Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

OUT june 2nd 2020! Thank you to HarperCollins Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review.

From Amazon

♥♥♥♥ (4 stars)

Friends, family, and loved ones gather on a remote island off the coast of Ireland to celebrate the marriage of a perfect couple. In fact, all anyone seems to be able to talk or think about is how good Jules and Will look standing next to each other. And they do seem a perfect match. He, a reality TV personality, the star of his own survival show. She, the founder and CEO of a successful blog and lifestyle brand. But when tragedy hits on their wedding day, one is left to wonder if looks are in fact deceiving.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley is an exciting thriller told both in split narrative and split timeline. Chapters alternate from perspective to perspective, and readers are treated to the thoughts of the bride, several wedding party members, wedding guests, and the wedding planner. The story jumps back and forth in time during the wedding weekend on the island, as Foley expertly reveals tantalizing bits of information little by little. She likes to take her time with the reveals, which only adds to the delicious suspense. Readers are also treated to multiple flashbacks from several of the characters. Foley’s The Hunting Party follows a similar structure, so if you’ve read that and enjoyed it you will most likely enjoy The Guest List as well.

Foley excels at weaving a good mystery, drawing us in, leading us astray, only to shock with a juicy reveal that changes everything. While some of her twists were predictable, some were genuinely a surprise! And even those that felt obvious were still exciting to follow, thanks to Foley’s skill with suspense. Her characters are created with true humanity and feel very real, their actions believable. What happens when you feel like you don’t belong? When you already doubt yourself, and then someone takes advantage of your insecurity? How much harm can be done, and what are the ripple effects? This book examines the tensions between classes and ‘boys just being boys’. It will inflame your rage and satisfy your thirst for vengeance.

And can I just take a second to discuss this SETTING!? Talk about setting as a character. Treacherous cliffs, deadly tides, quietly fatal bogs, winds that threaten to rip you apart. In both The Guest List and The Hunting Party, Foley selects settings that are both stunning and brutal. Nature alone would kill you in these places, but their beauty is so enticing. This is just like how I would imagine a siren to be. The island itself is so dangerous and holds so much death, grief, and history that you can never quite count it out as the perpetrator.

This was a fast-paced, plot-driven, wild ride full of twists and turns! Like many people, I’m finding it hard to focus on reading right now. My attention span is all over the place. But reading The Guest List was so much fun and proved to be a welcome delight and distraction from the stress of life right now. It swept me up and kept me entertained. If you are likewise struggling to focus, I highly recommend picking up this new release.

The summary of The Guest List on Goodreads describes it as an update of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, which I think is an excellent comparison. Make no mistake, Foley is the Christie of our time.

 

 

Book Review: Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin

OUT NOW! Thank you to Riverhead and NetGalley for providing me with an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review.

48635845♥♥♥♥ (4 stars)

I adore Schweblin’s work. Fever Dream blew me away when I read it a few years ago, so imagine my excitement when I was approved for an ARC of Little Eyes. This book was not what I was expecting, and I struggled to focus for a lot of it (that could very well be due to living during a global pandemic, however), but in the end I came to appreciate the quiet points made in Little Eyes. It’s a slow but fascinating look at the overlap of technology and the human desire for connection

Little Eyes has a speculative-lite premise, focusing on several narratives as the world gets caught up in the latest tech craze: Kentukis. Kentukis are small robotic stuffed animals that can be bought and kept in the home like a pet. The catch is that the robots are independently and anonymously operated by strangers who buy codes/connections to “dwell” in the Kentukis (via tablet, phone, or computer) and thus, in other people’s homes. You are either a “dweller”, someone who buys a connection to be paired with a Kentuki and remotely control a robot somewhere else in the world, or a “keeper”, someone who buys the little robot and keeps it as a pet. The narratives focus on both “dwellers” and “keepers,” and, not to give too big of a spoiler, it doesn’t go too well for either set.

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