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Monday, November 28, 2016

In a Dark, Dark Wood + The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware


After reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, I finally realized my love for psychological thrillers and crime fiction. (I like to think I've adopted it from my mom — you see, all she watches are crime dramas. Criminal Minds, Bones, even Murder, She Wrote and COLUMBO. You name the episode, she's seen it!) There's just something about separating lies from the truth, piecing together the facts, and finally getting to the big reveal/plot twist that is incredibly satisfying.

Ruth Ware was one of the first mystery authors on my radar and surprisingly, I started (and finished) both of her books within one month. That says a lot about her, because I never read two books in a row by the same author. As you'll notice in a little bit, Ware writes about women who are invited to special events and get trapped in sticky situations.

Without further ado, here are my thoughts on Ware's published novels: In a Dark, Dark Wood (her debut) and The Woman in Cabin 10.



IN A DARK, DARK WOOD

Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press (Simon & Schuster)
Rating: 3 stars

If you're looking for something to zoom through in one sitting, look no further. In a Dark, Dark Wood will pull you in from the very beginning, so don't start this before you go to bed. Unless you want to go to work/school with fatigue.

In a Dark, Dark Wood follows Leonora Shaw, a writer who rarely leaves home. That is, until she receives an unexpected invitation to a friend's hen (bachelorette) party — in the woods. But that's the least of her concerns, because why would a friend she hasn't seen in a decade want to spend a weekend with her?

Ware begins this story with Leonora in a hospital bed, not asking "what happened?" but "what have I done?" And that is what'll keep your mind moving. Each chapter reveals just enough to leave readers wanting more, and wanting to figure out the mystery behind why Leonora can't remember her weekend.

Although In a Dark, Dark Wood is driven by plot, Ware's characters did not go uncared for. Each of them was distinguishable and had such different personalities. While trying to pinpoint who was "good" or "bad," I had so much trouble — each of the bachelorette partygoers seemed suspicious to me!

It's such a quick and atmospheric read, but I do admit that the reason for it all was really ridiculous. I will not go into details, as that's for you to discover if you please. All I will say is that I felt slightly underwhelmed in the end. However, if you are interested, don't let me hold you back from reading In a Dark, Dark Wood. It is somewhat predictable, but entertaining at least.




Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press (Simon & Schuster)
Rating: 3.5 stars

Similar to In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10 also follows a lady writer — this time, a travel journalist named Lo Blacklock who is offered the trip of a lifetime, a chance to see the northern lights aboard a new luxury cruise ship called the Aurora. She hopes to spend her time relaxing and recovering from a recent incident, but everything flips upside down after hearing, on her first night, a woman being thrown overboard next door. After alerting the security, she finds out that no one is missing and the ship sails on as if nothing ever happened ...

The Woman in Cabin 10 is a much slower read compared to In a Dark, Dark Wood, but more thoughtful in plot. Meeting every single character on the boat pulled me away from the story, and following Lo around while she takes on the challenge of finding the culprit/s herself was monotonous. On multiple occasions, I found myself thinking, "when do we get MORE?"

I felt like some of Ware's "clues" did not fit the bigger picture, which made the story a bit confusing and harder to guess the mystery behind it all. However, I do think her story telling in this sophomore novel improved.



The nice thing about Ware's novels is that they aren't TOO creepy. In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 won't give you nightmares, but will definitely keep you on your toes.

According to Goodreads, Ware will have a new book titled The Lying Game in June 2017 — but I haven't been able to find any supporting articles.

Have you read either of Ruth Ware's novels yet, or will you?
What new genre/s have you been gravitating toward recently?

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