Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

I read this novel a week ago and discussed it with my book group last Tuesday. Even time away from it, and our group discussion, doesn't help my "meh" opinion about this thriller. 

Some readers absolutely do not like to read novels where they can't find a character likable, and that certainly was the case for a few of my fellow book group members. I prefer to like characters; but I've also found that disliking one or more (or in this case, all) of the characters can make for an interesting read. Or not. I was really hoping this would be a good thriller, but it was full of holes, characters that didn't learn a darn thing from previous screw ups, and left a very unsatisfying ending. 

Four women are brought together after many years apart when a body is unearthed on a beach near the English seaside village of Salten. Seventeen years before, the women, then young teens, had become fast friends while attending boarding school. Kate, Thea, Fatima, and Freya had a game-the 'lying game' they played on their fellow classmates, villagers, and anyone they could fool. They had rules, too: tell a lie, stick to your story, don't get caught, never lie to each other, and know when to stop lying. Some lies were pretty innocent, but others were damaging. The girls quickly gained a reputation around school that they were distrustful and mean. Kate's father, Ambrose, was a beloved art teacher at the school, and her stepbrother Luc attended a school for boys in a nearby village. Living at the Mill, a rundown building next to the water, Kate often had the girls sneak out of school at night and come to the Mill to hang out, swim, and spend time. Her father, Ambrose, was delighted to have Kate's friends there, and they in turn adored him. Freya, who narrates the story, is deeply in crush with Luc. All seems well...

Until one night Kate insists the girls come to the Mill. Ambrose is dead; a suicide note is left behind. What to do? Kate is only fifteen, and she can't take the risk of being sent to a foster home. She'll be sixteen in just a few months...

Well. The actions the girls take that night come back to haunt them, and as the reader, you're pulled along while they try to figure out just what to do all these years later. Do they keep lying? And who knows what they've lied about?

So. Sounds good, right? Well, as I said before, with the exception of Fatima, the main characters aren't very likable. Even Freya, who is a new mom, is unlikeable. They're all kind of pathetic. Fatima is the only one who has actually moved on the best-she's a happily married mother and doctor, and has returned to her faith. She's the most solid of the ladies. Kate is a mess; still living in the Mill--which is slowly falling into the sea and seems to be held together by spit and a wish. Thea is a drunk, never eats and smokes like a chimney. None of them have learned their lesson regarding lying and the toll it takes. 

I'll not tell you more of the plot. Even though it's pretty thin, it does have a few twists (you'll figure out the major twist all on your own) that will have you hoping maybe, just maybe, there is a chance the women will learn something from this whole disaster! I was disappointed in the end...Freya...ugh. 

I've read two Ruth Ware novels, and been disappointed by both. Thin plots, not so surprising thrillers. I feel that with some effort, they could have been good, meaty reads, but fell short. Do I expect too much? I don't think so. I have another Ruth Ware novel at home, and I'm going to give it a try sometime this year. We'll have to see if it breaks free of the ho-hum thrillers I've already read. 

Rating: 3/6 for a thriller that wasn't much of one at all. Some plot devices just fell flat, the characters weren't memorable, and the only interesting thing about the whole dang story was the decrepit Mill that was slowly falling into the sea. 

Available in paperback, large print, audio, and ebook. 

No comments :

Post a Comment