2.5 stars Okay, let's get one thing out of the way: this isn't really a book about a plane crash and survival. I mean, it is, technically, but it's ac2.5 stars Okay, let's get one thing out of the way: this isn't really a book about a plane crash and survival. I mean, it is, technically, but it's actually more of a romance, with the accident as a major precipitating factor. (view spoiler)[Precipitating! Hah. (hide spoiler)] It's sort of in the vein of men-writing-hardback-books-about-feelings like Robert James Waller or Nicholas Sparks. Unfortunately, not only does the "plane crash survival" aspect not deliver, the romance doesn't really deliver either.
I was about this halfway through listening to the audiobook, when I realized
a. exactly where the story was going b. there wasn't much time left, so this was...it. There wasn't anything more to what I was listening to.
What I mean by "this was it" is that the whole endeavor is extremely limited in scope. From the simplistic plot to the rather one-note characters (all secondary ones are there solely to prop up the main ones; problematic anywhere, but especially in a downed-airplane story) to the thing you discover at the end that's supposed to be a surprise, it all felt underdeveloped and underwhelming.
I do think the basic structure was a good choice, you could tell there was a reasonable amount of research put into it, and the authors have a certain gift for writing internal dialogue that keeps you interested. (Until you realize the character doesn't have that much to say, to be sure, but still.) This is the first novel written by The Apprentice guy with another person, btw. Which is sort of odd, especially since they named one of the minor characters "Bill."
Anyway, I'm mostly disappointed because stories of survival, people foraging for food and such are like catnip to me, and this had very little that was viscerally appealing. The mechanics of survival were there, but I didn't feel the deprivation and elements and fear and suffering that I should have. Two books featuring plane crashes that do this better: HATCHET, and a romance by Linda Howard called UP CLOSE AND DANGEROUS. Neither of which get the fancy hardback treatment, it should be noted. I don't mind at all that the book turned out to be about a relationship and a single unanswered question, but it still wasn't nearly as emotionally resonant or as surprising as it was trying to be.
Audio notes: I liked the narration by Julia Whelan and the other actor, whose name escapes me at the moment but I'll add later. Their performances probably helped with my not noticing what was lacking for some time. The choice to have the unnamed male narrator mostly bookend the audiobook was also an effective one.
An audio copy was provided by the publisher for review....more
I was initially suspicious when I saw there was a new Pooh book. But then I saw the photo that proved that Christopher Milne had a stuffed penguin asI was initially suspicious when I saw there was a new Pooh book. But then I saw the photo that proved that Christopher Milne had a stuffed penguin as well, which helped to inspire one of the stories!
Started off pretty well, but eventually it became apparent that the characterizations would stay flat and the plot would stay underdeveloped. This booStarted off pretty well, but eventually it became apparent that the characterizations would stay flat and the plot would stay underdeveloped. This book just seemed sillier and sillier and less sincere as it went along, which are the last things I'd want to think of a story about child kidnapping, rape, and imprisonment. I've read plenty on such scenarios, both fictional and real, and ranging from serious explorations to pulpy airport paperbacks, and this one scales low whether you're judging on writing or thrills or compassion or insight.
Ugh. I feel such dislike at this particular moment that I think the 2 stars are rather generous. We'll see if they stay intact. If you're at all interested in this book, I'd suggest reading Living Dead Girl instead.
A finished copy was provided by the publisher for this review.
Also, what is it about terrible thrillers and their penchant for having the villains be obsessed with dolls? It's not even creepy as it's meant to be, it comes off like a ridiculous attempt to manipulate reader reactions rather than anything based on real menace, research, or emotion.
It's no exaggeration to say that you've been, as a whole, my favorite publisher for my entire reading life. Your G.P.Putnam's Sons imprinDear Penguin,
It's no exaggeration to say that you've been, as a whole, my favorite publisher for my entire reading life. Your G.P.Putnam's Sons imprint has also published many distinguished authors and books, among them the classic LORD OF THE FLIES and Liane Moriarty, one of my recent favorites.
How disappointing it is, therefore, to find a book like THE GIRL BEFORE in your slate this year. The premise for this thriller is intriguing--a young woman finds out her husband is not what she thought--but the execution is an embarrassment. The characters are cartoony, the heroine is unbelievably naive (unsympathetically, frustratingly so), the action is sketched in, the suspense is non-existent (you know from page 2 pretty much what has happened to the MC), and the writing is painfully, excruciatingly simplistic. I understand fully where the story is going, but I just don't care enough about these people, and am so annoyed by them, that it's not worth the effort to continue. And a subject like child trafficking deserves better treatment than this.
This book would be an irritation for someone who paid for a pulpy mass market paperback or even 99 cents for a self-published book, let alone one who forked over $15 for trade paperback from a top 5 publisher, with all the editorial discernment and help that that entails. For that price, the story and writing need to be stellar.
Please reconsider your standards for future releases of this kind. This effort is unworthy of Penguin Random House, and frankly, it's a breach of my trust in you.
P.S. A completely unironic hat tip to the art director responsible for that eye-catching cover, as well as to the marketing people for that terrific blurb. It contains more coherence and intrigue than the book by far.
I like the story, and I usually really like Jorjeana Marie's narration, but I find the broad, exaggeratePutting this audiobook on hold 8 chapters in.
I like the story, and I usually really like Jorjeana Marie's narration, but I find the broad, exaggerated accent she's doing for this 1920s book too distracting. I keep picturing a little girl playing dressup/make-believe imitating gangster/mob movies. :/ I guess I'll try to get ahold of the book eventually......more
After an uneven start, this became surprisingly entertaining, though it's not a "good" book by any stretch of the imagination, mostly because of the aAfter an uneven start, this became surprisingly entertaining, though it's not a "good" book by any stretch of the imagination, mostly because of the abundance of humorless, meant-to-be shocking sex.
But it's enjoyably sociopathic (or psychopathic, depending on how you interpret the MC's behavior), and it's an interesting/different thriller because of its backdrop of stolen art, expensive clothes and meals, money laundering, and assorted hustlers. I was surprised to see the door left open for another installment, as I think the character has run her course? But another bag of potato chips would be hard to resist.
Great plane reading if you have a weakness for thrillers featuring thoroughly shallow and unpleasant people. ...more