It’s amazing how much perspectives can shift upon a re-read. When I first picked up The Raven Boys nearly two years ago, I listened to the audiobook. I loved Will Patton’s narration but had a few reservations about the book itself. Recently, I sat down with the hardcover edition, post-its and pencil in hand, determined to annotate as I revisited The Raven Boys. There were so many things I newly discovered, I grew to love it a whole lot more.
Suspense is essential to propel a plot forward. It’s what fiction is made of as readers want to know, what happens next? An effective way to build suspense is to withhold information, make the reader guess, then reveal things later. That’s exactly what The Invisible Library sought to do. However, that for me, also was the downfall of the book. Too much information was withheld, to the point that there was little for me to hang on to. Instead of wanting to know what would happen next, I found myself asking what the point was.
Seven Ways We Lie was very ambitious. With seven main characters a lot could go wrong: unresolved plot lines, not enough depth, loss of focus and characters that might be too similar. I’m glad to say that Seven Ways We Lie didn’t suffer from any of these shortcomings. In fact, the choice to integrate so many characters’ perspectives worked!
If I had to sum up The Conspiracy of Us in two words, I’d say, fun mystery. That’s exactly what it is. It’s a crime mystery that takes you from Minnesota to Paris to Istanbul. It hits hard where it has to in terms of inevitable violence. I say inevitable because that’s what villains in crime novels do — they resort to violence. As much as it is a mystery book, it doesn’t stray too close to thriller territories, so if you’re the squeamish kind, you need not worry.