Maya's Reviews > The Devil of Nanking

The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder
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's review
Jun 30, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-2011
Read from September 08 to October 07, 2011

I may have liked this book so much simply because I haven't really enjoyed the other books I've read lately. I actually avoided reading it for a long time because I thought it would be too different from Hayder's other books. The last time I forayed into one of her non-Caffery novels (Pig Island), I hated it. But this book spoke to me, partially because I recently visited China and am currently taking a class on it, as well. Though the book actually took place in Tokyo, the discussion of Chinese history and culture fit in really well with other things I have been growing more interested in as of late. I didn't think Hayder, who seems like such a quintessentially British author, would be able to pull off a book so wrapped up in East Asian culture and history. I was wrong.

Beyond the setting, I loved Grey. I didn't think I would - there were little alarm bells that went off in my head when we first met her (eccentric but beautiful with a secret - a recipe for Mary Sue), but I should have known Hayder would plow ahead with her characterization, far beyond what I would have expected. I found myself getting wrapped up in her daydreams and oddities, rather than annoyed by them. I enjoyed the mysteries in the book, and though I saw some of the twists coming, I was happy to settle back and enjoy both the thrills and the beautiful prose that Hayder so surreptitiously slips in. The book was definitely twisted, as all of her books are, but perhaps less so than some of the others. Some of the brutality in the book was implied, rather than graphically explained, bit by bit. Some readers probably wouldn't agree with that assessment, given the disturbing imagery that was actually in the book, but I didn't think it was as jarring as the first time I read Birdman, for example. Of course, I was 13, at the time...

The only thing I'm disappointed about is that I have now officially read every book by Mo Hayder, except for Hanging Hill. I'd better get my hands on a copy... but not too fast, because then I really won't have any more left to read.
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