ARC Book Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook
ashley | I was first introduced to Eileen Cook early 2015 when I was sent an ARC of her book Remember. I remember being quite taken with this book, so when I saw and ARC of With Malice up for grabs, I immediately requested it with the hopes of stumbling into another very real, very intense read.
A little bit of me wishes this didn’t start out with a girl who couldn’t remember things, it reminded me a bit too much of Remember. But that’s where those similarities in stories ended. This was a thrill all on its own. A gut wrenching, stomach turning thrill.
Told through various interview transcripts, as well as a linear story as Jill tries to piece things together, there are some brutal truths that come out about people’s perceptions of other people, not always true, and man does that ever tie my stomach into knots. I really liked how this kept the reader dragging along, giving little pieces of the story from witness statements and Jill’s unreliable memory. You never knew what was the truth or misconstrued and you never knew what was being blown out of proportion. This definitely kept me on my toes and while some things seemed like it was black and white, you couldn’t help but wonder what was really going on that we haven’t figured out yet.
I also found the focus of social media coming back to haunt you to be very interesting. And media in general. Every word, every quote, every picture that was put up on social media was analyzed and questioned trying to form certain images of these girls, trying to build a kind of character, whether it be guilty or innocent depending on the side you were on. This really makes you think twice about what you are putting out in the world.
I found the ending quite abrupt. We were building and piecing things together all through the book and then suddenly bam, it’s all over. The end result was also kind of anti-climatic. I really liked the ending, but I feel like it didn’t have the chance to make as big of an impact as it could have. The one thing this book doesn’t focus on is the characters, they don’t really grow and you don’t really get to know them. So lacking that, I think it makes the ending seem kind of two dimensional, when it could have been vibrantly 3D had we seen a bit more of that character grow.
That said, I really enjoyed this. I read through it quite quickly and for the most part it kept me on my toes.The relationship between the truth and unreliable memories made it difficult to believe anything that you were being fed and I loved that aspect of this book. Definitely worth the read if you’re in the mood for a quick paced thriller.
june 7, 2016