My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Book #5 in the Booksparks Winter Reading Challenge complete! #WRC2019
I feel like I read a different book than everybody else… Hate it when that happens!
The story begins with two brothers discovering the body of their brother in a deserted section of the Outback. And the mystery begins. Did he walk away from his life, planning to end his life in the unrelenting heat? Or was there something more sinister at play?
Looking at reviews from friends on Goodreads and others, the majority of people loved this book so please don’t let my review deter you. I thought it was just okay. And I think there were a few things that made the experience worse for me that were not the fault of the author.
#1. I listened on audiobook
As the book is set in Australia, the narrator had a very thick Australian accent. I typically listen to books on double speed and I found myself having to slow down the audio for this one because the accent was so thick I was having a hard time comprehending what I was listening to.
The book is also very heavy in multi-character dialogue. And there wasn’t always clarity on who was speaking which added to the confusion. If I had read the book as opposed to listening, I likely would have had a completely different opinion.
#2. I found myself zoning out a lot
This may or may not have been the author’s fault. A lot of it had to do with the issues I had with the audiobook (see above), but some if it was how slow the story moved. I feel like I missed entire chunks of the story because I could just not get invested in the story enough to pay attention.
All of that being said, I had a few other issues with the book that made it a struggle for me. There were a lot of characters all introduced very early in the book without a ton of differentiation. I had a really hard time reconciling how they were all related, and spent a long time trying to figure out who everybody was. Then, once I got all the characters straight I just waited for something to happen. And nothing really did for a long time. If you read other reviews, you will see other people refer to this book as a “slow burn.” Which is fine. I enjoy a good slow burn if (and only if) the story really captures me enough to feel invested in the outcome. This story waxed and waned for me and never really drew me in. So the “slow burn” style just ended up feeling drawn out and boring.
Overall, I enjoyed the idea of this book but the execution was a bit rough. I really wish I would have read it as opposed to listen. I honestly feel that it would have made a huge difference in my opinion. I would still recommend this one just because of how many others have loved it, but would recommend reading as opposed to listening if you can.
On to the final book in the Winter Reading Challenge, They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall.