Suspenseful thrillers // We Were Liars & Rebecca

Copy of MINI-REVIEW-2

16143347A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

What I Liked

Writing style is dramatic and poetic. It is interesting how emotions are described in this book: “Then he pulled out a handgun and shot me in the chest. I was standing on the lawn and I fell. The bullet hole opened wide and my heart rolled out of my rib cage and down into a flower bed.” (Note: No one got shot here, literally, that is.)

I love how quotable this book is. Some of my favourites: “Be a little kinder than you have to.” “Do not accept an evil you can change.”

The complex family dynamics and how this affects the children.

The ending. I did NOT see that coming. However, in retrospect, there were little hints planted throughout the initial chapters of the book, so the revelation towards the end makes sense. I love books with meaningful plot twists that take me by surprise.

What I Didn’t Like

Despite how short this book is, the pacing is slow. There are moments where I wanted to skip forward in the story for something to happen. It didn’t feel like a thriller until about the last 20% of the book.

Although I liked the characters overall, the main character is an unreliable narrator, and this makes it hard to relate to her as the story progressed. It was difficult to like the adults in this book.

The Bottom Line: 3/5 stars

Despite the slow spacing, the finale of We Were Liars will have you turning the pages. The beautiful writing style enchanted me from beginning to end.

Blog_3stars

17899948Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

 

 

 

What I Liked

The main characters, who are polar opposites of each other:

  • There is Rebecca, who is a feisty, strong-willed, independent woman. Even though she is already dead at the beginning of the novel, her presence dominates the story.
  • Then there is the narrator of this story, who is quiet, subdued and seeks approval from her husband and her servants. She is haunted by the idea of Rebecca, her husband’s late wife, who is said to be beautiful, charming, and perfect in every way. The narrator tries to emulate Rebecca, living in her shadow. We all know the name of Rebecca, who is brilliant, gorgeous, and dead, but the narrator of this story is unnamed.

The writing is gorgeous. I love the imagery, which conveys the setting and the feel of the scene so seamlessly. I love how we can follow the narrator’s train of thought easily, how we can understand each of her actions. So many quotable parts of this book: If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.”

An interesting plot twist towards the end of the novel. Initially I was not fond of the narrator’s reaction to this event, however, it seems like there is a deeper literary meaning to this as well.

Usually, I associate classics with being slow-paced and super long. However this one was quite easy to read! The beginning hooked me with the beautiful and lyrical writing style, and the second half kept me on the edge of my seat.

Underneath the story is a subtle discussion of the female gender role in marriage and in society. Despite this being an older novel, I was glad to see a strong female character who is fearless and independent (Rebecca herself).

What I Didn’t Like

The secondary characters are believable and human, however I don’t find them relatable, as much as I do our narrator.

The Bottom Line: 5/5

Rebecca is a classic for a good reason: The lyrical writing and suspenseful story-telling will keep you hooked from beginning to end.

Blog_5stars

Blog_letschat

How do you feel about unreliable narrators? Which classic book(s) did you enjoy?

DIY-scarf3

Last but not least, be sure to join my giveaway before Sunday March 31st! I will announce the winner on April 2nd. Click here for more details!

 

24 thoughts on “Suspenseful thrillers // We Were Liars & Rebecca

  1. Marie says:

    Ahh I am so glad you enjoyed We Were Liars overall, I really liked this book! The writing style and story were quite, particular but I ended up loving it so much – and that ending, I didn’t see it coming AT all, which made the book all the more powerful 🙂
    Lovely reviews! 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Glad to hear that you also enjoyed this book! Haha yes, the writing style really is something 🙂 The ending is one of my favourite aspects of this book. It still haunts me weeks after I read it!
      Thank you Marie ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    So I haven’t read Rebecca but I did read We Were Liars and I’m glad you enjoyed that one overall Sophie (3 out of 5 stars is still a very solid rating in my mind). Oh my god that ending! I was like you I didn’t see it coming but looking back there were hints weren’t there? I knew going into it that there was going to be a twist, and at one point I actually thought I knew what it was but I was so wrong because when the actual twist was revealed I was completely blown away. I feel like I actually ended up giving the book an extra star simply because of how well the twist was done.
    Do you plan on reading any of E. Lockhart’s other releases? I’ve been meaning to but never quite managed to get around to them (probably not surprising to hear that).
    Great reviews. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hello Beth ❤
      You are right- I usually give 3/5 stars for a book that I enjoyed overall 🙂 Yes I was blown away by that ending as well. I was also forewarned about the fact that there would be a plot twist, but I never expected THAT to happen at the end.
      I haven't looked too much into her other books, but I think I will keep an eye and an ear out for them. E Lockhart's writing style is interesting and I am impressed by the storytelling in this one 🙂 Thank you Beth ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        In that case I guess your We Were Liars review was a positive one all in all. 🙂 I was forewarned that there’d be a twist too but I still never saw the actual twist coming. I was shocked.
        Hopefully you’ll find another of her releases you’ll enjoy just as much, or even more than this one.
        That’s all right. 🙂 ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Reach says:

    I read We Were Liars a few years back. While I did like the writing/language, I know what you mean about the ending. I was also hoping for a more complex plot; but, instead, the narrative kind of fell short and somewhat predictable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. haidanwrites says:

    I loved Rebecca too!! I’ve been a fan of gothic romance for a long time and it sat on my to-read list for so long before I finally read it. I really enjoyed your review of it too – I felt much the same way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hello Haidan!! Hope that you’re doing well 😀 What writing projects are you working on now!?
      Glad to hear that you loved Rebecca as well! This one was also on my to-read list for a while 🙂

      Like

      • haidanwrites says:

        Hiii! I’m actually working on a series to post on my blog when I’m done… I love reading your book reviews. I’m taking a publishing course and for one of the discussion questions that asked us to suggest some book blogs I put down this one 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        That’s awesome!! A series as in a novel!? Looking forward to reading it 🙂 How are you liking the publishing course? I’ve been wanting to take some writing workshops or classes but haven’t gotten around to that yet.

        Like

      • haidanwrites says:

        Yeah sort of like a novel haha. Publishing is pretty cool. I’m taking it more as a way to find out what they’re looking for though, as there aren’t really writing courses in the program. If you find any good writing classes let me know!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        Oh I see! What program are you doing? I moved to Vancouver haha, but if I find any good online classes I’ll let you know 🙂 Are you going to do Nanowrimo or Camp Nano this year?

        Like

    • Sophie Li says:

      It seemed like you really enjoyed Rebecca as well, and I am glad! Yes we really get up close and personal with Mrs. de Winter in this novel, and I loved how I could always understand her thought process and her state of mind. We Were Liars had a super epic ending which I enjoyed. Hope that you will like this book when you get a chance to read it 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s