Likes: Horror, macabre, fairy tales, ghosts, hauntings, serial killers, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, vampires, time travel, orphans, clones, thrillers, classics, gothic
I like to read anything that tells a good story, duh ;) Genre doesn't really matter much but I tend to read dark fiction and fantasy the most. I skip chick lit and romance novels with a few exceptions for the extraordinary.
My ratings system:
5 stars - ADORED; plan to read over and over and over.
4 stars - ENJOYED; will likely read once or twice more.
3 stars - LIKED; may or may not read again ... someday.
2 stars - MEH; no plans to read again.
1 stars - I didn't enjoy the story and was lucky to finish.
0 stars - I couldn't or wouldn't finish for reasons that may or may not be listed in the review box.
Rating: 3.5 of 5
It took me two months to rate and review In the Woods. Why? Simply, the ending. I'm a huge fan of books and movies that don't tie everything up with a neat little bow. But all those stories had one crucial element: I did not walk away feeling cheated or disappointed. The writers of those stories knew how to satisfy my needs and certain expectations whilst resolving little or nothing. French did not; in fact, her ending ruined what would've been a five-star mystery.
So why the high-ish rating? Simply, the brilliant writing. There were several times during In the Woods when I wanted to stop reading. Not because of the prose or the plot (or even the unlikable characters) but because the pace stood still - even in moments of potential breakthroughs and ah-ha moments. It never felt immediate - the conflict, the main character's trauma, anyone's choices, etc. Yet, I couldn't stop because trickster that she is, French knew how to use a few choice words to keep the hooks deep. Unfortunately the hook tended to rely heavily on my need to know what happened to Ryan as a child. (The unspoken promise that I would be rewarded if only I made it to page 429.) The catalyst for Ryan's return to Knocknaree and subsequent descent into obsession with his own past - the mystery of Katy's murder - wasn't as intriguing as the mystery surrounding Adam Ryan and his friends. Frankly, I had almost no curiosity about Katy's death and what actually happened to her.
Here's the thing, French broke my trust. The trust I place in every storyteller: If I sit and listen quietly and patiently enough, my time won't be wasted; I'll leave satisfied. Some writers do that with a likable protagonist and a traditional point a to b to c style. Other writers satisfy with a foul protagonist and an unconventional style. There doesn't have to be a clean, pretty ending with answers to everything and concrete resolution. But the ending MUST satisfy the reader. So if you're the writer of a mystery that features two or more cases, and you don't plan to solve all cases, you best choose the most compelling one.
Sadly, I don't see myself picking up another French novel; I wouldn't want to risk spending my time on another disappointment. Not when there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other stories that won't waste my time.