After a break we had a bumper Book Club where we met to talk about the three books that were chosen as our March and April reads. I only actually managed to read two of the three books because April was a reading slump month for me and I barely managed to read anything at all. With that in mind, I won’t be talking about one of the books in this post because I didn’t read more than three pages and that’s not enough to write a balanced report on! (The third book was Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron, if you were wondering.)
The first book I read was Storm Front (Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher so I will talk about that one first here.
Storm Front is the first book in the Dresden Files, an urban fantasy crime series that I have heard a lot about over the last few years but never picked up.
Overall, Storm Front read a bit like the work I read from my classmates in final-year university – it was far from bad, but had quite a few issues. A few moments where things happened because it made the story easier or where things were clearly put in just for laughs and ended up feeling a little awkward.
That aside, the world-building was really good, it felt solid and well-thought through. The magic was convincing and knitted neatly into the universe without feeling forced or unbelievable.
The story was interesting enough – a double murder that can’t be explained by science, forces the police to turn (somewhat sheepishly) to Harry Dresden, wizard PI, for help. There was nothing too surprising in the story and I figured out the culprit before the big reveal but that didn’t make me want to stop reading as the characters were interesting enough to hold their own.
I laughed out loud more than once, even at the things that were clearly shoved in ‘just for laughs’ – something about the style of writing and Harry’s character had me totally charmed.
From reading up on the series, it seems that this was an early piece and the writing matures and improves through the next few books, really coming into its own at around book 4. I am very tempted to pick up the next couple if I can get my hands on them – unlike a couple of other members of Book Club who found it all too forced and not to their taste.
For me, Storm Front was a solid 3.5*, with a leaning towards the fourth star.
Next up, I read Tell No One by Harlan Coben which is an American crime novel.
This was not my favourite crime novel ever. It was a super easy read that was perfect for dipping into whilst the kids were in their swimming lessons and so on.
It was also very dated. The characters were all very stereo-typical and the main character saves his emails to a floppy disk at one point which is kind of adorable!
There were plot holes by the dozen – all of us who read it spotted them – and the final twist of the book…? Well, put it this way, we all agreed that if it was a paper copy then we would have torn out the final chapter before handing it on to anyone else. Maybe also adding a post-it note saying ‘I fixed it for you.’
The ending was pretty satisfying and everything made sense, I’d kind of enjoyed my murder-mystery romp, and then I read the last chapter and it undermined everything the narrator had said from the start and made me say ‘WHAT?!?!’ out loud in disgust. It was a twist for twist’s sake and it was unnecessary. It made us all cross.
Last chapter aside, Tell No One was an enjoyable read, without the last chapter it’s a solid 3* but with it, I’m more inclined to give it just 2.5*.