Book Reviews

Book review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

[Spoiler free]

Hope you all have your oven gloves ready. Because I’m about to roast this.

“Why is it they say you always hurt the ones you love? Because you know exactly how to do it.”

This story follows Jill, a high school student who wakes up in hospital with no memories of the past six weeks. It transpires that while on a school trip to Italy, a devastating accident occurred for which Jill is being blamed. But with no memory of the last few weeks, she has no evidence of whether she’s responsible or not.

So this book wasn’t awful, I just didn’t particularly enjoy it. The main character, Jill, was just too judgmental and her sly, cruel comments about people detracted from the overall story. Yet despite being spiteful about others and abusing her position of privilege and wealth, she still thinks she’s a good person. Sure thing Jill.

Other characters, too, were all incredibly manipulative. They spent the entire novel trying to outmaneuver or back-stab each other and the whole story hinged on lies and rumours. Plus, about a third of the book is written from 10-15 characters’ perspectives and this just didn’t work for me. There were too many additional viewpoints.

Perhaps the biggest issue I had was I never felt like any of the characters truly cared for one another. I didn’t feel like any of their relationships were deep and meaningful, and as a result didn’t develop any attachment to them.

Although the writing style was pretty average, the actual mystery was reasonably engaging. I found myself wanting to know how the story ended, I just didn’t particularly care if Jill ended up in jail or not. Which is very usually me, as I’m normally a die-hard investor in main characters. I live and breathe their stories.

In terms of plot, for a 290 page book the first half didn’t have much to speak of. We find out about the accident within the first 50 pages and then there’s little development until page 200. The climax and ending twists were entertaining, but I found myself apathetic about the outcome.

And for a novel that was supposed to be building suspense and mystery, it didn’t really deliver on either. We aren’t given many substantial new clues as the story progresses, instead having the big reveal dumped on us in the last 30 pages.

So this wasn’t really the book for me. The story is built around dislikable characters, lies and manipulation, and I didn’t find it to be a particularly fun or enjoyable read.

2/5

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7 thoughts on “Book review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

  1. I’m sorry this one didn’t work out for you.The synopsis with the amnesiac angle was pretty intriguing but sad to hear about the characters especially.Great,honest review.

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