In A Dark, Dark Wood
Author: Ruth Ware
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Release Date: April 19th 2016 by Gallery/Scout Press (first published 2015)
Pages Count: 352
At this point, it is common knowledge that I love a good psychological thriller. Maybe it’s because of the fact that I have simply just read too many thrillers in a short period of time, but I think I have reached a point in which I am slightly sick of them. They all tend to follow the same stereotypical tropes and I don’t understand why. White woman, aged between late 20s to early 30s, trying to escape her past life that the reader slowly starts to figure out as the story continues. Like I said, this could just be a problem with me and my issue of reading too many thrillers back to back.
In A Dark, Dark Wood tells the story of a woman named Nora who gets an email inviting her to an old friend’s hen do (which is basically the English equivalent to the North American bachelorette party). The weird thing about it is that she hasn’t spoken to this friend in 10 years. She notices another old friend on the email chain and they decide attend the hen do together and figure out why they were even invited in the first place.
In A Dark, Dark Wood had me intrigued at the mention of its title. A playful take on a classic children’s spooky story had me wanting to know more about this book. I was really eager and excited to read it, but unfortunately it just fell flat for me.
I don’t know if it was me personally and I was just slumping hard, but I found In A Dark, Dark Wood to be extremely slow moving. Nothing really started happening until about 150-200 pages in. I just struggled really hard to get through it and it took me WAY too long to finish reading it. When a thriller doesn’t have me wanting to continue reading as fast as possible to ultimately figure out the outcome, something is wrong.
Maybe it was the fact that I found In A Dark, Dark Wood to be very predictable. I mean…no spoilers, I promise…but the second that I read THAT text, I immediately knew what had happened and who had actually sent it. I thought it was so obvious that when it was finally revealed several pages later, I thought it was just common sense and that it wasn’t really a surprise at all. I didn’t feel a sense of shock or surprise once while reading this novel which was slightly disappointing when you had such high hopes to begin with.
One element of the novel that I really did enjoy were the flash forwards to the scenes dealing with Nora in the hospital, unaware of what had happened and why she was there to begin with. I found myself really wanting to get to these chapters, but then about halfway through the novel, the timelines meet and what was once a flash forward scene now became the present.
Unfortunately I really didn’t care for any of the characters throughout this novel. Once again, maybe it’s because all of these characters from all of these thrillers I’m reading are starting to blend together. They’re all so similar and all thrust into the same situations that none of them are really unique or relatable.
For a novel that took forever to pick up in pace, it sure ended rather abruptly. I wasn’t necessarily satisfied with the ending at all and I found it was all just too easy. The police basically have this one idea about whodunit and then all of the sudden right at the very end, they change their mind…right when it becomes the most convenient.
I think that this story had some good things going for it and it definitely had potential, but the execution just wasn’t for me. It wasn’t fast enough and there was no shock value at all. Maybe I’m just jaded. I think I’ll be taking a break from thrillers for a little while.
*Note: An ARC of In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware was provided by Simon & Schuster Canada as part of their Summer Fiction Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review.
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