As I started reading the first chapter unfold and then finish with such a eerie, disturbing, "oh, fuck" moment that was just perfect, I was hooked.
In the middle I had some solid thoughts about what was going on and what was going to happen. At that point it started feeling a bit slow but it was still good. It was still intriguing.
The ending was...not really satisfying. On one hand, I don't want the "everything was okay and they all lived happily ever after since the villains were vanquished", on the other hand I felt it needed more resolution. It's hard to explain without giving anything away. Hmm....okay, say for instance there's this story, right? The main character is trying to get everyone to see "the light" and get rid of "the darkness". We go along this journey and the story ends with the main character revealing "the light" to everyone and they finally see "the darkness" for what it is. That's great! But what happens after? Do people embrace the light, fight it or flee? Does the darkness end, stay or get away unharmed? What happens?!? The main character's current main focus is done but the story isn't. Since I haven't read, heard or seen anything to suggest a sequel to this book, I feel...blah about the ending. I get not wanting to drag the story out further, leaving some room to maybe continue, letting the reader wonder and that it felt like a good place to end the book. I get it, I just don't particularly like it in this case. Now, if I knew this would be a series instead of a stand alone, I'd be okay with it.
I disagree about the pace being "racing" fast. I feel it was slow. With the reader getting information, events and clues before Nora does, Nora is constantly playing catch up. She's like the epitome of an amateur detective and it gets dull waiting for her to get it together. I think this caused the slower feeling to me. While there were moment of "Well, finally!", "It's about time!" and frustrated "OMG, it's so obvious." during the middle (mainly) and (somewhat) during the end, I still enjoyed the ride. There was just so much information given; those with the knowledge, memory, and experience can put together the mystery before it's revealed. Which, understandably, can cause the book to feel too slow, too obvious and fall flat.
I'm in the middle. While I felt it was slow, I was hooked in and patient. While I felt somethings were obvious and grating how long it took Nora to put it together, there were other things I didn't see coming. While I loved the writing and most of the characters, not all of the relationships, actions and people made sense. While the opening chapter was gripping, the final scene felt bland. Which is why this book is enjoyably average.
I agree with other reviews about Ned & Nora. I went from confusion to hesitation to out right resistance about their hard to define relationship.
I really liked Nora's character progression with Dugger. Dugger is a great, memorable, stand up, stand out character that doesn't feel gimmicky at all. I really appreciate that. It was rather refreshing.
I really liked the writing and the style. It's detailed, enveloping, gloomy, moody, questioning, atmospheric feeling. Maybe it was too well done because I was mostly numb, tingly pins and needles feeling from the snow and cold instead of being really involved emotionally. I was caught up with Nora's stumbling, bumbling, numbness so I wasn't that emotionally attached. I didn't really get the "heart pounding, nail
biting, thrilling" feeling. I was more riding along to find out the answer to the mystery but that's about it. It's like a thriller without the thrill. The cozy mystery without the light humor. The contemporary without the heart-string pulling impact. So it comes off feeling like a solidly average mystery.
I think of this book like quicksand. If you can move slowly, calmly, and not fight against the unfolding events things should turn out fine. Worse case scenario is a bit of sand in uncomfortable places.
If you thrash, struggle, fight and try to race out like a bat out of hell, this book isn't going to have a happy turn out.
In my opinion anyways.
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