“People don’t change,” Nina said bitterly. “They just get more punctilious about hiding their true selves.”
Published: July 30, 2015
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Pages: 308 (Paperback)
There was something strangely naked about it, like we were on a stage set, playing our parts to an audience of eyes out there in the wood.
In a dark, dark wood
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.
I’m not going to lie to you all, I honestly purchased this book based solely on the cover and title. The artwork is minimal yet striking, and gave me a creepy feeling that made me want to devour the book on the spot. It helped that the reviews were all very promising, some claiming this was the best book of 2015. I’ve been on a total mystery kick since I read K.A. Tucker’s masterpiece He Will Be My Ruin so I decided to give this a go.
Needless to say, it didn’t meet my expectations.
The book starts off slow, agonizingly slow in fact. It’s not until around page 100 that things start to pick up, and even that building is slow. It didn’t help that I wasn’t particularly in to any of the characters. Flo was a nut job, Nora was brooding and boring, and everyone else just seemed off. There were a few tense parts that had me wondering, but the actual creepiness and crime happen in about a five to ten page span. The beginning of the book is a giant flashback all about the start of the hen weekend with a few pages of the present mixed in, and then the crime happens, then the last half of the book is all about Nora in the hospital trying to remember what happened and failing miserably. It made the whole book seem long and unnecessary, it was so odd. It was like ninety percent of the book was just useless knowledge, nothing really happened.
I kept reading simply based on the fact that I wanted answers, and even that didn’t grant me a bit of relief. I felt the ending was very predictable, and I hated it. Absolutely hated it. There a few parts toward the end where I was like “Oh, shit” but even that only happened two or three times. For all the rave reviews this book was getting I was hoping the ending was a complete shock, but it was so very predictable.
The writing was excellent though. Ruth Ware definitely has a way with words and is a very skilled writer, that’s what is earning her the two stars (or roses, in my case). Despite what this review may sound like, I didn’t hate this book. I thought it was okay, it just didn’t live up to my expectations based upon the cover and the reviews. If the ending had been different, if the book didn’t spend so much time on unnecessary parts, and if the murderer had been a different person I can see this book being fantastic.
This was just a miss for me, but I’m currently in the middle of Ware’s next novel, The Woman in Cabin 10, and I’m enjoying it immensely. It’s too early for me to say this with certainty, but if you’re interested in one of Ware’s books skip this one and start with The Woman in Cabin 10.
Other novels by Ruth Ware