Top positive review
Not what you expect, and YES! It's GOOD!!! DON'T MISS IT! But personal level? Two nitpicks.
Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2016
I will openly admit I approached this book with a lot of scoffing and derision. The author of Twilight...writing a THRILLER? I mocked. A lot. So before I say anything else I can absolutely tell you the book changed my mind I expected to hate it. I have long been a critic of Meyer's loose writing and weak heroines, so when the "tight thriller" statements started coming out I did laugh, but...that has turned out to be an accurate description of this book, and I absolutely would recommend it to anyone. Read it!!! DON'T MISS THIS BOOK. And for that reason, I would like to start with the things I was impressed with, which was a lot.
A) Meyer's writing in this book is of much higher quality than her other books. Significantly so. I really do detest 'filler' in books. Thoughts that don't matter, descriptions that are irrelevant, musings that bore me to tears... The writing really is amazingly tight in this book as compared to her other books.
B) It's a real thriller, not a romance with a bit of "fake" mystery to make it seem real, which again, was a surprise to me. I thought for sure it would be one of those pathetic romances with a prop for a plot. Well, not so at all in this case. The plot, with its plentiful twists and turns, is definitely the focus of the story, and it is a well planned, gripping plot at that. It was fantastically done.
C) The heroine is strong, brilliant, and capable, and my opinion as an avid feminist is that she rocks. I love her!!! I absolutely love her. I love that she isn't weak, and survives on her own, and doesn't need anyone... I love that her life on the run has been lonely, but she has remained strong and outwitted operatives who are far better trained. I love that she was capable of saving her own life when it came right down to the line. I also love the fact that, as mentioned, she is brilliant. Not just top in her field, but doing work nobody else could even keep up with. And then there is the part where she remains calm in tense situations, thinks clearly, acts with purpose... Yeah, I really do absolutely love her.
D) I very much appreciated the fact that Meyer didn't stoop to the use of slang, 'code' words used in dialogue, and over exaggerations of "special ops lingo" in an attempt at authenticity. I was military for 13 years...just an airplane mechanic...not something super secret or cool. But I have 0 respect for authors who try to make their books seem extra bad-a by using excessive, and grossly overdone language and terminology. This book stood on its own, and didn't need such props, and really benefited greatly from not having them. Very well done.
E) And finally, the love interest. I was conflicted at first, but decided I was very pleased with the way things turned out. To be honest, I get sick of the constant grind of alpha male, helpless heroine routine, and I ultimately decided this romance made me happy, mostly because it was real.
So those are the things that have most impressed me so far. Now, for the couple of things I struggled with personally as a reader. One wasn't a super big deal, but the other (though I lumped it in with the "nitpick") was noticeable enough to me at the start of the book that I almost didn't keep reading. So as for the two things I struggled with:
A) The POV is third person, which I like infinitely better than first, but the book starts out with a narrator telling the story from a distance, and though that went away, the distance did not. Not for a long time for me. I couldn't connect with with the heroine. I didn't dislike her for the first 8 chapters, but nor did I like her. To be clear, this was not insignificant for me. At one point around chapter 5 I felt so disconnected I started checking to see how many pages were left in the book like a nervous tic, because I didn't know if I could keep reading for THAT many. It went away, absolutely, and I generally loved the book otherwise. But the extent of my struggle is the specific reason why I knocked off a star.
B) It's a small complaint, but the name thing drove me nuts. The heroine, in the first chapters of the book, not only used different names when she talked to other people, she actually THOUGHT of herself in terms of those names. She WAS Casey, and then she WAS Alex, and then she WAS Jesse... Normally when using fake names, the character will still think of themselves in terms of their own names, but that wasn't the case here, and combined with the distance in the POV at the start, it did add to my overall struggle to really become engaged in the character and plot. That went away too, of course, but again, anything that almost causes me to put a book down, I mention.
So my overall thoughts on this book are surprise and pleasure. I had no intention of loving it so much. I have NOT been a Meyer fan for a lot of years, and to be completely honest, I only bought this book so I could read it and then mock it. That was the plan. I even told the plan to my sister (also not a Meyer fan) and we laughed about it together. And then I read the book...and it was overall fantastic. Don't miss the read, and if you struggle with the distance like I did in the beginning, don't give it up. Keep reading. I really don't think you will be sorry...and though nobody knows me, that is about the highest recommendation I can give considering the author, and my previous opinions of her work. I didn't think in a million years she would change my mind.
But she did!!!