Sunday, October 1, 2017

Final Girls by Riley Sager | The Lying Game by Ruth Ware - Mystery Mash-Up Reviews

FINAL GIRLS

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis: Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet. Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished. 

My Thoughts: I went into Final Girls with very low expectations. I had seen mixed reviews for this book on Goodreads and it happened to be Riley Sager's debut novel, so I really didn't know what to anticipate. However, I came out of my read feeling plesantly surprised and excited to read more by Sager. This book covers a topic that I found really interesting, the horror movie trope of the "final girl" who ends up as the only person to survive a tragic murder spree, and addresses it in a very interesting way. The book switches back and forth between the present in which a new mystery is trying to be solved and the past in which you actually see the night of the murders in which the main character Quincy survived. I loved this formatting and thought it brought something special to the table. The book was one hell of a ride and I highly would recommend it to anyone who loves psychological thrillers. It is also the perfect book to read around Halloween for all those people on the hunt for holiday reads 😊.
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THE LYING GAME

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Synopsis: On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister. The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.” The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

My Thoughts: After reading The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware and absolutely loving it, I was very excited to read this book. For the most part, I enjoyed my time with this book. The mystery was intriguing, the setting was eerie, and the writing was a pleasure to consume. However, there were a couple of issues that I found I was having as I was reading this book. For one thing, I found the characters to be annoying. The story follows four women who come together after 17 years when their past comes back to haunt them. And yet, I couldn't find anything redeemable or relatable in any of the four women. In fact, the further I got into the story, the more I began to think they deserved what they had coming to them. I also thought that the series of events was a little too slow burning for me. The story inter-cuts between the past and the present, but I don't think that all of the scenes from the past were necessary. 

I am not trying to say this story was bad by any means. I flew through it and still look forward to reading more by Ware. However, if I were to recommend a Ruth Ware book to read, I would recommend checking out The Woman in Cabin 10 first. and then The Lying Game (side note: I have not read In A Dark, Dark Wood by this author yet).

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