Life happens. We’ve all heard this before. Well, it’s true. Life happened. Consequently, I wasn’t able to start The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, BUT I was able to finish In The Woods. Since I can’t give a review of Dragon Tattoo, I’ll postpone that book for next week’s reading…which starts now.
Anyway, In The Woods. I ranted about it on my Goodreads account (SERIOUSLY CHECK IT OUT). Overall, I was very disappointed. I’d give this book one star. I’m not quite sure how this happened, but the book won the Edgar Award for best first novel by an American author. Hmm. I’m gonna list the major issues I had with this book:
1. The writing style–too much description, not enough expression. The author could have easily SHOWN the relationship between two characters instead of stating it. It made the book choppy and hard to read.
2. The writing style part 2–the main character actively involves the reader. The first sentence starts out with directions to “picture a summer” that is filled with unnecessary description. AGAIN. Personally, I’m not a fan of that style. Also, it is never defined who the character is supposed to be conversing with. Was his intended audience actually us, the readers? Or was there an unmentioned character to whom he was telling his story? This doesn’t create suspense or drama, it leaves the reader confused.
3. Characterization–sometimes the characters seem to change personalities. Cassie–the main character’s partner–for example, is described repeatedly as this kickass, cool, level-headed lady. Then a couple chapters later, she’s running in circles, skipping, and doing random cartwheels on the beach. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
4. The previous case–the summary clearly explains that the story revolves around a detective who was the sole survivor of a previous case in 1984. This case is central to the story until it just…drops off the storyboard. It’s never solved and doesn’t even come to a definitive end.
5. The title–usually titles reveal something about the story. I thought the title of this book sounded mysterious, intriguing, suspenseful, perhaps even magical. NOTHING HAPPENED IN THE WOODS. Besides being noted as a landmark for scenes, there is only one instance where the main character goes in the woods. And nothing conclusive happens. Even in the end, there is no significance placed within the woods. This seems to happen with a lot of details in this book: there is a lot of build-up but no connection.
6. Other leads–as a crime novel, there is bound to be several leads and suspects. But usually the go somewhere; otherwise they would have been discarded. There were several possible leads that carried over the entire story arc. Then they all just stop. Seriously. It’s all very choppy and uncoordinated. Then, out of the blue, the answer explodes with all the evidence they need. They call it a “breakthrough”. No.
7. Relationships–the main character and his partner have a SOLID relationship. Despite the corny descriptions and observations the character makes, it’s obvious that they’re close. Then something small happens, and they NEVER TALK TO EACH OTHER AGAIN. What? No! That’s like if you and your best friend bickered and decided the only way to fix it was to end your relationship. It was unnecessary.
8. Relationships part 2–after the main character and his partner stop talking, there’s a random hookup between the partner and this…guy. WHO ARE YOU? I mean, he’s been in the story, but always as this background character. Never really taken seriously. And then randomly (and I mean it, there was NO build-up for this) they get engaged. I don’t even…
9. Relationships part 3–I don’t know what the author’s problem is but I think she needs to talk to a counselor about her relationship issues. The main character mentions in passing that he’s had several hookups. He has creepy thoughts about a relationship with one of the characters who’s only about 18. He’s just this weird guy, but it’s never been made a big deal. It’s just like a “Uh…that’s odd. Okay next page” type of deal. So why is it so important that at the end, he hooks up with this OTHER background character but she tells him he’s fucked up? I think he’s a bit narcissistic and attention-seeking, honestly. There was no need to add that little tidbit in; it didn’t add to the quality or story-line of the book.
I think that’s about it for my rant. The only good thing about this book was that I couldn’t put it down until I figured out the case. I think that quality comes with the genre, though, and isn’t unique to this one book.
Off to start my next book…