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Mommy, am I cult?

A former literary snob making her way back to commercial reads.

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The Silver Linings Playbook
Matthew Quick
You Should Pity Us Instead
Amy Gustine

Raven Sisters

Raven Sisters - Gabi Kreslehner, Alison Layland This is a whodunit with enough observations about human nature for me to say that it has a tinge of literary fiction.

Sometimes that tinge of literary fiction comes very poetic, to the detriment of believability... or not.

"I'm an eagle", Hanna cried, laughing, running, flying. "Who is the wind's bride to carry me aloft?"
I will, Gertrud thought. I will, let me be the one...

Sometimes, it's not poetic at all, and you just think: Really, recently-found-antagonist? You're using "melt like butter" as a threat in this super tense scene?

But that doesn't mean the story is bad. In the beginning, it's all about the relationship between those two sisters: Hannah is beautiful, creative and all around social superstar. Gertrudes is none of these things, and spends her whole life as a shadow of her sister. (Female jealousy is a very interesting subject to me, and I wish it was exploited more.) When we discover one of them is dead and the other, missing, right after we are presented to a plot twist that subverts any chance that the sister-jealousy plot would go on an entirely predictable path. That plot twist took the novel to a whole new level, and was the start of abackstory that is different than a lot of mistery novels we read out there.

Add that to characters who are developed enough for: a) at a certain point, you think there is no clear antagonist; and b) everyone is kind of a victim of the situation.

For instance, Franza, the cop that investigates the murdering case, is a middle-aged divorceé with a body that is actually compatible with her age. So are her levels of confidence and insecurities. She was very believable, and one of the best written 40-something women I read about in the last years.

But why only three stars?

The writing is good, and will teach you something about human nature... and you'll get a murder mistery in the mix. I'm just not sure if it's very entertaining in the first half. It took me 11 days to finish these book. And some creative choices take away a little from the surprises (I won't be able to talk about them without spoilering).

Not to mention the intense POV-switch. Changing POVs all the time can be fast-pacing, but also dangerous. Sometimes the POV changed inside the chapters. Every once in a while there was a very short chapter (from a misterious POV) that served as nothing but a tense builder, which is a good thing in murder misteries... if well executed. Since the number of characters was big (and sometimes so was the list of suspects), the whole thing just became confusing.

I really wished all these issues should be trimmed down in order to give a more clean, concise narrative. The result would be way more entertaining. It felt all over the place. But if you don't mind the cluttering, I guess you could try to read this.