Review: The Passengers

Self-drive cars are mandatory in the UK and roads are safer than ever before. Eight passengers get into their vehicles, which are then hacked and set on a collision course.
Libby has been selected to be a member of a secret jury who determine whether any road accidents are the fault of the car or human error, and it’s never been the fault of the car. The jury, along with the public must choose which passenger should survive. Each passenger has ten minutes to convince the jurors and the public to vote for them, but they all have something to hide.

This was the first book I’ve read on The Pigeonhole and it was an interesting way to read. It meant that I had to take my time with the book, as it was released in ten parts. This was frustrating at times when there was a cliffhanger and I wanted to read the next chapter straight away. I think if I’d had the entire book I’d have read it in a day.

This book is set in the future where the only cars available are ‘Level 5’, automated self-drive cars, that don’t even have pedals for the passengers to take control. Eight of these ‘unhackable’ cars are hacked, and each passenger told that they will be dead in XX. It’s a really interesting plot idea, as we move closer to a time when driverless cars will be seen on our streets, I think we’ll start to see more books addressing the fears that people have around this.

There’s a lot going on in this book, and it keeps you constantly guessing. As I was reading my opinions on the different passengers was constantly changing as more information about the passengers was revealed. It was clear that as well as the passengers holding things back, the hacker was also controlling what information he revealed to try and manipulate the public’s opinion of the passengers.

Part of what made this book so interesting is that it doesn’t seem farfetched. People engaging with this kind of situation, using social media to vote for who should die, and the mob mentality surrounding it all seem very realistic. Even some of the revelations in the book, around the cars and the government, while surprising, are not unlikely.

I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a good thriller. Clear your day, get a nice cup of tea and settle in for a good read.

My rating: 5 stars, and I’m going to catch up on the other John Marrs books I haven’t read yet.

Review: In Bloom

Rhiannon’s fiancĂ© Craig is in jail for the murders she committed, and her ex-lover AJ is dead. Everything is perfect, except for the fact that Rhiannon is pregnant with AJ’s baby, and the baby doesn’t approve of her killing. Forced to move in with Craig’s parents, will Rhiannon manage to curb her killer instincts, or will she give into her urges?

I read Sweetpea a couple of years ago and enjoyed it, and In Bloom keeps a lot of the aspects that worked in the first book. I like the chapters that start with ‘kill lists’, we’ve all had those days when we hate everyone who does X.

Sadly that was one of the few things in this book that I enjoyed. I don’t often see female serial killers in media so I was looking forward to this, but I was left disappointed. It took me almost a week to read this, because I just couldn’t get into it.

This book didn’t really have a plot, and didn’t feel like it was going anywhere. I didn’t feel anything when the book ended, and I couldn’t bring myself to care anymore. I just wanted to be finished, rather than reading because I was enjoying it.

My rating: 2 stars, and I wouldn’t read anymore if the series continued.

Review: Witness

Ten years ago Rebecca testified against her abusive fiancĂ©, Solomon, and he was locked away for murder. Since then Rebecca has rebuilt her life, she now lives in the Welsh town of Pontyferry with her husband, Sean, and four year old daughter, Lottie. However Solomon has spent the last ten years plotting his revenge. For each year he spent in prison Rebecca must witness a crime, and choose the victim. She only has 30 seconds to give him a name, or it will be someone Rebecca know and cares about. As the crimes become more violent, and the victims closer to home, Rebecca is forced to confront a past she thought she’d left behind.

Witness is the first book I’ve read by Caroline Mitchell and I really enjoyed it.

The majority of the book is told from Rebecca’s point to view, set in the present, and excerpts of her journal from ten years ago when she first met Solomon. Through these flashbacks we learn how Rebecca and Solomon met, and why she’s so scared of him. At first I found it hard to understand Rebecca’s actions, but Mitchell does a wonderful job of expressing Rebecca’s thoughts and fears, making the reader sympathise with her.

Solomon has spent the last ten years meticulously planning his revenge and he’s determined to make Rebecca pay for her betrayal. In the chapters from his point to view we learn how twisted and manipulative his character truly is. What makes Solomon so terrifying are the chapters in which we get a glimpse into his thoughts about Rebecca, and how realistic this is. His thoughts of how Rebecca belongs to him and how he will make her the perfect wife are something we see too often in real life, and never get less disturbing.

My rating: 4 stars
I’ll definitely be reading more books by Caroline Mitchell.

Review: Take Me In

When a stranger saves their son’s life, Tessa and Marcus owe him everything. After they return home from their holiday they see Dave Jepsom everywhere. He’s at their house, they see him when they’re out. Is he stalking them, and what does he want?

I didn’t enjoy this book. I really liked the premise, but I just didn’t connect with the story.

The story alternates chapters from Tessa’s and Marcus’ point of view, but neither of the characters are likeable. They’re thankful to Dave at first, but they soon begin to resent him and suspect he’s not as nice as he seems. The parents don’t want to be reminded that they failed to protect their child, and Dave’s presence serves as a reminder of this. Without the references to the fact that something terrible was going to happen, all of Dave’s actions would seem perfectly innocent.

The ‘twist ending’ was predictable, and was dragged out far longer than necessary. It seemed like it was going to be revealed several times, only for the chapter to end. I assume this was to try to build suspense, but instead it felt annoying. The story came to a sudden end shortly after and felt unfinished.

My rating: 2 stars.
I didn’t enjoy Lie To Me either, so I think this will be my last Sabine Durrant book.

Review: I Thought I Knew You

Jules and Holly have been best friends since university. When Jules’s daughter Saffie accuses Holly’s son Saul of rape, their relationship is pushed to breaking point.

I Thought I Knew You alternates between Jules and Holly’s point of view. Jules believes her daughter, but Holly is convinced that Saul could never do something like this. The story shows the deepening divide between the two characters, as both are desperate to protect their child.

My immediate instinct in this was to believe Saffie, but as the book progressed I began to doubt parts of her story and I wasn’t sure who to believe. There was clearly more to the story and my mind went through several possibilities, as I tried to fit the pieces together.

I wasn’t sure how I felt after finishing this book. It brought up a lot of emotions, but it is definitely a worthwhile read.

My rating: 3.5 stars

Review: Lost Boy

Once I was young, and young forever and always, until I wasn’t. Once I loved a boy called Peter Pan.
Peter will tell you that this story isn’t the truth, but Peter lies. I loved him, we all loved him, but he lies, for Peter wants always to be that shining sun that we all revolve around. He’ll do anything to be that sun.
Peter will say I’m a villain, that I wronged him, that I was never his friend.
But I told you already. Peter lies.
This is what really happened.

Lost Boy, Christina Henry

I really enjoy story re-tellings from the point of view of the ‘villain’, explaining why they’re really misunderstood. Lost Boy is told from the point of view of Jamie, when he’s one of Peter’s lost boys, explaining how and why he became Peter’s enemy, Captain Hook.

From the very start of this book, it’s obvious that Peter is the real villain of the story. We see how Jamie cares about all of the boys, while Peter sees them as toys, there to entertain him and be discarded. If boys have to die so that Peter can have his fun, Peter can always get more from the other place.

These boys will never grow up because they’ll never have the chance to.

Jamie has been on the island for years with Peter, he was the first lost boy, but throughout the story we see Jamie become slowly disillusioned with Peter and Neverland, ageing as he does. Through Peter’s impulsive actions and indifference to the lives of the boys he ‘rescues’ we see Jamie’s love for Peter slowly turn to hatred and gain an understanding of Captain Hook.

Henry’s version of Peter doesn’t contradict the Peter created by J.M. Barrie, or the version we see in the Disney film. It’s very easy to see Peter’s actions in these as selfish and uncaring, rather than those of the kind hero we thought.

My rating: 4 stars