2 out of 5 Stars
I originally picked up this book because there was so much hype behind it. I kept seeing it on blogs, social media, posted in my local book store and even a brand new hit Hulu series, so I figured I’d give it a try. I can’t say I was ever really drawn to it, though. Let me start by saying if you’re dappling with reading it or not, I would choose a different title over this one, but if your curiosity is piqued like mine was, then go for it.
It wasn’t a bad book per se, but it was long, dragged out and I found it to be boring many times.
The storyline is interesting: 9 strangers who attend a wellness retreat that is lead by a Russian woman who died and came back to life who therefore has this new interesting point of view on the world and the way we live in it. The point of view bounces around from each character and you really see in the mind’s eye of each character which definitely keeps things interesting.
My biggest critique is that for the first 260 pages—nothing happens. I found that Moriarty took way too long to develop a storyline and a hook to capture her audience. I typically give books 50 pages and if I’m not hooked, I shelve it. But again, this book had so much buzz about it—including a sappy Hulu series—I figured it HAD to be good.
Moriarty could have really slimmed down the build up at least 100 pages and got right into the storyline much quicker. The first 150 pages or so I kept asking myself “what is the storyline”? Perhaps this was intentional—since the main characters are all strangers when the novel begins; but again, I think this build up could have been significantly cut.
The overall writing of the novel was very good. Limited-to-no typos and capturing language was used throughout the novel—which was the main reason why I gave this 2 stars rather than 1 or 0. Additionally, once when the story did finally pick up, the climax of the novel was interesting and very captivating to the point where I was turning pages very quickly—but the slow slow slow build to get there definitely takes precedence over the very eventual quicker pace of the novel.
My last critique is the ending. I felt like the story ended so abruptly with such a bizarre unexpected ending—I feel like Moriarty felt like it was necessary to create a happy ending for some reason. There were just so many random loose ends. I felt like she took such a long time in the first 250 pages building the story that by the time you get to the storyline and ending, everything is wrapped up super quickly and abruptly.
Altogether, it was not a bad book. The story line was great once when we got to it and the writing style was easy to follow and captivating. But the slow development and abrupt climax and ending I could not give this book any higher of a rating than a 2/5.