I sped through this novel. For the first time in what seems like years, I was totally invested in the storyline and the characters. I can see why the internet has been obsessed with this book.
That being said, and as much as I enjoyed the novel, it’s nothing special. I must preface this for readers out there, this book is by-the-numbers good and I feel as though a lot of the press or gushing I see online, ignores that fact. There is specific storyline that this book follows: two main characters fight for most of their relationship, reevaluate their relationship, and then continue where they left off. Consumers see this in nearly every form of entertainment, from Twilight to The Nanny to Pride and Prejudice to Friends. It’s not new.
I will credit Schwab with her avoidance of obvious plot markers. While reading, I saw numerous opportunities for the story to take a more cliche turn.
And that never happened, which is why I think the book has been so successful. It takes a different version of the monster/antagonist character and a relatable version of a protagonist, and puts them in a beloved storyline, It also has a modern voice, with bisexuality or pansexuality (it wasn’t ever made clear, but I don’t think it particularly matters) just accepted and showcased. Adding contemporary love values to a traditional storyline is a recipe for success.
Even more to Schwab’s credit, her writing is clear and beautiful. I will say the first few pages are more metaphorical than the rest of the story, so it takes a second to get lost in the scene. However, she sprinkles those moments throughout the book as a continued theme of beauty within writing, which has a reason that I cannot get into without ruining the plot.
As much as I critiqued this novel, I really did enjoy reading it. Not everything you read has to be special or new or teach you something. And I feel like that principle is getting lost these days. Please read anything and everything you can get your hands on! Read to learn more, read to discover a new idea, read to take your mind off whatever is stressing you. Bookshelves are like nutrition, they should be balanced. Also, please remember you don’t have to continuously read only newly released things. People have been writing stories for centuries, you may not be interested in the titles currently on the best seller list. That has nothing to do with you and your taste or others taste or specifics editors taste, it’s just a culmination of tastes. If everyone took the time to find a story they wanted to read, the publishing industry would be in a much stronger place than it is now. So if this book interests you, I can say that it was one of the most relaxing stories I’ve read in a long time.
If you’ve already read this book, do you think there will be a sequel?