Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review: The Twisted Thread by Charlotte Bacon

By Charlotte Bacon
Paperback, 352 pages
Published: June 14th 2011 by Voice
Source: Borrowed from friend, ARC
Buy the book: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

From Goodreads:

When beautiful but aloof Claire Harkness is found dead in her dorm room one spring morning, prestigious Armitage Academy is shaken to its core. Everyone connected to school, and to Claire, finds their lives upended, from the local police detective who has a personal history with the academy, to the various faculty and staff whose lives are immersed in the daily rituals associated with it.
Everyone wants to know how Claire died, at whose hands, and more importantly, where the baby that she recently gave birth to is a baby that almost no one, except her small innermost circle, knew she was carrying.
At the center of the investigation is Madeline Christopher, an intern in the English department who is forced to examine the nature of the relationship between the school s students and the adults meant to guide them. As the case unravels, the dark intricacies of adolescent privilege at a powerful institution are exposed, and both teachers and students emerge as suspects as the novel rushes to its thrilling conclusion.
With The Twisted Thread, Charlotte Bacon has crafted a gripping and suspenseful story in the tradition of Donna Tartt's The Secret History, one that pulls back the curtain on the lives of the young and privileged.
I borrowed this ARC from a friend because the synopsis sounded like the type of book I used to read a lot of. A good murder mystery used to be on top of every list I had, but I've gravitated away from that in recent years. This one particularly intrigued me because of the exclusivity of the wealthy school and people involved. You know there's going to be a lot of good "behind-the-scene" information from that alone. Though it promised so much, in the end it just couldn't give what it advertised.

-Minor Spoiler Alert-
There were characters a plenty in this novel. On top of that, each one had a very detailed back story. Now, don't get me wrong, a good back story can really enhance a book. However, back stories that do not necessarily relate to the concept or plot of the book can really hurt one. That is all that I seemed to read in this novel. There was almost a pattern: one chapter one be solely about a character and its back story, the next chapter would do the same to another character, and so on. This literally begins in Chapter 1. It made the book difficult to follow and gave me the feeling that most of the info was there to add pages to the book and nothing else. There was an attempt to put real chemistry between a few of characters, but I simply did not feel it. At the end of the book when they finally agree on agree on a date and such, it felt like "Eh, so?" There was just too much "bloat" to make these good characters and plot completely enjoyable.

The plot and sequence of events saved this book for me. The death of a student, the shock that she'd given birth, the police investigation, and the book's resolution kept the pace throughout the book. I love that it touched on hot topics with teens: bulimia, peer pressure, bullying, etc. Kudos for that definitely. Also, the secret society, The Reign of Terror, added a great twist into the mix. I'm a big fan of societies like these and the traditions that they keep. Sadly though, due to the "bloat" previously listed, it was difficult to follow at times. I had to re-read a couple of spots to pull out the plot threads to continue on. On the other hand, it did help with setting the scene. There was not a part in this book that I could not imagine in detail due to the author's clear descriptions.

Overall, this book was just okay to me. It had some great concepts and characters, but it just couldn't seem to flow well at all. I think that if the characters back stories were lessened slightly and the story was told from fewer view points the book would have been better off. Combine that with an ending that still left me wanting for a little more action, I give it 2 stickies.

Sticky note: This ARC was issued by the publisher free of charge in return for a fair and unbiased review.


Jenny said...

I have this one on my TBR list. Now I'm a depressed. Oh well, I probably won't get to it for along time.

Lah @ Lazy Girl Reads said...

Ah, just okay?! Well, I will take your word for it :)

Book Sake said...

I tried to read this as about 1/3 of the way through it and I gave up. (I have a hard time giving up on books.) There was nothing there to keep me interested, no characters that I cared about, and too many viewpoints to flow well. Great review!! (And new follower from Friday's hop!)

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