REVIEW: Let Me Lie, Clare Mackintosh (Mar. 13, 2018)

Firstly, I’m going to apologize for how vague this review is going to be. This is for two reasons. 1) I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, and 2) The very last line threw me for a complete loop and I need someone to talk me through it.

I’ve mentioned many times that while I love psychological thrillers with a passion, I am HORRIBLE at guessing twists. I am so easily impressed by mysteries and thrillers because I am consistently shocked. This book was no exception. I changed my mind about where the plot was going way too many times over the few days it took me to read LET ME LIE.

The 411: Anna Johnson is still reeling from the deaths of her parents the previous year, both from apparent suicide, months apart. She is now a mother herself, having gotten pregnant by the shrink hired to help her through this troubled time. Oops. Then on the one year anniversary of her mother’s suicide, she received a card in the mail that simply says, “Suicide? Think again.”

…and that’s all you’re gonna get, sorry.

So, clearly, Anna starts digging into the circumstances around both of her parents’ deaths and finds some stuff. You think the story is going in one direction and then swerves and then swerves again. And then you think’s it’s done and it swerves again.

While I did enjoy both of Mackintosh’s previous books, I LET YOU GO and I SEE YOU, I always felt kind of let down by the ending. I was completely invested and into the whole story until the reveal and they both fell flat for me. That was not the case with this book. I was constantly on edge, I actually got the shivers during part of it.

But, I will be honest here…I’m not completely positive that I understood the ending. I sat and stared at the last sentence for at least five minutes because I was trying to piece together what the hell actually happened. The way that I took it, I was pleased with the ending. However, if it’s a completely different ending than the one I’m picturing, my thoughts might possibly change.

Basically this is a plea to anyone who reads this book to please contact me because I NEED TO TALK THIS OUT.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰
RECOMMENDED FOR: lovers of mystery/thrillers and unreliable narrators
MAY I ALSO SUGGEST: the works of Karin Slaughter and Ruth Ware

Thank you Berkley Publishing Group for my galley. LET ME LIE is available March 13.

REVIEW: Thunderhead, Neal Shusterman (Jan. 9, 2018)

Prepare yourself, people of the world, because I am about to gush and sing the praises of this book relentlessly for (probably) the entire year.  When I read SCYTHE a few months ago, I was immediately transfixed by the world Neal Shusterman created. I love a book with a dark premise and this book was perfect for me.

So, let’s back up for a sec. If you haven’t read this series, here’s the breakdown:

The 411: We’re in a world where death by natural causes aka The Age of Mortality has essentially been wiped out. There’s no more sickness,  and you are able to “reset” your appearance to look as young or old as you want. Due to this development, the Earth’s population levels need to be regulated somehow so life can still be sustainable. Enter Scythes, trained “assassins” if you will, who have the job of killing or gleaning people to manage the population. Scythes are seen as highly respectable people in society and, minus getting killed of course, it’s almost an honor to be gleaned by one. The form of government is the Thunderhead, an omniscient and omnipresent watchdog, who sees all…the exception being The Lone Star Region, because apparently Texas just doesn’t give a fuck in any universe.

The first book introduced us to Rowan and Citra who are taken on as apprentices by Scythe Faraday. Two factions of scythes have been forming: those who glean with respect and those who enjoy the kill. To avoid explicit spoilers I’m going to skip ahead–but shenanigans ensue, and don’t tell me you’re not intrigued…

THUNDERHEAD picks up after SCYTHE’s bombshell of an ending. Having successfully escaped from the Winter Conclave, Rowan has become a vigilante under the name Scythe Lucifer, where he only gleans scythes who are abusing their title. Think a scythe version of Dexter. Citra has now become Scythe Anastasia under Scythe Curie, and chosen a unique way of performing her gleanings: giving the chosen victims a month’s notice to get their affairs in order.

This book also lets us into the inner thoughts of the Thunderhead, itself, and its struggles to maintain the separation between Thunderhead and Scythe. Oh, and the Big Bad’s followers are still lurking and waiting for the moment to rise.

I found the new characters to be a welcome addition to the story, especially Greyson Tolliver. Also, given today’s political climate, THUNDERHEAD is an especially interesting read–particularly the Thunderhead’s inability to intervene in scythe affairs, the ethics around surveillance, and the uprising of the New Order scythes.

There is a tad of romance, but it’s extremely minimal, and the action definitely takes center stage. I didn’t mind a bit, I was so enthralled in the story.

And ok, that ending…THAT ENDING. If you have (or when you) finished THUNDERHEAD, let’s talk.

I cannot wait for book 3, I’m so in love with this series. I do not give out five stars often, and this one was at least six.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰✰
RECOMMENDED FOR: lovers of dystopian fiction who aren’t afraid of a little violence
MAY I ALSO SUGGEST: The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff

Thank you SimonTeen for my e-galley. THUNDERHEAD is available January 9.