Mini-Reviews: Gone Girl, Sharp Objects & Dark Places // Edge-of-the-seat thrillers by Gillian Flynn

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Hello everyone!

I think I fell back in love with writing reviews. The secret? Mini-reviews! The truth is, I never have that much to write about a book, even one that I love very, very much. After seeing some bloggers nail this approach (such as Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books, and The Orangutan Librarian), I couldn’t help but give this a try.

Gillian Flynn is one of my favourite authors. After reading Gone Girl on my plane ride to China, I couldn’t help but devour Dark Places and Sharp Objects as well. I am amazed by her writing style and her mastery at psychological suspense.

Gone Girl

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From the back cover

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

What I liked

  • Humorous and witty writing that makes you smile and wince at all the right places
  • Plot twists that keep you guessing
  • Main characters (Nick and Amy) who are flawed, messed-up, and very fascinating to get into the heads of
  • Sharp, quick pacing that will have you turning the pages

What I didn’t like

  • Without spoiling the story: The antagonist of this story is very thorough, methodical, and calculating in their ways, making it difficult to relate to this character

Overall: 4/5

Gone Girl is a roller-coaster ride without a single dull moment. It must-read for anyone who is a fan of the mystery and thriller genre.

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Dark Places

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From the back cover

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

What I liked

  • The plot twists!! There is never a dull moment
  • Libby and her family. Even though Libby’s mother and sisters are dead in present day, we get to learn about their personality and quirks through Libby’s memory
  • The disturbing details of the backstory

What I didn’t like

  • Libby’s character isn’t immediately likeable – she is bitter and calculating. However, I feel that this is the intention of the author, and Libby grew on me over time

Overall: 4/5

Yet another amazing novel by Gillian Flynn. As much as this is a murder mystery about Satanic rituals, Dark Places is also a story about the love that underlies a family. I absolutely loved this novel, maybe even more so than Gone Girl.

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Sharp Objects

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From the back cover

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows, a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

What I liked

  • Amazing prose and dialogue
  • A well-developed main character (Camille) who has depth and flaws
  • An intricately woven story line with plot twists that will keep you guessing

What I didn’t like

  • For a thriller, the pacing was incredibly slow. Nothing much happens for the first 80% (and then it is like %&$*#?!)
  • Repeated use of certain phrases, like “she is the type of woman who holds your hair back when you vomit”, and “smell like sex”

Overall: 3/5

If you can put up with the slow pacing, Sharp Objects tells a haunting tale about dead (and very, very sick) people that will raise the hairs at the back of your neck.

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PS.

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Are you a fan of the thriller/suspense genre? Have you watched the Gone Girl movie? What do you like writing better: full-length reviews or mini-reviews?

25 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews: Gone Girl, Sharp Objects & Dark Places // Edge-of-the-seat thrillers by Gillian Flynn

  1. Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

    Awesome reviews, Sophie. Definitely a practical way to approach it. It helps when you got a heavy backlog indeed. As a slow reader… I’d probably never be able to do this for novels, but maybe some day I’ll end up having to do it for graphic novels since I read a lot of those that I don’t always immediately do a full review for. I saw Gone Girl the movie when it was released (it had one of my favourite directors on it too) and absolutely loved it. Since then I told myself I’d try out all her books but have yet to pick them. Hopefully I’ll be able to change that in 2018 hahah 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sophie Li says:

      Thank you Lashaan! Yes it is a practical approach. I’ve been putting off writing full-length reviews for some books, which is why I have a backlog :’) It sounds like it would be a good idea to write mini-reviews for graphic novels. I used to read a lot of graphic novels, but recently I don’t know where to start, so I look forward to seeing your reviews!
      That’s great to hear that you also enjoyed the Gone Girl movie. I would definitely recommend the book as well. It is different from the movie in that you can get to know more about Nick and Amy’s thought processes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. MichaelK says:

    I seldom have the time (or patience) to write a full length review, so I am totally into mini reviews which I also broadcast.
    Thriller/suspense is nice but I am not heavily into it. I’ve only watched the Gone Girl movie which was nice although I am certain the book will better!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sophie Li says:

      Yes same here! Patience is what I lack!

      I definitely enjoyed the Gone Girl book even more than the movie (which I also loved). It is interesting to get into the heads of the characters, which I find not so much with film in general.

      I still am terrified about watching the video you uploaded this week haha :’)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Marie says:

    Oh great reviews, Sophie! I’m so glad you’re doing these little reviews and thank you for mentioning me, I’m glad if I could influence you to do this in any way 🙂
    I haven’t read any of these books and I am not really sure they are for me – I am not too into these kind of thriller reads, but I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    Hi Sophie! 🙂
    Mini reviews are definitely way to go I think. 🙂 It’s got to be easier to write them than the massive reviews that take ages and (well in my case for sure) go off on strange tangents. 😀
    I haven’t read any of Gillian Flynn’s books but I’ve heard incredible things about them. Everyone I know seemed to read Gone Girl when the film was released so for a while at work it was all anyone was talking about. The thriller genre isn’t really my thing I have to say, I’ve read a few YA thrillers I’ve enjoyed but I’m always going to be a fantasy reader it has to be said, but I’m glad you enjoyed these books Sophie. 🙂
    Great reviews! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Thank you Beth! ❤ Yes I think I am going to be writing more mini-reviews! These days I’ve only been reviewing a few of the books that I’ve read, because I don’t have much to say. However I will be more motivated to write them if I know they can be short 🙂 Do you prefer to write full-length reviews?
      I love Gillian Flynn’s books, but of course the thriller genre isn’t for everyone! I also like fantasy though I haven’t read many books in this genre lately- hoping to get back into it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Thank you so much for the shoutout! That was very kind of you! I completely agree about Flynn- I love her style and I really enjoyed Dark Places too 🙂 I get what you mean about Libby, but she grew on me too. I’ve not read Sharp Objects yet, but it sounds awesome, even if it is a little slow. Great reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

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