Geraldine's Reviews > The Burning Air

The Burning Air by Erin Kelly
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it was ok
bookshelves: crime, read-english-at-oxbridge, 2015

It seems mean to give this only 3 stars when most of the elements would point towards a 4 star rating. edit: reduced down to 2 by the time I finished writing this!

I certainly enjoyed it. I read it pretty much in one fell swoop, which illustrates its page turning qualities. It's a story that rattles along. Not written or read as an exercise in English Lit, nevertheless I felt the gallop to the finish was more important than the journey - making the 'page turning quality' a double edge sword.

The book was about the MacBride family as victims. Unfortunately, I couldn't feel any great sympathy towards this family. They were types - the type of people you'd avoid at a social gathering, for their smugness, not a great companion to pointlessness and mediocrity. The book was diminished by its underlying snobbery - they were essentially a family of special flowers who couldn't possibly mix with the locals or attend normal schools but managed to be underachieving despite their privileges. Sophie in particular was really quite unpleasant, without ever being interesting enough to be horrible. Just smug. An unreal family who revelled in their unity and lacked any tensions or irritations among them that might have lent a spot of realism.

The book also featured Darcy, who is the narrator of probably half of it. I must admit, until he changed his name, I assumed he was a she. I think the story of his childhood and his relationship with his mother was designed to evoke pity or empathy, but I found it entirely implausible and quite badly thought out. Oh, and it contained that amber flag for me - 'read English at Oxford'. I mean, Zzzzzzz. How many authors use this one? It's just laughable. In fact, the whole character of Darcy was implausible, from his behaviour as a teen, his meteoric rise to wealth, his occasional but not habitual extreme violence, and the obsession/motivation for the crime.

Yeah, it's actually quite annoying because it actually wasn't a very good book at all, the literary equivalent of binge eating through a large packet of crisps followed by a box of processed cakes - you kid yourself you're enjoying it but if you stop to think afterwards your gut reaction is one of self-loathing.

I've previously loved The Ties That Bind and The Poison Tree but this is just down market junk, a cheap thriller with no insight into the human condition, because they're all so preposterous.
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Reading Progress

November 29, 2015 – Started Reading
November 29, 2015 – Shelved
November 30, 2015 – Shelved as: crime
November 30, 2015 – Shelved as: read-english-at-oxbridge
November 30, 2015 – Finished Reading
February 2, 2016 – Shelved as: 2015

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