cup of tea. That's what I thought.

Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

Lauren Beukes has been on my radar for a while but I never felt inclined to pick her books until l The Shining Girls came along with its promising conceit: Science Fiction meets Thriller in a story featuring a time-travelling serial killer and his one surviving victim looking for revenge.

In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis walks into The House to find a dead body in the hallway and a room full of mementos from dead girls. Their murders, actions he
Harper Curtis is a dirt bag. Stumbling through a pretty meager existence, Harper comes across a house that can take him through time and surprise, surprise; he enjoys his trips to the future. As with all things that can be considered “too good too be true”, there is a catch. If Harper wants to continue his journeys, he has to snuff out The Shining Girls - women in the coming years that burn with potential. It isn't until one of his victims survives that things begin to fall apart for Harper.

A ti
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
I really give this book a fluctuating 3-4 stars, so let's say 3.5 stars. It started with a great deal of promise in the first few chapters but as it went along I got increasingly frustrated, slightly bored and then annoyed at the way the book was flitting between characters and years, it had me lost in places and I was having to go back to previous chapter headings to connect the timeline dots at times.

There were some drawn out chapters that just simply were too much boring detail around certain
Jan 20, 2015 Elizabeth rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: fiction
Abandoned about half-way through.
Too scary.
Too disturbing.

I know there is a big market for this type of read and I am just not part of that market. Cutting a woman's intestines from her body? And it gets worse. Nope. Not going to go the distance. And so my attempt to read a certain type of genre comes to a screeching halt.
There's a great bit in The Prestige where the narrator describes the unspoken agreement between magician and audience, which he calls the Pact of Acquiescent Sorcery. The audience knows, of course, that what they are about to witness is not really magic. For the purposes of enjoying the performance, however, they agree to suspend disbelief. The magician also has to uphold his end of the bargain and put on a good show -- he must be deft in his misdirection, never let the audience see his hand mov ...more
He remembers doing it. He has no recollection of doing it. One of these things must be true.

Wow, this was so different. I was expecting something similar to Zoo City, which was an urban fantasy. But I should have known to expect the unexpected from Lauren Beukes. The shining girls is a SF Thriller – who else would think about writing about a time-travelling serial killer? The closest I can come to comparing it with another book is 11/22/63. There are a few big differences. Obviously the main cha
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is almost purely a horror, serial killer novel, except for the time travel element. The story is not told in linear time order, but in the order of events as the killer is experiencing them, as he goes to different time periods from a house that he believes is sending him. The killings are brutal, and he leaves clues that are so spread apart in time they are unlikely to be connected. Then he doesn't finish off one girl, Kirby, who settles into being one of the main, repeated characters in t ...more
Diane S ❄
There are many, many serial killer novels out there, but not one that is quite like this. Featuring a killer, who stumbles onto a house that lets him travel through time to find what he calls, his "shining girls." Girls that are so full of life he is compelled to extinguish their flame. How does one possibly catch a killer that can kill and then escape to another time. He does leave a few clues, and Kirby, who did not die and is the one who got away, wants nothing more than to hunt him down. I l ...more
Én ekkora szart még nem olvastam... :D Rosszabb, mint a Holtodiglan, rosszabb, mint a Kurblimadár... A legújabb anti-könyvemmé lépett elő... Értelmetlen szavak összessége, zéró magyarázat, zéró motiváció, zéró minden, néhány random gyilkossággal. Belek lógnak a fáról, de MINEK? Darabos, élvezhetetlen, és kurvára nem érdekel a háttérmunka meg a méteres köszönetnyilvánítás erről. Ki ez a Harper és miért csinálta ezt? Miért tündököltek a tündöklő lányok? Mi volt a motiváció? Mi a Ház titka??? Kirby ...more
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Lauren Beukes is a novelist, scriptwriter, comics writer, TV writer and occasional documentary maker and former journalist.

She won the Arthur C Clarke Award and the Kitschies Red Tentacle for her phantamagorical noir, Zoo City, set in a re-imagined Johannesburg.

Her previous novel, Moxyland is political thriller about a consumertopia corporate apartheid state where cell phones are used for social
More about Lauren Beukes...

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“She would disappear
folded like origami
into her own dreams”
“There are only so many plots in the world. It's how they unfold that makes them interesting.” 25 likes
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