Is The Girl on the Train on your summer reading list?

This week I have been reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which has been billed by the press as the next Gone Girl. I loved the book and the film so obviously I wanted to give it a go and see if it was everything it was cracked up to be.
The novel revolves around Rachel who takes a commuter train into London every morning. The train stops at a signal each day giving her a view into the gardens of a perfect row of Victorian houses where she has conjured up a whole back story about “Jess” and “Jason”, a couple who live in one of the houses. But one day Rachel sees something that shatters the illusion she has created and it changes everything.

Now I need to put this out there before any of you rush out and buy this book, you will not like any of the characters. All of them are unlikable. Rachel, the main character, is totally unstable, her busybody housemate is annoying, the “real” Jess and Jason are definitely not the perfect couple. However, I personally loved that all of the characters are a hot mess, I think it makes for a much more interesting story.

This is your typical psychological thriller, and it was certainly a page turner. I did guess the ending about half way through, but up until that point I was pointing fingers at people left right and centre, so I’m not disappointed.

I will say that The Girl on the Train isn’t really much like Gone Girl other than it is a psychological thriller. I think that Gone Girl is much more complex and the twist is far better. However I really enjoyed reading The Girl on the Train and I would recommend it as a summer read. Paula Hawkins writing style captivated me, and while I didn’t particularly like Rachel, I empathised with her and what she was going through, which implicitly conveys her talent as a writer,

Have you read The Girl on the Train? What is on your summer reading list?

Book review: Wool by Hugh Howey

I studied English at university and this is where my passion
for dystopian fiction really ignited. I was chatting to my favourite tutor  in an office hour about an essay question for
a module on James Joyce and mentioned my love for Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and she encouraged
me to pursue my interest and write about it as a dissertation topic. Now
whenever I research new books to read, I always search for books in this genre
first. My boyfriend thinks it is weird and depressing, but clearly there is a
growing interest in dystopian literature shown by the huge success of novels
such as  The Hunger Games, Divergent and
The Maze Runner. So if you like these
books, you should definitely keep reading to find out more about Hugh Howey’s Wool.
This novel was originally a short story but the readers
loved it so much that Howey released four more parts to complete book one of the Silo trilogy. You can now buy an omnibus version of the book to save
yourself some money – or if you are feeling extra keen (like me!) you can also
buy the whole trilogy.
The story is set in the future in a world that has been
largely destroyed by a disaster and it focuses on the survivors who live deep
underground in a huge multi-storey silo that houses everything from farms to
hospitals. A view of the outside can only been seen from the very top level,
displayed on a huge screen that is linked with cameras on the outside. The
world outside is desolate and bleak and talk of going outside is forbidden,
punished by exile into the barren landscape and a certain death that lies
there. However there are a few in the silo that dare to dream and dare to push
the boundaries to find out more about what really happened years ago and what
lies beyond the hills.
After reading a synopsis on Goodreads I somehow got the
impression this book was going to be aimed at teens with a fairly simple plot
that would be predictable but an enjoyable and quick read. I’m not sure where I
got this idea from because in reality, Wool
is complex, but not overcomplicated
and I found it was something I could really
get my teeth into
. There was so much to learn about the way the characters live
I was hungry for more and more (so glad I bought the trilogy collection now!).
While it does focus on adult characters, it is suitable for teen readers too,
but be warned it isn’t a mushy Twilight style love story which unfortunately I
think The Hunger Games and Divergent etc focuses on a little too
much (just my opinion…!).
I loved Wool because
the post-apocalyptic scenario was fascinating and the fact that the residents
of the silo know little or nothing of their legacy just screams that there is a
lot more to discover.
The air of mystery was captivating and kept me turning
the pages to claw in more and more of this new world.
The book is quite a long one and at around 500 pages it may
be a stretch too far for some who prefer quicker and lighter reads. It has been
described by others as a slow burner, but in my opinion this made it all the
more interesting and gave a real opportunity for Howey to convey life in the
silo and develop his characters.
The characters in Wool
are fascinating
and due to the storytelling, I felt part of their world and
connected well with them. There is a perfect balance of goodies and baddies to
keep the story ticking along at an exciting pace to find out what they do next.
 It is told from different perspectives
which really helped to explain how different roles fit into the matrix of the
silo as well as giving an insight into their state of mind which is a huge
developing theme across the trilogy.
Having fallen in love with Wool and the world of the silo I quickly moved on to the next book
in the series Shift which I am now
coming to the end of and I have to say, I think I am obsessed with this trilogy,
so I highly recommend it if you are looking for your next big read.

What are you reading at the moment? Can you recommend any good
dystopian novels?