REVIEW: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

REVIEW: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Hello, lovelies!

I hope you’re having a lovely weekend! This week has been a busy one for me, so I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to blogging as I would have liked. I turned 24 on Wednesday so I’ve been celebrating with friends and family (and lots of amazing food!)

Its back to business this week starting with this short review of Ruth Ware’s best-selling thriller In a Dark, Dark Wood.

 

GoodReads Synopsis:

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

 

My Thoughts:

Unfortunately, this book was as clichéd as it sounds. I don’t like writing negative reviews and I want to stress before I go any further that reviews are subjective, I have read other books by Ruth Ware in the past and enjoyed them and I don’t doubt that I’ll read more of her work in the future but this one was just not for me.

I really tried to enjoy this book, but I found that it was often overly dramatic and unrealistic. The pacing was good and the twists and turns of the plot line did keep me reading but I wasn’t invested in the story or characters. There were a lot of characters who all had their own back stories and problems which Ware used to keep the reader on their toes, but I think this added unnecessary complications to the plot. I didn’t particularly like or care about any of the characters, particularly the protagonist Nora who was so useless and dull.

I don’t want this review to be all negative, so I’ll finish with this. One thing I did like about this book was Ware’s writing style and how she switched back from present to past tense throughout. I think this worked well to build the suspense leading up to the big reveal and it kept me interested despite the problems I had with the characters and plot twists.

If you’re a fan of thrillers or Ruth Ware’s writing, then you should definitely consider reading this book. It might not have been one of my favourites but hopefully, you’ll enjoy it more!

Thanks for reading! Have you read this book? If so, let me know what you thought in the comments below!

ARC Review: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek by Anthony O’Neill

ARC Review: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek by Anthony O’Neill

Hello, lovelies!

I hope you’re all having a relaxing Sunday! This week’s review is on Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek by Anthony O’Neill, a sequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (which if you haven’t read, you definitely should!)

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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GoodReads Synopsis:

“Seven years after the death of Edward Hyde, a stylish gentleman shows up in foggy London claiming to be Dr. Henry Jekyll. Only Mr. Utterson, Jekyll’s faithful lawyer and confidant, knows that he must be an impostor – because Jekyll was Hyde.

But as the man goes about charming Jekyll’s friends and reclaiming the estate, and as the bodies of potential challengers start piling up, Utterson is left fearing for his life … and questioning his own sanity.”

 

My Thoughts:

I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek and I still wasn’t sure how I felt about it after I finished it.

The story picks up from where Stevenson finish, following the aftermath of Mr. Hyde’s death and Dr. Jekyll’s not so mysterious disappearance. O’Neill carries on the story from the perspective of Utterson, Jekyll’s lawyer and close friend. However, the Utterson in this story is almost unrecognisable from the Utterson in Stevenson’s classic.

Having read some other reviews on this novel, I have noticed that the change in Utterson’s character has put people off this novel entirely but for me, this was one of the things that worked so well. O’Neill is carrying on the exploration into the duality of human nature. The Utterson we see in this story is the dark side of his character.

From the moment the ‘imposter’ arrives, Utterson becomes unhinged almost, distant from reality and vicious in his approach. His determination to unmask this imposter initially seems to be driven by the desire to protect his old friend’s legacy but as the story goes on, we start to see this is more about what Utterson stands to lose if the imposter gets away with it. He was set to inherit all of Jekyll’s estate, but the return of the imposter threatens this.

Utterson faces an internal battle. On the one hand, he doesn’t want to look greedy or suspicious to those around him but on the other hand, he has made plans for the Jekyll house and he believes he knows with certainty that Jekyll is dead. His inner struggle with his anger and rage lead to the outwards spiral of his sanity. As Jekyll did when he became Hyde, Utterson becomes unrecognisable, albeit in personality rather than in physical appearance.

Although O’Neill made his characters very different, he stayed true to the tone and setting of the story. From the first few pages, you are immediately immersed in Victorian London. O’Neill expertly continuous the gothic tone of the story which reads exceptionally well. His descriptions created vivid pictures in my mind and I found myself completely wrapped up in the story at times which I loved.

The one thing that let this book down for me was the ending. It was unnecessarily told from the perspective of a character we had barely taken an interest in and it felt rushed and messy. However, because this is quite a short book and was really easy to get into, I didn’t feel like I’d wasted my time. Overall, I would still recommend reading this if you’re a big fan of Jekyll & Hyde or Gothic literature as I did enjoy reading it and it really didn’t take too long to read (Also, just look at that cover!)

Thanks for reading! Have you read either of these books? If so, let me know what you thought in the comments below!

ARC REVIEW: Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

ARC REVIEW: Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

Hey, lovelies!

I would like to start by saying thanks to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review. Somehow my amazing luck with ARCs continuous as this is another positive review!

GoodReads Synopsis:

‘Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.

Just as he did to her.’

 

My Thoughts:

I want to start by saying that thrillers are not one of my favourite genres of books however, I had been in a bit of a reading slump and a fast-paced thriller is the perfect cure for that and Jane Doe did not disappoint.

This is probably the only thriller that I have ever read that hasn’t left me feeling slightly disappointed. I always devour thrillers as I can’t wait to find out what happens in the end and then when I get there I almost feel deflated. However, the ending of Jane Doe was brilliant. It perfectly wrapped up the story and was that satisfying kind of ending that you never saw coming.

Another reason I don’t usually love thrillers is that the protagonist is always insufferable. They are usually female and suffering from alcohol addiction, mental health issues or with some dark secret from there past which makes them unstable and unreliable. Jane, on the other hand, was such an interesting character. She is a self-diagnosed sociopath incapable of understanding or feeling emotions in the way that others do which makes her such a multi-dimensional character. She also had all the power in this story. We learn quite early on in the book why Jane is set on ruining Steven’s life, but we don’t know how she will do it which is why I think this book works so well. We’re not trying to figure out the whodunnit, we are trying to figure out how far Jane is willing to go.

I also found myself laughing out loud at times when reading this book which is definitely not my usual response to reading a thriller. Stone’s writing is brilliant and extremely witty in parts. I read this book on my Kindle and I found myself highlighting so many quotes so I thought I would include some of them in this post just to give you a taste of Jane’s voice:

“Frankly, fictional people appeal far more to me than real people do. In fiction, the choices have to make sense. The timeline proceeds rationally.”

“Erections and guilt can’t exist in the same place”

“After all, everyone knows that women are responsible for how men behave. If we’re not careful, they might decide to take what they want. They can’t help it. But somehow I’m the one with the psychological impairment.”

“Their penises are God’s divining rods, searching out evil.”

The whole book is narrated from her perspective which works brilliantly. Stone invites us into the mind of a sociopath, but she is a sociopath that the reader ends up rooting for. I would even go as far as to say I liked Jane. Stone set’s Steven up as such a vile character that I almost wished I could join Jane in making his life hell but deeper than this was that Steven is a character that far too many women are very familiar with in real life.  This makes his demise all the more satisfying.

This book is available to buy now and I would definitely recommend this book if you’re into thrillers (or even if you’re not as it was such an interesting read). I really hope Stone considers making this into a series so we get to read more about Jane!

 

Thank you for reading! Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!