Author: Hannah Jayne
Published By: Sourcebooks Fire
Expected Publication: 5th July 2016
I received this book for review for free from Netgalley, this in no way swayed my opinion of the book.
First off, I would like to thank Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for allowing me to read and review this book, this was my first ever ARC in any format so I was quite excited about reading it! I really liked the premise of the book, which was why I requested it and for the most part the book did live up to my expectations, though I can’t say it’s my favourite mystery thriller that I have ever read. I liked the opening, the opening had me hooked and I was really excited to see where the book went.
After the opening however, the pace through the book was pretty slow. This is quite common for mysteries, the pace does tend to slow in the middle and doesn’t really build up until the climax. I did find that it lagged slightly, but because the mystery was intriguing and I had questions all the way through, I was kept intrigued and kept reading, which is the mark of a decent mystery. The chapters at first were very short, and that kind of irritated me, I don’t mind short chapters but these were only a few pages long. I felt the pace was better towards the end of the book, there was a mix of longer and shorter chapters and that worked better for me, although the chapters were never much longer than ten pages. I had a lot of questions through the story and whilst most of them were answered by the end, some of them weren’t and that frustrated me because in a stand alone book, I prefer to not be left with any questions at the end, especially when it’s a mystery, I like everything to be tied together.
I’m not sure exactly what I think of Bex as a character. I felt sorry for her because obviously she’s had a very hard life, but she was incredibly naive and I think someone in her position would have been a little less trusting. She was a relatable teen though, her struggles with her identity (albeit without the serial killer dad part), are definitely relatable to any teen as we all kind of struggle with that at that age and I really liked her struggling to let go of her old identity of Beth Anne and embrace her new identity of Bex and eventually realising that she just has to accept that Beth Anne will always be a part of her. I would have liked her to maybe have a little more depth though, I felt like I never really got to know Bex as a character. In fact none of the characters really had all that much depth to them, they definitely could have benefited from a bit of fleshing out. The author does seem to hint that Bex has some kind of anxiety disorder, or at least that’s what I took from reading this book and I do appreciate seeing an MC with anxiety as it’s not nearly common enough.
The romance in the book seemed entirely unnecessary, it was just there for the sake of it and whilst I appreciate that the author was showing Bex’s attempt to be normal, she had literally only talked to her boyfriend once before he started calling himself her boyfriend. They were kind of sweet, but I couldn’t really get invested in it because it was so out of the blue and not at all developed.
I did however appreciate that Bex’s foster parents were a big presence in her life. They seemed like great people (and I felt really bad that I suspected them at one point in the book, but I guess Bex’s paranoia about everyone got to me) and foster parents are not something you see very often in novels so I appreciated that they were there and that they were supportive of Bex and wanted her to be their daughter (there aren’t that many people who want to take in a seventeen year old!). It’s refreshing when parents/parental figures are present in their child’s life in YA because it doesn’t happen very much! I also liked that Bex didn’t have a bitchy relationship with her female friends, I love it when girls are good friends to each other! I liked that her friends were cheerleaders but they weren’t bitches, because that stereotype is so overused!
Hannah Jayne was very good at creating a sense of paranoia and anxiety through the book, Bex’s fear was palpable and I could feel the same sense of paranoia that she felt through the book, wondering who the Wife Collector was and who was killing the girls and who was following her and was after her, that was very effectively done. There were some errors through the book, name changes, missing words, grammatical errors but since this is an ARC and therefore uncorrected, I will forgive that.
I liked the flashbacks because they filled in some of the background of Bex’s life that we didn’t get but I still felt like I could have used more background on how Bex turned from Beth Anne to Bex and what happened in the intervening ten years before she lived with Denise and Michael. I also felt like some of the transitions into the flashbacks were a bit clumsy and could have been smoother. The ending of the book was little cheesy but I’m glad that it hinted that Bex could finally have a normal life and her issues with her dad were resolved. There were a few red herrings about the serial killer through the book, but in the end in it ends up being the expected character.
Overall I did quite like the book, but it’s not the best mystery that I’ve ever read and I could have done with answers to all of the questions I had rather than just some of them and the characters could have done with more fleshing out, but it’s a decent read, very suspenseful and could probably be finished in an afternoon. It’s a solid YA mystery, probably better for those new to the genre than those well versed in it.
My rating: 3/5
My next review will either be of A Darker Shade of Magic or of Nevernight (another e-ARC I have from Netgalley), which I will be starting today.