Thursday, 5 February 2015

The Wronged

Book Title: The Wronged
Author: Kimberley Chambers
Date Started: February 2nd 2015
Date Completed: February 5th 2015
Genres: Mystery, Contemporary
Quality Rating: Two/Three Stars
Enjoyment Rating: One/Two Stars
Final Rating: Two stars

Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with this copy to review!

This is the first review copy I've ever not been able to finish, and I've been wondering about how to write this review fairly, but not harshly. It's hard for me to distinguish between what I just didn't like about this book, and what actually are the flaws in it. I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to be brutally honest - I am asked to be after all - but also accepting that I clearly wasn't part of this target audience and so am not that likely to understand its reasonings.

For me, I can't say that I particularly enjoyed the writing of The Wronged. There was an unnecessary amount of swearing - and I have no problem with swearing. But when it gets to the point where you can't find a line that doesn't have swearing that has now lost all impact because it's been used so much, I think it's gone too far. The general structure also just didn't work for me: it seemed like a very basic 'this happened, and then this happened, and then he went and did this, then she said this' ordeal and it just took out any sort of tension or pace, and frankly enjoyment for me. The extremely short scenes didn't really help this. The page-and-a-half conversations worked at the start to throw us into the story, but as it carried on it felt a bit like Chambers couldn't maintain a narrative for more longer.

I really liked how the story begins straight in the middle of everything: it was a different kind of way to be introduced to the characters and I think worked quite well for tying each of them together. On the other hand, being told who Molly's murderer was within the first few pages lost all the suspense and mystery for the rest of the book to me. I was expecting another couple of things that hinted otherwise to come up, but as far as I could see we were just jumping off the dysfunctional members of the family, with their typical drug taking, and abortions, and this that and the other. Maybe if I'd kept reading something new would have jumped out, or perhaps a different take on these issues, but unfortunately by the time I got to my decision limit [the number of pages I make myself read to make sure I'm not being lazy or giving up too soon] it just wasn't enough to keep me reading.

The characters were very dislikable for me, and seemed to lack any sense of depth and were incredibly robotic. Sure, they had issues, and they were conflicted about these things, but there wasn't any sense that it was important or that what they were choosing was going to have any implications on them in the future: they just seemed a bit...emotionless.
Little Vinny seems to be the focus for everything going wrong in the family, but honestly I can't see anything he did wrong that was any worse than the rest of them. And they all seemed unconditionally against him, so can you really blame him for going out all the time and having 'typical teenager behaviour'?
Queenie also stood out to be as an important character, and perhaps is has more gravity over the later parts of the book, but she did nothing of note while I was reading.

Without reading the whole book, it's hard to talk about the pacing: from what I read, it started off well but then feel and hovered at exactly the same rate for a long time. The dramas didn't grow or fall in tension; there weren't plot twists with any effect. I would thin this was partly to do with the tiny scene lengths; we'd have a chapter with quite a few little scenes in them that lasted a page and a half before shifting to someone else. Because of this I was never reading anything long enough to get any sort of attachment about it.

Like I said, I'm clearly not the target audience for this book: I just didn't understand the purpose of the structure, I hated the characters and was bored of the melodramatic dramas even fifty pages. It just was not for me. But I don't think I really know who it was for, either.

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