Thursday, February 5, 2015

Book Review: The Shining Girls

Title: The Shining Girls
Author: Lauren Beukes
Genre: Horror, SciFi (time travel)
Rating: 5/5
Page Count: 375
Publication Date: June 4th, 2013

Plot (from Goodreads):

The future is not as loud as war, but it is relentless. It has a terrible fury all its own."

Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.

Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times.

At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He's the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives.

Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the ex-homicide reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on the impossible truth . . .

THE SHINING GIRLS is a masterful twist on the serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing heroine in pursuit of a deadly criminal.

I really loved this book and I'm not entirely sure why, but we are going to find out. I first heard about this book sitting in a room full of book bloggers at BEA and 'time traveling serial killer' made me perk up a little. I'm a sucker for both of those things - in the same book? I will buy that immediately.

The funny this is - is that I did. And then preceded not to read it for over a year. Why? Who the hell knows, honestly, it's just sometimes how these things work out.

Now let me preface the rest of this review with this: since I'm a sucker for these two plot devices, I feel like my opinion is definitely biased. If you don't like time travel or serial killers (POV chapters from his perspective) or if you're not a fan of gore or random character studies or random, heavily researched historical things - this might not be the book for you. However, if that sounds interesting to you - continue on.

This book is a little confusing at first. The chapters have a name and a date, which is the perfect way to do it, but for the first 100 pages or so I was more trying to figure out who was who, who was still alive, and what the hell year they were in. Saying that - it was a lot of fun, figuring it out. And after about 100/150 pages, I had it straight enough in my head that I could plow through the rest of the book in one sitting (which I did).

There's so many POV chapters and so many different people, it's weird to think of this in classic terms as whose the main character? and I did not think of it in those terms until the very end, but by then it's obvious. Kirby is a strange main character to have, but also maybe the perfect one - she was attacked by Harper (our killer) and is now trying to figure out what happened, who he is, and if he's attacked anyone else. And all of her chapters tend to have a dark quirk of humor - that her and Dan have, that I really enjoyed.

Before I go off on another rambling tangent, I'm going to reign it in. This book is weird and is definitely not going to be everyones cup of tea. And, looking back, I had more small problems then I thought. However - I really, really loved it, in all, it was a very enjoyable book. And I was honestly surprised at the obvious research that had to go into some parts, and impressed.

Overall, I'd probably only recommend this to people who like serial killer books and who don't mind, or enjoy, getting tossed around in time by a slightly magical (?) house. I've always found serial killer things fascinating - and there's something that's strange to say - but the psychology behind it is interesting and that is probably very high on the list of why I liked this book so much.

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