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Review: Birds of Wonder (C. Robinson)

March 12, 2018

 

I want to start with a quick disclaimer that the copy I received through NetGalley had weird formatting that does not reflect how the actual formatting of the book is, but did make it more difficult for me to get through the book. I've done my best to separate my feelings about the actual book from my feelings about the formatting, and hopefully I have done so as accurately as possible.

 

This book gave me all the feelings. On one hand, it is a mystery, and I LOVE mysteries. And it's a MURDER mystery. I love murder mysteries, I love the suspense, the clue trail, just everything about it. But on the other hand... I hated every single character in this book, and the ending left me a tad unsatisfied.

 

The book is narrated by six different characters, all with their own slew of problems and unsavory character traits. The main ones that were focused on were Jes, the female police officer, Beatrice, Jes' clingy and complicated mother, and Liam Walsh, who just bugged the heck out of me because he couldn't decide what he was doing. When Beatrice finds the dead body of her rising theatre star naked in a field with her hand cut off, it forces the main characters to confront their deepest and darkest secrets, as Jes attempts to find and bring down justice upon the killer.

 

I really liked the premise and the idea of this book. It seemed straight out of an episode of Homicide Hunter for me, with the mysterious dead body and severed hand, and the plethora of suspects who just seemed shadier and shadier with every passing second. I was determined to figure out who had killed Amber and why, before the book ever told me (newsflash: I was so, so totally wrong). There were a bunch of twists and turns in this book, at it kept me guessing on every page. The pacing was pretty great, there were no super boring moments where I was just over the story, and I really did want to know who the killer was.

 

I also appreciated how not all of the characters were superhuman, amazing, model citizens. My main character pet peeves include a) characters not dying when they clearly should be dead and b) perfect characters. Nobody is perfect, so why should the character be perfect? That's definitely not the case with this one. All of the characters have at least one major character flaw that makes you question their judgment/morals/sanity/all of the above. They seemed more realistic in that manner, since it wasn't like they went gliding around on rainbows tossing flowers around.

 

However.

 

The characters were flawed to the point of being extremely unlikable. Their relationships with each other were just extremely complicated and convoluted (not in a good way), and their actions just made me want to chuck a hardcover at them. I don't mind a flawed character, but when the character is flawed to the point where I can't stand them it just makes me unable to connect with them at all, since I couldn't find a single reason to root for them.

 

The ending also left me kind of disappointed. On one hand, it was pretty creative--I'll give Robinson that. But it seemed to fall a little flat compared to the rest of the book, and didn't quite seem to fit in with the overall tone/pacing.

 

Overall this was a pretty good mystery read, with lots of suspense, action, and readerly confusion. I definitely enjoyed the ride that it took me on, and I never saw the ending coming.

 

3/5 Stars

 

Disclaimer: I received an eBook version of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way impacted my rating, review or opinions of the book.

 

 

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