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Isabel Allende-the New York Times bestselling author whose books, including Maya's Notebook, Island Beneath the Sea, and Zorro, have sold more than 57 million copies around the world-demonstrates her remarkable literary versatility with this atmospheric, fast-paced mystery involving a brilliant teenage sleuth who must unmask a serial killer in San Francisco

The Jackson women, Indiana and Amanda, have always had each other. Yet, while their bond is strong, mother and daughter are as different as night and day. Indiana, a beautiful holistic healer, is a free-spirited bohemian. Long divorced from Amanda's father, she's reluctant to settle down with either of the men who want her-Alan, the wealthy scion of one of San Francisco's elite families, and Ryan, an enigmatic, scarred former Navy SEAL.

While her mom looks for the good in people, Amanda is fascinated by the dark side of human nature, like her father, the SFPD's Deputy Chief of Homicide. Brilliant and introverted, the MIT-bound high school senior is a natural-born sleuth addicted to crime novels and Ripper, the online mystery game she plays with her beloved grandfather and friends around the world.

When a string of strange murders occurs across the city, Amanda plunges into her own investigation, discovering, before the police do, that the deaths may be connected. But the case becomes all too personal when Indiana suddenly vanishes. Could her mother's disappearance be linked to the serial killer? Now, with her mother's life on the line, the young detective must solve the most complex mystery she's ever faced before it's too late.

496 pages, Hardcover

First published December 3, 2013

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About the author

Isabel Allende

177 books33.3k followers
Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean-American novelist. Allende, who writes in the "magic realism" tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at several US colleges. She currently resides in California with her husband. Allende adopted U.S. citizenship in 2003.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,766 reviews
Profile Image for Federico DN.
264 reviews500 followers
February 3, 2023
The problem with being too nice, is that sometimes you let the bad ones in.

In this novel we learn the story of Indiana, a masseur and exceptional healer. Innocent, sincere, and open to life, but with several love problems. Her path invariably ends up crossing the one of an implacable serial killer. Her young daughter, Amanda, and Ripper, a role playing game, may just be the only thing that might be able to stop him.

Promoted as Allende's first mystery, in truth it appears much more to be a romance novel vaguely disguised as a crime one. A pretty entertaining read, but with some reservations. The novel takes some time to start, but after the first quarter it becomes really quite gripping, the other three quarters of the book went by in a blur. However, something that I cannot forgive Allende, is that you can't end a 400p novel in a 2p epilogue. That is just simply wrong. It practically lacks of closure whatsoever. Unforgivable. But even still, a worthy read.

[2013] [480p] [Romance] [Not Recommendable]

El problema de ser demasiado buena, es que a veces dejás entrar a los malos.

En esta novela conocemos la historia de Indiana, una masajista y sanadora excepcional. Inocente, sincera, abierta a la vida, aunque con ciertos problemas amorosos. Su camino se termina cruzando invariablemente con el de un implacable asesino serial. Su joven hija, Amanda, y Ripper, un juego de rol, puede ser lo único que pueda llegar a detenerlo.

Promocionada por Allende como su primer novela de misterio, a decir verdad parece mas bien una novela romántica levemente disfrazada de novela policial. Una lectura ciertamente entretenida, aumque con ciertas reservas. La novela tarda bastante en arrancar, pero pasado el primer cuarto del libro se vuelve bastante atrapante; las otras tres cuartas partes del libro se nos pasó volando. Sin embargo, hay algo que no le puedo perdonar a Allende, y es que no se puede terminar una novela de 400 páginas en un épilogo de 2, eso simplemente no se hace. Prácticamente carece de cierre. Imperdonable. Pero aún así, valió la pena.

[2013] [480p] [Romance] [No Recomendable]
Profile Image for Susan.
1,062 reviews200 followers
October 11, 2013
I can not tell you how disappointed I am in this book. Isabel Allende is a great novelist and I was looking forward to her foray into mystery writing. It was so bad that I couldn't believe she has written it. I puzzled whether some non-talented relative wrote this under her name. It is the only scenario that makes sense to me. It has an unbelievable plot full of holes and cardboard characters.

Let's start with the characters. Indiana is Amanda's mother and a holistic healer. She practices Intuitive massage, Reiki, magnet therapy, crystal therapy and aromatherapy. Amazingly, she struggles to make a living. She has an ample diva bosom, a blond mane sinuous curves, long lashes and the "sexiness of a gangsters' moll". Sound a little trite yet? She also dates a man who is a scion of a wealthy San Francisco family who is so embarrassed by the way she dresses that he doesn't take her out in public. Amanda is a typical geeky teen-ager who has a small group of geeky friends that meet on-line and solve crimes. Amanda's father is the SFPD deputy chief of homicide, thankfully,and provides her insider information on cases that her group tries to solve.

It's just as corny as it sounds. It gets more pedestrian. Amanda goes to a party that is raided by the police and she manages to hide out in a carton. Indiana's rich boyfriend suffers from erectile dysfunction. Indiana has the ability to heal by her mere presence. It just goes on and on. Nothing is realistic. Everything makes you roll your eyes. Will it ever get better? No. It just goes from one cliche to another. Stop it.

This book should never have published. It is certainly not up to Allende's standards and I am not sure it would pass a college composition class. It's so very sad. Please don't waste your time with it. You'll be as disappointed as I was.


Profile Image for Jenne.
1,086 reviews656 followers
Shelved as 'didnt-finish'
November 10, 2013
So. Many. Descriptions. Of. People. Have we not heard of "show don't tell"??
It was like, Indiana is a reiki healer. Amanda is a geeky teenager. Ryan is an ex-navy SEAL. Michael is a painter. Carmen is a psychic. with like, a two-page description of what they do and what they look like and who they date and what they read and what scars they have and where they live and who they're related to and what's their job and their pets and etc and etc and etc omg.
(I forgot what all the names were but you get the idea)
Profile Image for Margitte.
1,142 reviews491 followers
May 18, 2017
Isabel Allende was as always a good read. Her new adventure into murder mysteries was delightful, yet a bit drawn out and really over populated with too many characters. For each character there was a comprehensive backstory and it became too much in the end - for me. The book is 512 pages and could have been at least 150 pages shorter. It took most of the book to get all the backstories in before the murder mystery could really pick up speed. Maybe it was planned this way. Most readers had a gripe with this.

As with all her books, she introduces the loutish nature of some men, but compensates with a bunch of good, noble male persona as well. She still entertains her readers with the power of family, and a touch of mysticism in the supernatural powers around us. The women are strong and resilient, seductive, beautiful and bossy. Well, some of them. The young girl, Amanda Martín, who sleuths with the help of her her online friends through a series of real murders, was a bit too unbelievable for me.
They referred to the first murder as the Case of the Misplaced Baseball Bat, so as not to insult the victim by giving it a more explicit name. “They” were five teenagers and an elderly man who met up online for a role-playing game called Ripper.
Instead of keeping to her online game acting out in London of 1888, she moved the game to San Francisco, 2011, never suspecting that her mother, Indiana Jackson, would number among its victims, and the game would turn violent and deadly. The game became a serious real life criminal investigation. To top it off, her godmother, Celeste Roko, the most famous astrologer in California, made a 'bloodbath' prediction for the last day of September 2011.

Amanda always knew more than the police (sixteen years old?) and of course the police had to be told what to do - by her. Her father, Deputy Chief Martín, constantly had to be corrected by her, or had to report to her. It was neither cute, nor meaningful, to me. She was a nuisance, actually. But okay, it's a novel. It should be possible :-))

The circular tale starts out with Indiana Jackson missing:
"Mom is still alive, but she’s going to be murdered at midnight on Good Friday,” Amanda Martín told the deputy chief, who didn’t even think to question the girl; she’d already proved she knew more than he and all his colleagues in Homicide put together. The woman in question was being held at an unknown location somewhere in the seven thousand square miles of the San Francisco Bay Area; if they were to find her alive, they had only a few hours, and the deputy chief had no idea where or how to begin.
The way she talked and addressed her grandpa, Blake Jackson, had me rolling my eyes as well. Cultural difference. So yes, for some people she probably was cute, but for others, like yours truly, she was pirouetting on thin ice :-)

Blake Jackson, a pharmacist by profession, a book lover and wanna-be-author, decided to chronicle the tumultuous events as it was predicted by Celeste Roko in a book he planned to write. Of course his granddaughter, Amanda, would be his partner. Like they were partners in the Ripper game as well.
In his novel, he described his granddaughter Amanda as “idiosyncratic of appearance, timorous of character, but magnificent of mind”—his baroque use of language distinguishing him from his peers. His account of these fateful events would end up being much longer than he expected, even though—excepting a few flashbacks—it spanned a period of only three months. The critics were vicious, dismissing his work as magical realism—a literary style deemed passé—but no one could prove he had distorted the events to make them seem supernatural, since the San Francisco Police Department and the daily newspapers documented them.
(Ms. Allende reacts here to the media's criticism of her work)

Amanda is the main peanut in the packet in this book. Since her fourteenth birthday, she developed an obsession with Scandinavian crime novels, a morbid interest in evil and premeditated murder in particular. It worried the grandfather, but Amanda put him in his place by reminding him that he was reading it too. He could only leave her with a stern warning, but knew it would make her just the more curious.
Furthermore—now in direct breach of the rules—she created for herself a henchman named Kabel, a dim-witted but loyal and obedient hunchback she tasked with obeying her every whim, however ridiculous. It didn’t escape her grandfather’s notice that the henchman’s name was an anagram of his own. At sixty-four, Blake Jackson was much too old for children’s games, but he agreed to participate in Ripper so he and his granddaughter would have something more in common than horror movies, chess matches, and the brainteasers they set each other—puzzles and problems he sometimes managed to solve by consulting a couple of friends who were professors of philosophy and mathematics at Berkeley.
Through her father's job as Deputy Chief of the homicide division of San Franciso's Personal Crimes Division, Amanda discovered the evil in her idyllic city as well. San Francisco was no different from Sweden or Norway. The city was after all founded by rapacious prospectors, polygamous preachers, and women of easy virtue, all lured by the gold rush of the mid-nineteenth century.

All the characters in the book are revolving around Indiana Jackson, a massage therapist, surrounded by her astrologer, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and other gurus working in the same alternative health business. She is the center of everyone's love, devotion and needs. Her ex husband - Bob Martin; Her father, Blake Jackson, her daughter, Amanda, her latest lover - Alan Keller; two other admirers -Gary Brunswick, Ryan Miller-the ex navy SEAL, and even a woman, going though cancer treatment, Carol Underwater. A small network of good friends surrounded her: Pedro Alarcón, Matheus Pereira the artist with the grizzly paintings hanging all over the building, and Yumiko Sato, with her life partner Nana Sasaki. Even Ryan's dog, Atilla, was infatuated with Indiana's natural smells. He hated artificial smells and was such a sucker for natural aromas. Indiana quickly became one of the traumatized ex-war dog's favorite human beings because of that.

Attached to these colleagues and clients, are yet another few people with their own dramas and stories, such as the Farkas and Galespi families. The different murder victims also had their own backstories. And then somewhere near the beginning of the real mystery, in the last 150 pages of the book, The Wolf emerges...

No wonder Indiana disappeared. They all had a serious or slight obsession about her. She was just that kind of person...

The 'busy' novel did not always hold my attention, but I still enjoyed the author's wit and humor, her effortless way of creating the setting and getting an interesting story going. Her outspokenness is vintage Allende and was just perfect. Her social commentary, which she lavishly sprinkled throughout the character building, had me smiling all the way. She used the opportunity to make fun of many people, beliefs and institutions. I just loved that!

BUT BUT BUT... dear oh dear oh dear:........I DID NOT LIKE THE ENDING AT ALL!!!!
Ms. Allende, I love you, but this ending was unforgivable. If you do it again, I will stop reading you.

Overall though, I loved the experience. The story was a huge bag filled with often funny, social commentary, character studies (of various people), fun sleuthing, serious issues and satire. A series of murders were solved, and all the threads pulled together. Not everyone loved this book, in fact, many groupies are angry. But so were millions of readers angry with J. K. Rowling for changing course after Harry Potter. Compared to her other books, this was a light fun read with enough backbone to establish a good mystery.

Isabel Allende became famous for her highly successful books in the literary and memoir genres. The themes were mostly dark and tragic. From there she ventured into other genres such as Fantasy(Zorro), children's literature (City of Beasts), Young Adult (Maya's Notebook), historical fiction (Ines of My Soul, and Island Beneath The Sea). This latest shift into mystery was a bit sidetracked by her love of character studies and family dramas. It felt as though she almost forgot about the mystery! Of course she did not. I do think she might have to consider streamlining her tales, removing the excess characters and their stories, if she really wants to become a serious mystery writer, which she clearly is not. She even said this in the book.

Hopefully Isabel Allende will not stop writing great books for many years to come. She is just unique.

I remain a devoted fan!
Profile Image for Jean.
Author 11 books18 followers
February 5, 2014
I read in the NYTimes book review that Isabel Allende had a good time writing this, her first "mystery" novel. She might have had a good time, but I didn't. I put it down after the first 100 pages, because the story hadn't really started yet. The book was poorly written and full of quirky characters. Every time some action got started, Allende would stop and do backstory on one of these quirky characters. I gave up and looked at the ending. Reading the last chapter, I'm glad I didn't waste my time reading the entire book.
Just one example of lazy, uninteresting writing: At page 156, she starts a chapter by going through the morning of Ryan Miller, an ex-serviceman, and his dog Atilla. None of this has any relevance to the plot. At page 159, he goes to a private swim club and sneaks the dog in. His training is detailed, along with a conversation with the trainer...At page 162 he has a confusing confrontation with his friend Indiana (a woman). The only sentence with any meaning in the whole chapter comes at the end, when she says, "I think someone's spying on me, Ryan." I'm not a practiced novelist, but I could have made this chapter so much better-and shorter.
If you're an Allende fan, you'll probably like it. Not me. A waste of time.
Profile Image for Carol.
822 reviews477 followers
January 3, 2014
Ripper grabbed me from the start with this line "Mom is still alive, but she's going to be murdered at midnight on Good Friday.". Racing through its last pages an earthquake couldn't dislodge me from my seat. An entertaining good read with a game worked into the plot.

Looks like I'm going to be the rogue reader here. I really liked Ripper and here's why.

Allende does characters studies well and those in Ripper were solid if a bit quirky. I liked them, wanted to know them and cared about what happened to them. I particularly liked the main character, Amanda. Like Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley I found Amanda a smart thinker and fun. Amanda's older but quite wise and her team of sleuths are interesting associates. Her grandfather describes Amanda as "idiosyncratic of appearance, timorous of character, but magnificent of mind". Agreed.

Second most liked character is the Purebred Belgian Malinois, Attila, "smarter and stronger than German Shepherds, and they keep their back straight, so they don't suffer hip problems." A former war dog, you'd not find a more loyal companion. He was rescued by a former navy seal, discharged honorably after he lost his leg in combat. "Attila had been trained to defend and attack, to sniff out mines and terrorists, ward off enemies, parachute, swim through icy waters, and a variety of things that were not much use in civilian life." Long after Ryan, the seal, had been discharged, Attila was severely injured by a bomb, expected not to survive but not left behind as in battle "you never leave a fallen comrade behind" Now eight years old, the murders gave him a new purpose in life.

Allende is a storyteller. There are a few skips in plot and some stumbles but all in all I enjoyed the story.

Allende's stories always include some magic realism and there's enough of this here for me.

One reviewer turned up his nose claiming Ripper could only satisfy an undemanding reader. Guilty as charged. Most fiction I read fits this bill. If I want demanding I'll find it somewhere else. I read primarily for my own entertainment, not to make it work.

I loved the idea of a group of teens playing a role-playing game that soon becomes a race to find a modern day ripper let loose on San Francisco. I wanted to play and hope I'm invited if there is another book.

Translated from Spanish, Ripper originally was to be a collaborative effort of Allende and her husband, Willie Gordon, but that was seen as a fast road to divorce.

My sincere thanks to Harper Collins for allowing me to read this before it's publication date of January 28, 2014
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,852 reviews35k followers
February 22, 2014
Busting with terrific-vibrant- San Francisco life energy!

Multiple stories within the 'THE STORY' ...

Engaging Interesting Characters!


****POWERFUL subtle messages**** . In a world of crime, murders, drug trafficking, hustlers, poverty, disabilities, broken relationships, fear, loss, grief, etc.....
"The Only thing that can heal people is Love"!

Profile Image for Kyle.
727 reviews24 followers
April 30, 2017
Um. Yikes.

So, this is clearly an Allende novel because her style and voice as an author are so distinct. There is no doubt in my mind that she wrote this book.... and that is what is most shocking. Isabel Allende wrote THIS book.

This is a crime novel, not a mystery, but a crime novel. If you are expecting a who-done-it, or spot-the-murderer type of book, then definitely go elsewhere. This novel is about the process of crime investigation... which has never been a prevalent theme in Allende's writing, so why all of a sudden, did she chose to go down this path?

It is so far out of the author's wheelhouse, and good for her for taking risks, but in no way is this a successful novel. It has overly detailed and complicated characters; pages and pages of backstory, for every single person mentioned, that derails the story and forces the main plot into a far distant, easily forgotten place in the reader's mind. The book starts off describing a chilling and bizarre crime that instantly grabs your attention... But within five pages, the focus is yanked away, never to return. This book is so bogged down with character study that there is barely a discernible plot for 99% of the novel.

A tremendous flop. And good for Allende!! If you are going to take a risk, do so without compromise. She wrote a crime novel and she did it on her own terms and it is an awful, awful read. Kudos.

Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,331 reviews451 followers
February 10, 2017
Don't read it for the mystery, read it for the things which make an Allende novel so rich and satisfying: a large, diverse cast with complex backstories and complicated relationships. Solving the mystery is the driver of the plot, but it isn't compelling in the way that Amanda's relationship with her family is. The teen characters playing Ripper together aren't explored very deeply. But the adults are. There are the divorced but amiable parents, their respective partners, their parents, their siblings, friends, co-workers...

Whodunnit is a piece of cake, but why is the story.

Library copy
Profile Image for aPriL does feral sometimes .
1,844 reviews420 followers
July 21, 2014
There are a number of problems in reading this book.

The Number One problem is Upfront Bald-Faced Lying in the marketing of the book.

1. The title has nothing to do with the contents of the book on any level. It supposedly is the name of a video game. However, the video game is never played or used as a clue or ever referenced again after being used to explain how a club in the book starts. 'Ripper' references nothing about ripping or anything knife-y which occurs in the book. Instead, it is used as the name of a kind of meek role-playing club which meets online to figure out 'real life' crime. The crimes the club tries to solve are actually based on stolen inside information that the leader of the club, Amanda Jackson, who is either 16 or 17 (her age is given as both in different places in the book, but since she is going to college soon and it mentions her almost being 18 several times, I decided that the earlier reference to her being 16 was an editing error) acquires. Her father, Bob Martin, is a deputy chief of homicide in San Francisco, and it's his information that Amanda 'rips' off, although Martin could care less when he finds out, and he actually provides Amanda with whatever she wants to know later. These are the only two possible reasons I can think of to use the title, 'Ripper', neither of which is one that a buyer of the book will assume is the reason to use it. All of the publisher's advertising about the book says this novel is a murder mystery, so everyone, including me, thinks it's about a serial killer who uses a knife like Jack the Ripper, the famous London 19th-century serial killer. Not.

2. The book is being advertised as if it were a genre mystery. Not! It absolutely is not! It is a mild, mannered, friendly, easy-going, romantic-comedy, chick-lit novel for 400 pages. It actually had me on the path of thinking this was a family-oriented Romance genre author attempting to write an Armistead Maupin book, such as 'Tales of the City', only a lot less interesting, dramatic, engaging or cute. A defined mystery finally becomes important at page 400 or so, but until then the mystery reader must be satisfied with quickie peculiar murders, which pop up every ten chapters or so, that the characters completely ignore or briefly converse about (the Ripper Club). The murders NEVER impact anybody or anything, having absolutely no intersection with the life of any character in the book. In fact, whenever anything mysterious or murderous pops into the universe of the book, it is only noticeable in how it quietly tiptoes away.

3. Amanda Jackson is billed as the amazing blazing wunderkind at the center of the book, girl detective. Instead, she is a peripheral character, barely on stage. She's a nice girl with an occasional walk-on part. The end.

The plot:

Indiana Jackson is an 'earth mother' of the type who includes a tremendous amount of New Age beliefs and customs in her life and philosophies, but strictly of the urban fantasy kind. She runs a small massage healing business utilizing aromatherapy and meditation in San Francisco, and most of her friends are astrologers, mystics and acupuncture specialists. Her daughter Amanda, her father Blake Jackson, her ex-husband Bob Martin, an ex-Seal Ryan Miller and his war dog Attilla, and various other relatives, friends of relatives, clients and small business owners revolve in and out of Indiana's social life, interacting in a variety of romantic comedy cute meet-and-greets. Amanda grows up under all of this slightly unconventional but warm love so that she is spunky with her mom, dad, granddad and wants to start a murder club with some of her 'Ripper' online video game friends.

The club itself serves as bridge to move the plot forward occasionally. They put information together about some murders which they miraculously link up, but half of the time, it didn't matter. Three times what the club comes up with only serves to help the club members think about possible connections, but ultimately they and their conclusions are meaningless to solving the crimes because the information they figure out is already out there on some level and either the cops or other people have it as well. When they do figure stuff out that's important, cool, because the story briefly begins to have a heart beat. However, the information wasn't acted on except for the last two bits of stuff they figured out, near the end of the book. By this time, I was already wondering what was the point of this club? Sorry to say, but it was more of a chick-lit social club to discuss the poor health of most of the members than anything else, and a way for Amanda to playfully bully her beloved grandfather, Blake. Amanda and Blake really are quite charming together. But every member is a walk-on and forgettable.

The club members are all damaged - physically disabled, suffering from cancer, socially shy, etc. They met each other through the online game 'Ripper'. All of them have ridiculous avatars, which seems to be a point of the book, although it doesn't ultimately mean anything. The author includes them as if they will be people who matter, but they don't, except to be able to pass on a vital fact around page 450.

There are several characters who annoyed me terribly. One character who may have been written in for the purposes of a red herring, or a lovable crank, or comic relief, but all I know is I was strongly hoping she'd be a murder victim by page 50 - Celeste Roko, astrology consultant. She annoys half of the other characters in the book as well, but to no real purpose.

I was not real happy about a heroine character either - Indiana Jackson, Amanda's mother. She is one of those ridiculous people who think massage and smelling flowers cures everything except cancer. Unfortunately, she is the center of the book. We readers are supposed to adore her. I didn't. The blurbs on the cover of the book reveal she disappears, and Amanda marshals her mystery team together to save her. This is SO misleading and wrong!

A number of strange murders happen. Bob Martin is in homicide, but he has no idea they are connected. After all, there are a lot of murders in San Francisco. Amanda figures it out by no means I can see, and puts it to her video playing friends to think about. Meanwhile, her gorgeous mother Indiana is at the center of a circle of women and men who are fascinated by her. All of them are mesmerized by her full figure and unaffected unadorned personality. After she massages them, they want nothing more than to follow her around, call her, date her or be her friend. She believes she cures their aches and pains through massage and aromatherapy, but they think it's the being with her that gives them peace. So, for 400 pages we see how these various Indiana-enchanted folks intersect their lives with Indiana, meeting for coffee, competing for her hand in lust, etc. When there are 75 pages left to read, Indiana finally disappears. The 'Ripper' club figures out a clue, Amanda calls Ryan Miller and Martin, and everybody bumps it up a little into a thriller, with an identity mystery cleared up that I had figured out by page 200 simply because of a certain character's social weirdness.

I'm not a genre martinet, ok? If new authors or established literary novelists want to try genre writing or escape an author hell of writer typecasting, that's ok with me. I don't freak because Stephen King writes literary horror books, and I easily rate with a clear conscience many mystery novels five stars while giving literary classics and award winners of prestigious prizes three stars or worse. Books are a subjective experience in the end, right? Right?

That said, this book is ok, but it's messed up. If you ordinarily like gentle family-friendly chick-lit, this might shock you horrifically with the free-floating scenes of brief and unattached, and two incidents of unnecessary, murders. I suppose you can skip those pages. If you wanted a mystery, this book will bore you to death. I recommend avoiding this book. If Romance is what rings your bells, this book will massively disappoint you by the end. Again, I'd recommend avoiding this book. While there is gentle humor, and perhaps some sharp-elbow but underdone digs at the California New Age milieu, there is no real literary- or gutter- satire or irony. Literary readers will be scratching their heads. Isabel Allende is an experienced award-winning literary writer of many many books, and she has millions of fans. If there was anything metafictional or illuminating of the human condition in this novel, I missed it. If anything, it's mostly a chick-lit read, but not for the sensitive. I frequently see reviews where some readers are upset by a single scary mild attack by a bad guy, or throw a book out with the garbage at the first 'darn', yet strangely, those readers would like 2/3rds of this book, I think. However, they would be throwing up their lunches every 50 or 70 pages by the murders, which, by the way, are not really graphic.

Well. In re-reading what I wrote, I guess I'm saying everyone will be disappointed by this book, but with completely different complaints and disappointments. Bravo, Isabel Allende!

The Marketing Department of Harper Collins should be ashamed of themselves.
Profile Image for Elise.
834 reviews62 followers
February 22, 2014
Sorry Allende, I just can't read this one. I gave up due to so many shortcomings--shallow, two-dimensional characters, a plot with an identity crisis, and no audience awareness. Who is the target audience of a book about grisly murders and YA gamers that references Eva Perron, Charles Dickens, and 1990s-style new age spirituality? I have no idea, but it's certainly not me. I feel so disappointed, so let down, as I have read every one of Allende's previous books and loved each and every one with the exception of "Maya's Notebook" which was nowhere near equal to the stellar quality of her historical fiction and magic realist works that preceded it. I did, however, slog through "Maya's Notebook" out of respect for one of my all time favorite authors. But as the saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." With that in mind, I gave this one my 50 page test (well 10 extra pages, since it *is* Isabel Allende after all), then stopped at p.60, because life is simply too short to read books that aren't great, and my to-read list is miles long, so I am moving on.

One strange, lightly veiled, autobiographical quote from "Ripper" stood out:

"Blake Jackson was a pharmacist by profession, a book lover, and a frustrated writer until he finally took the opportunity to chronicle the tumultuous events predicted by Celeste Roko. In his novel, he described his grandaughter Amanda as 'idiosyncratic of appearance, timorous of character, but magnificent of mind'--his baroque use of language distinguished him from his peers...The critics were vicious, dismissing his work as magic realism--a literary style deemed passe--but no one could prove he had distorted the events to make them seem supernatural since the San Francisco Police Department and the daily newspapers documented them" (25-26).

It sounds like Allende has an ax to grind with some critic who didn't appreciate her brand of magic realism. My question, why on earth would an author as talented, accomplished, and successful as Allende give a damn about what some clueless and ill-informed literary critic thinks? However, judging from what she said in a recent interiew, she has internalized this criticism that magic realism is passe so much that she has let it adversely affect her latest books. What a terrible shame. And if magic realism is passe, don't tell Eowyn Ivey ("The Snow Child"), Alice Hoffman, Toni Morrison, or countless other contemporary authors who are still turning out beautiful and engaging magic realist works.

Is "Ripper" possibly a brilliant metanarrative, making fun of the kind of crap contemporary audiences want? If so, I guess I will never find out, because I was just looking for a good Isabel Allende novel--richly and historically atmospheric, "baroque" to borrow Allende's term (well written using big words?), with deeply complex and sympathetic characters. "Ripper" has none of these qualities. When I first found out that Allende's new novel was called "Ripper," I thought is was historical fiction retelling the tale of Jack the Ripper, and I imagine that's the kind of story Isabel Allende would masterfully tell. Maybe that could be her next novel...
Profile Image for Snotchocheez.
595 reviews319 followers
October 30, 2016
2 stars

In Isabel Allende's Acknowledgments for Ripper (which to me almost come off, really, as a mea culpa for her 500 page genre buster), she indicates that this was a 2012 project idea by her agent to have Allende and her husband (evidently an author himself, though good luck finding anything about Willie Gordon on Goodreads) to collaborate on a 'Crime Novel', but that they quickly realized "the project would end in divorce". (Prophetic, given their separation announcement a scant two years later). Ms. Allende, with her husband's guidance, went ahead with the novel anyway.

I always applaud the effort of an established author to think outside the box and try something new (it's what led me to Ripper in the first place), but it becomes immediately clear that Ms. Allende is really out of her element here. Without her bailiwick of magical realism, she flounders. She seems to know her San Francisco ( Ripper's setting) pretty well, but building suspense, establishing a creepy story, developing characters (for both the protags and the potential 'bad guys') are qualities that sputter here. I never really could "buy" the premise here: an online gaming group of six (called "Ripper") culling the headlines for lurid San Francisco murders and competing (I think) to solve the crimes before the police do. Even if this is a real phenomenon, Ms. Allende has no clue how to "sell" this group (of mostly teenagers) and make them believable. We're supposed to believe (thanks to the "game master", a high school girl named Amanda Martín, and her relationship with her father, a SFPD chief investigator) that these teenagers (oh, and Amanda's grandfather) have the investigative wherewithal to outwit the murderers and the police/FBI. It kinda reminds me of a half-baked (YA stalwart) Cory Doctorow novel (though you're not likely to find murder victims sodomized by baseball bats from Doctorow, for instance). Anyway, we learn in the prologue that Amanda's holistic healer mom (named Indiana...really) is abducted by a lycanthropic psychopath, and that they have until midnight to find the culprit who's made off with her.

It's been well over two decades since I've read Ms. Allende's House of the Spirits (which I remember liking a lot, though I couldn't begin to tell you why), but I remember enough to know that Ripper isn't even remotely close to exhibiting the grace and nuance of her first novel. It's almost as if Ms. Allende herself was abducted (like the victims in Ripper) and forced to write this to save her own life.

The entire 500 page endeavor felt forced and contrived, and though she wrote an obligatory Acknowledments section, I think she'd agree with me that this was pretty bad, and one project she'd just as soon forget and move on.
January 24, 2016
What a busy book! But although there was so much going on, it was not hard to keep track of everything and everybody - unlike some books I have read.

Amanda is the odd one out in her family - she takes after Blake, her maternal grandfather. Strong-willed, feisty and eminently practical. She has a strong curious streak and heads an internet group "Ripper", an online mystery game she plays with her beloved grandfather and a select group of friends scattered around the world.

Her mother, Indiana, is a holistic healer, and definitely does not have her feet firmly on the ground. Free-spirited, she has a giving nature, an eclectic group of friends, abhors deception and has several men in love (or sometimes lust) with her including Alan the wealthy son of one of San Francisco's elite families, and Ryan, an emotionally and bodily scarred Navy ex-SEAL.

When a string of strange murders occur, spread across the city, Amanda is convinced that they are connected and the Ripper group sets out to solve them ahead of Amanda's father, the Chief of Police.

When Indiana suddenly disappears, the Ripper group know they are racing against time to save her from the clutches of the murderer they have named "The Wolf".

This is my first ever Isabel Allende.....what a beautiful writer! Her characters are all too human, fleshed out so that we know so much about them they could almost be family. She is descriptive, but doesn't waste words. I don't believe there is one sentence I would cut from this book.

An exciting read, and this an author I intend to read more of.
Profile Image for Linda.
334 reviews14 followers
November 15, 2014
Fortunately, after having read some negative reviews of this book, well, many actually, my local librarian recommended it to me and I decided to toss all caution to the wind and give it a try. I'm very glad I did as I thoroughly enjoyed it and have concluded that the book is getting a bad rap.

First to dispel the preconceived notions. This book does not even come close to resembling the much loved and admired House of Spirits with the exception that it is written by Isabel Allende who has such a beautiful writing style. For those of you who, after 30 years, are still pining away for another House of Spirits, I would recommend...drumroll...re-reading House of Spirits. It has been 30 years. I'm sure you've forgotten as much as I have.

This book is also not a thriller, nor fast-paced.

Yes, it does have a plethora of characters, the majority if not all of whom are parodies of themselves, all with detailed backstories. For me, that was a feature and not a bug as it was pure reading pleasure. Wouldn't you rather play the game of Clue with all 8 characters? It makes it much more fun to sleuth. And who wouldn't laugh at the healer whose favorite patient was an arthritic poodle? Or the mother who when interrogated by the police, denied her son was on drugs..."well, only the marijuana...and some kind of crystal stuff?" I found it all very humorous and entertaining.

The mystery itself is not quite as engaging as it does tend to get mired down amidst all of the drawn out characterizations. I loved the premise of the Ripper online gamers solving the real-life crime. Unfortunately, the "who?" in the whodunit is glaringly obvious. There were some minor twists and clever turns that were satisfying, but if the book falls a little short, it is with the mystery. That being said, I would recommend giving it a try. It will either grab you like it did me...or it won't.
Profile Image for Ismini.
31 reviews19 followers
July 31, 2019
Βοήθεια! Η Αλιέντε έπαθε μετάλλαξη κι έγινε ατάλαντη, απόλυτα κλισέ, ανυπόφορα απλοϊκή, βαρετή... ξέχασε να γράφει!
Στο εξώφυλλο αναφέρεται πως "η Αλιέντε μεταπηδά από τον μαγικό ρεαλισμό σ' ένα ασθματικό θρίλερ που αποδεικνύεται σκέτη μαγεία". Not... Ας ξεκινήσουμε με το εξής: εγώ περίμενα πως θα διαβάσω ένα θρίλερ μαγικού ρεαλισμού, γιατί μου φαίνεται περίεργο ένας συγγραφέας που γράφει με έναν συγκεκριμένο τρόπο να σηκωθεί μια ωραία πρωία και να πει "θα γράψω εντελώς διαφορετικά", πόσω μάλλον να πει "θα γράψω εσκεμμένα μια μπαρούφα σαν να μην έχω ξαναγράψει ποτέ στη ζωή μου". Έχω φτάσει να αμφισβητώ ακόμα κι ότι πρόκειται για την ίδια συγγραφέα που έγραψε το σπίτι των πνευμάτων. Αλλά ακόμα κι αν ξεχάσουμε το συγγραφικό της παρελθόν, και αντιμετωπίσουμε το βιβλίο μόνο ως ένα αστυνομικό θρίλερ, η κατάσταση δεν αλλάζει, πρόκειται για ένα κακογραμμένο, ανόητο βιβλίο. Θρίλερ δε, δεν είναι σε καμία περίπτωση.
Η ιστορία μπάζει από παντού, είναι γεμάτη ασυναρτησίες και έχει ως κύριο θέμα όχι τις δολοφονίες στο Σαν Φρανσίσκο, αλλά εφήβους που μιλάνε ως ενήλικες, φέρονται σαν πεντάχρονα και για κάποιο λόγο που ποτέ δεν κατάλαβα θεωρούνται ιδιοφυΐες, και γονείς που φέρονται ως έφηβοι. Καλά, το γεγονός ότι υπάρχει μια διαδικτυακή παρέα από 17χρονα στην οποία συμμετέχει ένας παππούς θα το χαρακτήριζα στην καλύτερη ανατριχιαστικό.
Δεν θα μπορούσα να μην αναφερθώ στο ότι αυτά που περιγράφει δεν συμβαίνουν πουθενά!!! Ποιος αξιωματικός της αστυνομίας μοιράζεται εμπιστευτικές πληροφορίες για την πορεία των τρεχουσών ερευνών για ειδεχθείς ανθρωποκτονίες στην κόρη του και τον πρώην πεθερό του;
Και τέλος η αστρολογία... Κάπου στις τελευταίες σελίδες προσπάθησε να το σώσει, αλλά δεν σώζεται όταν έχεις γράψει νωρίτερα το κάτωθι απόσπασμα και χωρίς να προκύπτει από πουθενά πως πρόκειται για ειρωνεία: "Το αστρολογικό προφίλ που είχε φτιάξει η Σελέστε Ρόκο δεν έδειχνε να έχει ο Ράιαν Μίλερ δολοφονικές τάσεις- ένα χαρακτηριστικό που αναμφίβολα, θα φαινόταν στον αστρολογικό χάρτη ενός ανθρώπου ικανού να κάνει τόσο τρομερές πράξεις."
Δεν περιγράφω άλλο...
Κλαίω τα λεφτά μου και τον χρόνο μου..
Profile Image for i..
331 reviews33 followers
January 18, 2014
At the age of 71 the great novelist Isabel Allende has published her first suspense and crime novel. After reading an interview in El Heraldo last year, I could hardly wait for the book to be launched.According to the newspaper,after writing Maya's Notebook, she thought about working alongside with her husband and writer William C. Gordon on a crime novel.However, the collaboration didn't last more than 24 minutes since both of them had different ways of working.

The idea of the name Ripper came to her mind after seen her granddaughter playing a role game called this way.

I confess that the style change of the author took be aback at first and I really didn't feel like reading a crime novel , nonetheless, having been written by Isabel Allende, I had to read it , at least begin it. I was right , I was hooked form the very first page.

At the beginning of the book the author narrates an extremely bizarre and horrible murder but in a very entertaining way and surprisingly funny.The characters, just like in all the novels by this author constitute a universe in themselves, and their descriptions are so well developed that whole books could be written about every single one of them.

Amanda Martin, the master behind the role game, her grandfather Blake Jackson, Amanda's mother Indiana Jackson with her peculiar job as a healer, her ex-husband, police inspector Bob Martin, the godmother and seer Celeste Roco (who looks like a chubbier Eva Perón ) and Indiana's varied clientele , such as Miller ,a former Navy Seal and many more. All of them are an important part of the universe created by Isabel Allende which unravels gradually as you go on reading. The author reveals details of their lives which are terrible, original ,weird and fun at the same time. Once you meet these literary characters , they become people you would really like to know in person .

I like Amanda very much for her ability to survive (four years in a religious school) , her bright mind, her way of thinking outside the box and her funny habits. She has a virtual boyfriend (currently under the effects of adolescence) Bradley,with lemon-green hair due to his many hours under the swimming-pool water and who is a keen sci-fi reader.

Blake is the ideal grandfather all grandchildren would love. He runs a Chemist's and devours books. In fact he ends up becoming a writer himself and narrating Amanda's adventures.,

Indiana Jackson is desired by several men because of her looks and her good heart which gets her in a lot of trouble . I really dislike Alan Keller, her lover , who is ashamed of her in public and enjoys her company in private.

Bob Martin , Amanda's dad and former football player has learnt with the help of a stubborn Mexican mother the importance of becoming a responsible and mature person.

The book is divided into months and by March the number of murders has increased and the plot is getting more and more complicated. The end of the book has more action and less character description. I went back to the beginning of the novel and the first paragraph made sense .

I was relatively surprised by the outcome of the book, I saw it coming in a way but still found it very interesting.

In my opinion, what really makes this book stand out is the world created by the author around the characters.It is not an action-packed thriller where characters run to and fro like crazy chasing the bad guys . It is in many ways a very deep novel about what life is like : pain, good, evil and love . I laughed and shed some tears with the book, I loved and loathed some characters.It is indeed a book worth reading.

Isabel Allende has received many awards for her successful career as a writer. Her readers are innumerable and we all want just another book, please and then another one and another one.

Opinión en español en http://theleisurediaries.blogspot.com...
Profile Image for Uhtred.
249 reviews11 followers
July 14, 2022
Isabel Allende is certainly not a writer known for her thrillers and in fact this is not a canonical thriller. The plot revolves around two women: Indiana, the mother, and Amanda, the teenage daughter.
Amanda has an above average intelligence, beats anyone in very difficult games and has a real obsession with the criminal world, investigations and the disturbed psyche of serial killers; she is not very happy with her peers and instead has a good relationship with Blake, her maternal grandfather who shares with her the passion for Ripper, a strange online role-playing game she invented and which hinges on the story of Jack the Ripper .
Indiana is a very beautiful and sensual hippie, divorced from Bob, Amanda's father and head of the San Francisco homicides; she works in a holistic clinic (?) and has a lover. Why did I define “strange” the online game Ripper? Because it is a game set in the London of Jack the Ripper and has only 6 players, scattered all over the world and who only know each other virtually, "playing" to be detectives.
At some point, there are strange murders in San Francisco that apparently don't seem related to each other; Amanda, however, who, as I said, loves the dark aspects of killers, proposes to the other Ripper players to change the scenario of the game and set it in San Francisco in order to investigate these murders closely. Amanda saw it right, even before the police, and slowly it turns out that the crimes seem to have a connection and that a serial killer is behind them all. One day Indiana, Amanda's mother, also disappears, and it seems that this disappearance is connected to the killer but only Amanda seems to understand something; only she seems to understand that the common element is the figure of the Wolf and it is precisely the symbol of the wolf that leads the players to understand the true identity of the killer. In the first hundred pages of the book, the story seems almost conceived as a book for teenagers but then the intellectual part of the game comes out, with its fascination for crime and justice. The rhythms are raised and also all the parallel stories that at a certain point we no longer understand what they are for, prove to be important for understanding the ending.
Aside from the idea of the online game, the storyline isn't very original, but it's still well organized.
Allende does not fall too much in the easy truculent scenes and diverts our attention on psychology and investigation: this on the one hand is good but on the other hand perhaps is not, given that there is too much reasoning and little thrill, to be able to define Ripper a great thriller. Well, maybe the publisher, on the back cover, could avoid making this book look like a great thriller worthy of Agatha Christie or Clive Cussler or James Patterson…. The story (even if 500 pages long ...) however is very enjoyable and exciting, without moments of boredom (which often are not lacking in Allende's books). But we understand very well that the thriller is not the field of Allende and you almost want to tell her.
Profile Image for Paulina.
40 reviews9 followers
January 11, 2014
Isabel Allende no es que me guste, es que me apasiona. Sé poco de infinidad de cosas pero sí sé de su literatura, me he leído todos y cada uno de sus libros y, algunos de ellos, varias veces. Pero si no justifico jamás el juego del Madrid (por poner otro ejemplo de mis grandes pasiones) tampoco puedo justificar el que, sin ningún tipo de dudas, es el peor libro de todos los que ha escrito hasta la fecha. Ripper es demasiado larga para lo que cuenta, carece de intriga en la mayor parte de sus páginas, con un desarrollo de los personajes, a todas luces, innecesario.
En esta novela parecen convivir dos Isabel: la que se limita a escribir con cierta desgana esta historia "de misterio" y la que lucha por salir a la superficie, es decir, la Isabel que se ha hecho mundialmente famosa y a la que muchos admiramos. Su primera incursión en novela negra le ha venido inmesamente grande, no está cómoda y se nota. Y, para colmo, hay algunos aspectos que son imposibles de creer. En fin... el 2014 empieza con una decepción literaria de las gordas. Aun así, su lugar como mi escritora favorita está a buen recaudo.
Profile Image for Kike.
250 reviews51 followers
March 26, 2017
La primera novela policial de Isabel Allende me decepcionó por que es el ya clásico realismo mágico de Allende, solo que con muertes y un asesino, pero la mezcla no le sale bien esta vez.
La novela es innecesariamente larga, la descripción de los personajes es tediosa, te describe la niñez hasta de la vendendora del mercado que no viene ni al caso en la historia. El suspenso se pierde entre tanta paja, pero creo que lo que la hace mala es el tufo a realismo mágico y a novela costumbrista que no encaja bien con la novela policiaca. Los giros de tuercas son muy absurdos, los personajes hablan todos igual: como salidos de El Plan Infinito o La Casa de los Espíritus y hay parrafos que saben a viejo, a anacrónico y a empolvado.
Un libro al que le sobran espíritus y le falta emoción.
Profile Image for Floripiquita.
1,327 reviews150 followers
December 28, 2019
Se me ha hecho un poco cuesta arriba este libro, que si no fuera por el #Popsugar Challenge nunca hubiera leído, y eso que Isabel Allende es una autora que conozco bien y con la que suelo disfrutar.

La primera incursión de la autora chilena en el género policiaco o de misterio no está a la altura de sus otros trabajos. Le cuesta arrancar y, aunque es cierto que al final se vuelve más entretenido y la resolución me ha gustado, la trama no se centra en los asesinatos sino más bien en la vida de Indiana y quienes la rodean, se ve venir quién es el asesino de largo y he echado en falta, tras tantas páginas de paja al inicio, un cierre/epílogo más extenso.

#Popsugar 2019 Reto 48: Un libro acerca de un juego de rol
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,067 reviews222 followers
November 16, 2016
3.5 stars

I had some trouble getting started on this book but once I did I tore through it. It has some flaws and I had several quibbles but it was still a really fun read. I have read reviews where it is criticized for telling and not showing but I like Allende's storytelling style and her sometimes overly long descriptions of characters. The relationship between Amanda and her Blake (her grandfather) was terrific and I really loved Indiana she was such a great new age hippyish character.
Profile Image for فهد الفهد.
Author 1 book4,727 followers
April 1, 2019
لعبة نازع الأحشاء

محاولة ايزابيل اييندي لكتابة رواية بوليسية مع زوجها المتخصص في هذا النوع، قادتها إلى إنجاز هذا الكتاب الذي استفردت فيه بعدما اختلفت مع زوجها كثيراً، لم تقدم اييندي رواية بوليسية جيدة، لأنها كتبتها بذات الروح الأمومية التي تكتب بها أغلب أعمالها، وهذا النوع من الأدب لا تناسبه هذه الروح.
Profile Image for Diane.
485 reviews17 followers
August 13, 2015
This is a 1 1/2 star read for me. I read it for my bookclub or else I would not have stuck it out to the end. The writing could have been worse, but it also could have been much, much better. I scanned the last 50 pages just to say I finished it at our meeting next week. :-)

There is one thing that I cannot stand is a character that can do no wrong. Unless it is a fairytale, I like my characters to have real weaknesses and faults. It really gets under my skin when an author creates a character like Indiana that is completely perfect despite having a quirky character. Allende made her sound like the essential oil saint. I cannot count the number of times I rolled my eyes while reading yet another description of Indiana's sainthood. She made do with hardly any money; was always there when her friends and family needed her; could heal patients just by touching them; she never watched what she ate but kept her perfectly voluptuous figure; every man wanted her as soon as they saw her, etc. etc. Give me a break.

Plus, her relationship with Keller was a complete mess. It didn't even make sense. So.....they were in love and dating for 4 years. However, they were not actually in each others' lives and had nothing in common except for having sex in motels. To top it all off, they were even embarrassed to be seen with each other. WHAT?!?

Then, that Ripper role playing game. It was really just Amanda and her grandfather, Blake, getting information from Amanda's dad that happened to be the chief of police. Then, Amanda and Blake let the other players know what was going on. I suppose a couple of the characters did some Googling of facts and one girl had some psychic tendencies. It was a side story to the real story and was, yet again, another misshapen piece that somehow fit into this illogical puzzle of a book.

I saw the poor reviews going into this book, but sometimes I am better off going in with low expectations than high ones. It is harder to be disappointed that way. Unfortunately, I was still disappointed. I started writing this review with the book rated at 2 stars, but I have now changed my mind. 1 star it is.
Profile Image for Sofia Teixeira.
594 reviews126 followers
May 24, 2020
Muitos de vocês perguntar-se-ão como é que é possível, mas a verdade é que até à edição portuguesa de O Jogo de Ripper, nunca tinha lido nada de Isabel Allende. A sua fama precede-a em completude, porém ainda não me tinha despertado aquela impulsividade que nos faz experimentar um novo autor. Ao ler sobre esta obra e ao constatar que os temas oscilam entre a natureza humana, o obscuro e o romance policial, fiquei curiosa sobre a forma como a autora conjugaria estes elementos. Achei a sinopse interessante e lá me aventurei. Gostei muito da experiência.

A trama foca-se à volta da história de vida de Indiana. Apesar de não ser a principal protagonista, Amanda e Ryan dividem esse papel com ela, acaba por ser a força motriz que despoleta toda a acção final. Tudo começa com uma série de homicídios que nada parecem partilhar ou ter em comum. Ainda assim, com a sua personalidade muito própria e de gostos peculiares, Amanda, o avô e o resto do grupo de Ripper, unem esforços e raciocínios para desvendarem estes crimes. Enquanto estes começam a descortinar certas coincidências que à primeira vista estiveram fora do alcance da polícia, a vida de Indiana vai ficando cada vez mais confusa, numa oscilação de emoções e crises sobre de quem realmente gosta e quer ficar. Até que um dos seus pretendentes é encontrado morto e a partir desse momento a sua vida nunca mais será a mesma.

Com personagens interessantes e bem construídas, O Jogo de Ripper prima pela forma sublime com que Allende tece o destino de cada uma. Não sendo completamente imprevisível, consegue deixar o leitor suspenso, ávido por consumir página atrás de página numa tentativa sôfrega de adivinhar o derradeiro final. Com um ritmo que nem é frenético nem custa a passar, entre o romantismo e o mistério, o crime e a insanidade, o amor e a paixão, Isabel Allende explora várias emoções e comportamentos do ser humano. Mostra-nos que certas motivações podem levar a actos descontrolados e que a capacidade de sacrifício surge naturalmente quando é alguém que amamos que se coloca em causa.

Uma experiência que quero repetir, esta de ler Allende. O fim deixou-me algo transtornada, mas ao mesmo tempo admirada e com respeito por a autora fugir aos fins convencionais do "no fim tudo fica bem". Mais uma excelente aposta da Porto Editora.
Profile Image for Harley.
Author 10 books95 followers
December 29, 2015
Contrary to some negative reviews that I have read, Ripper by Isabel Allende is a fantastic novel. Allende tells the story in a circular manner which seems to bother some people but it is story telling at its finest. The story keeps circling around the characters and slowly expands the world the story inhabits. This style of storytelling is not normally seen in mystery novels. I first discovered the style when I read the novels of John Irving who wrote one of my favorite novels, A Prayer for Owen Meany. It took me several attempts before I actually read A Prayer... and the same may hold true for people who attempt to read Ripper.

This is the third novel that I have read in the last 2 years that was written in the circular storytelling style. In 2014, I read Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan and in 2013, See Now Then by Jamaica Kincaid. All three books received negative criticism for repetition which means the reviewers did not understand the style of storytelling. Circular storytelling, which can be very poetic in the right hands, builds the story through repetition and slowly drawn the listener in.

Sometimes it is better to listen to circular storytelling than reading it on the page so I recommend that potential readers consider the audio version. I wager you will like it better.
Profile Image for Jess.
210 reviews
July 21, 2015
Nothing like anything else Allende has written. But still a beautifully written story and a great read.
Profile Image for Chaitra.
3,231 reviews
April 11, 2014
I've read worse books, to be honest. But this one is an all-around fail, so I'm not going to rate it any higher. This is my first Isabel Allende book, and I'm aware she has a fantastic reputation as a magical-realism author (one of my favorite genres). It bugs me that I had to start her oeuvre with this turkey.

What was wrong? Let me see. The main premise of the book is supposed to be a series of murders in San Francisco that a bunch of smart teenagers come together to solve online. It's there, alright - the murders, the RPG. But, mostly it's the story of a lady everyone and their mother is in love with called Indiana. And Indiana is every clichéd thing I hate in fiction. She has a try-too-hard name, she's so innocent butter won't melt in her mouth, but at the same time as voluptuous and sensual as Susannah from Susannah and the Elders, can heal with her mere presence, is so trusting and good and caring, doesn't care a whit for the money she doesn't have. There were times when I physically wanted to shake her into using some common sense. I'm sorry, but this sort of crap is something I cannot deal with for 500 pages, not even in an excellent book, which this is not.

The mystery is abysmal too. The twist is something I didn't see coming, despite there having been just two real suspects. But that twist is so lame that I really thought that maybe Allende was having us on. . It's that lame. I didn't like the set up either - it was all too convenient. Amanda, Indiana's daughter and Ripper gamesmaster, happens to have an especially indiscrete dad who is the Deputy Chief of Homicide. He gives away police records and autopsy reports like candy to his daughter and father in law (who is also involved in Ripper). How ethical is that? The murders had so many surface similarities that I also couldn't believe that SFPD wouldn't even think about putting them together until Amanda the Clever told them to.

The worst possible mistake the book makes though, is in telling this story. A typical chapter starts of with an exchange between two characters, and then Allende goes on a tangent and explains about an irrelevant backstory of the two characters which is uninteresting to boot. This is boring, takes away from any action. Most chapters seem to have only filler material, nothing that advances the plot. All in all, it's a waste of time. I don't think Isabel Allende should have written this book. 1 star.
Profile Image for Sanda.
156 reviews82 followers
November 10, 2014
Whenever I am about to write a "not so great" review it pains me to no end. I have a great amount of respect for the process of writing and for the writers themselves. And to complicate things even more Isabel Allende is one of my all time favorite authors. The way she plays with words, the themes and stories she creates stay with me long after I've finished reading the book. I knew that Ripper would be a departure from her usual style and genre but I embraced the idea of that change. Yet in the end it felt like such a struggle just trying to convince myself to finish this book.

Amanda, one of the main characters and the designated sleuth is supposed to be 17 years old yet I had to keep reminding myself of that fact because for the most part the character was described as so immature that it felt like she was closer to 12-13 than 17. The game Ripper revolves around a group of teenagers interested in solving crimes so I initially thought that maybe the book will lean more towards Y.A. Then at other moments it sounded as if the book is targeting primarily adult audiences. Almost as if the story itself could not decide what genre to follow.

The pace of the story was excruciatingly slow and each time I found myself even remotely interested in the mystery part of the book, it would end up going on a tangent about something completely unrelated. I learned way more about the background of each one of the characters than about the crimes. Instead emotionally connected to the characters I found myself thinking - "Alright already, I really don't care. Can we get back to the story now?".

The biggest source of my disappointment was the fact that I kept questioning the fact that Isabel Allende's name was on the cover of this book - it just did not seem possible that she would write something of this quality (or lack thereof). The writing felt so choppy and unfocused that as I mentioned before it took a lot of effort not to give up altogether on reading the book. I did soldier on but in the end the only positive thing I can say about the whole affair is that it might potentially make a decent TV show. I still love and respect Isabel Allende, but I wholeheartedly hope that she will go back to writing such unforgettable books as The House of the Spirits.
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