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Showing 1-10 of 35,693 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 43,875 reviews
on February 4, 2016
So I can't remember the last time I read a thriller, or if any of the books I've read prior to this one even qualified as a thriller. I took a chance because the last fantasy book I read, I hated, while damn near the entire rest of the fantasy community loved it, convincing me I must have something wrong. In short, here's a review of the thriller Gone Girl by non-thriller reader.

I'll be right up front and say the first half of this novel was quite a slog. It moved at a glacial pace, but the subject and plot was interesting enough to keep me plodding along, and new develops popped up often enough that I felt just "okay" about it right til about 50%. Then things hit the fan, and I gotta say, it was pretty exciting to read.

How exciting, you ask? Exciting enough that when I got finished with my workout at 3pm, I looked at TV, my video games, all my chores, and grabbed up my kindle and went to reading. I read for five straight hours, sitting on my bed, like I was a little kid again before video game consoles ever existed, unable to put this book down. That's how exciting it was.

Then the ending hit, and that ending just absolutely sucked. It feels like Flynn was just writing along, and then out of nowhere goes "Yeah, that'll do." Straight mid-thought it felt like to me. Not even a cliffhanger, more like you were watching a movie and then just randomly clicked it off halfway through with no intentions of finishing. It left me totally bewildered and unfulfilled.

Yet here I am giving this book 5 stars, and the reason for that is that 50% to 99% of the book that kept me so enthralled that I just couldn't put it down. I haven't read a book like that since A Clash of Kings, and if I'm not going to give a 5 star rating to a book that makes me read for 5 hours straight, then my standards are all jacked up.

So yeah, in short, first half was so-so, ending sucked, but that last half is gripping and such a ride that it makes it all worth it. I think I'll try another thriller.
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on May 25, 2016
Gone Girl, now long past its accolades (even an Oscar nomination for Flynn!), is a kind of book whose greatest attribute is how speedy and digestible it is. Even as someone who wouldn't say I enjoyed the book, the way it moves and gives you things to think about is to be admired - I found myself arguing with friends, relatives, coworkers about themes of this book, and considering how easy and quick it is as a read, that makes it more than worthwhile to dig into. That being said, I found it so insanely preposterous. The book follows Nick, a recent transplant to the south from New York after losing his job, dealing with his missing wife in what rapidly becomes a national scandal. Without trying to give too much away, we'll say our central couple each does plenty wrong, and as its cunning center of gravity, Amy, wriggles and manipulates her way through the books machinations, I didn't think of it as a statement of our times (because both characters lost their jobs) or as an interesting view of romance (the way these two torture each other), I just found it ridiculous. It's full of cunningly dark developments - from Ellen Abbott, the Nancy Grace-like succubus of national tragedy, to a long gestating stalker with excellent surveillance equipment - and rather than getting swept up into their ingenuity, they turn into one nutcase bit of highwire plotting after another you can't stop reading just to see what the author imagined next. That's a compelling force in and of itself - it's almost the reading equivalent of hatewatching. Yet as the book barreled towards an ending of utter insanity, I couldn't help but think (1) the book might have been considered misogynistic if it had been written by a man, and (2) the book might have been considered misogynistic if it was a little more believable. Still, I got through it in record time, and there's no doubt it has a personality and daring all its own - all of which make it completely worth the time I spent reading it.
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on October 5, 2014
I think that the author really did not mean for this book to be a thriller or a murder mystery. Because it actually focused more on characterization than anything else. It was a study, a dissection of a relationship, a sociological examination of what happens to people in a marriage, especially when those people are basically unhealthy, even mentally ill. It also strives to analyze the differences between men and women, how they see the world and each other and how they interpret each other's behavior and deal with rejection and disappointment and anger. As such a study the book works pretty well. As a mystery I found it lacking. I didn't think there were any real surprises other than Amy's behavior at the end of the novel which was inconsistent and confusing and contrived. Basically unbelievable. I know I would have enjoyed the book more if I had had a character that I could root for and care deeply about. And if there was exoneration and peace for that beloved character at the end. That's the kind of story I really enjoy. But that was not the author's intent and she has the right to tell the story as she imagines it, to get her own message out as she sees fit. The writing was wonderful, exciting and unique.
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on February 21, 2017
Was really torn over what to rate this book....4 or 5 stars. First, I haven't seen the movie so my opinions are strictly on the book. It started a bit slow.....not boring, just slow. That may be more on me, as the reader, trying to figure out the author's style and the voices of the main characters as they take turns from one chapter to the next. Next thing I knew, I was nearly done with the book. I am a huge fan of true crime and mysteries. This is one of the most devious, twisted thrillers I've read...and on that alone I have to rate it 5 stars. Seriously...everything we read seems like a knockoff from someone else successful formula. One hit book on vampires and suddenly that's all that's out there....know what I mean? But this was wickedly delicious and so cruel and twisted...and so believable, so thought out....It's was crazy good! My only doubts on the rating was the ending.....2 pages and I was so disappointed....ticked, disgusted, disappointed. After thinking about it over night,I may have softened my view on the ending. I still don't like it, but maybe I understand it more from the context of the characters and not from what I wanted to happen. Would I read this author again? Oh yes!
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on March 21, 2015
My apologies for the verbosity. I don’t usually write such lengthy reviews, but my ambivalences seemed to require explanation.
Gone Girl reads like tabloid fiction, which is not a bad thing for Gillian Flynn because tabloid fiction sells, as the popularity of the book well illustrates. People love gossip, even though it’s gossip concerning fictional character celebrities. It’s why reality TV is so hot. If you love that stuff, you are not alone and you will love this book. I don’t. It was recommended to me for the interesting psycho-dynamics of the main characters.

I do love the author’s writing style. Her command of language, the dark humor and quick wit kept me reading. Most of the time, when she broke the rules, it was done with purpose and it worked. Her powerful, clever prose in the narrative was perfect for this sort of read. The dialogue was never pointless. The mystery of Amy missing was introduced early enough, and the clues the author carefully crafted were masterful. Amy knew Nick and Nick knew Amy, and each had a most distinctive voice.

The first half of this book was pure torture for me, slow and tedious. Multiple first person POV always slows the story down and creates an ebb and flow. It’s not my favorite technique. I want action and a forward momentum. You learn all the nuances and details about Amy and Nick, their relationship to each other and with others, and how they thought and felt about each other. I also don’t care for chick-lit or romance, but they are popular genres, which again leans to the popularity of this book.

The points in Part One could have been made with half the words. But that’s the price you pay for well-developed, multidimensional characters. Aside from the mystery, it was almost completely character development. This is going to sound like a contradiction: I’m not big on back story being at the front of the book, but with the dual points of view and the unreliable narrator elements, it all worked marvelously well for the story in the long run. The pace kicked up a few notches once we got out of Amy’s diary.

However, it’s worth repeating, I do feel the character development was overwritten, over dramatized. There was a tremendous amount of unnecessary repetition; words, sentences, phrases, paragraphs, rephrasing example after example. Too many times while reading, I told the author, “Enough already! You just said that. We’ve heard that one too many times. Do we really need to go over this again? Okay, you’ve made your point; can we just get on with the story?” (See how annoying that is. It doesn’t emphasize anything. It just grates.)

There has been a lot of talk about these characters. People have said there isn’t one likeable character in this book. The criticisms reinforce people’s intolerance of the mentally ill, the stigmatization we see. Margo; she is the most natural, down-to-earth character, and sane. Nick and Amy are sick, (aside from that they are likable). I do believe my empathy as a nurse played a part here; I felt a serious sadness for them. Both of them. Their story touched me emotionally in that way. That it did, and the fact that the plot unraveled quickly for me as a psychiatric professional with years of experience in forensics and crisis stabilization, bodes well for the author’s deep understanding of how the severely disturbed think and behave, and why.

It was supposed to be a thriller and suspense>crime novel. I was expecting thrilling suspense. There was crime (albeit intentionally clichéd and a sturdy, well-established, tired trope), there was fantastic psychological intrigue throughout, but not much thrill or suspense. Maybe I have lived too long, seen and heard too much, worked in too many psych facilities/forensics units, but I had the ending completely figured down to the finite details before I was two-thirds finished with the novel. The twists and turns were predictable. Nothing shocked me (except the blood on the kitchen floor, somebody needed sutures). I never feared for anyone in this book except the one who died. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the work. It was interesting from the psychological perspective, but I never found anything really thrilling about the story. It wasn’t Hitchcock, Highsmith or King suspense. That was a big disappointment, but it’s not the author’s fault. It’s just where I’m coming from.

I don’t read reviews until I’ve completed a book. There is enormous quibbling about the ending. Long standing patterns of behavior don’t change in real life without major medical intervention. Short of that, the ending is the only possible ending it could have had and remained character true and realistic.

I’m not compelled to see the movie. My husband has this next on his reading list and I’m curious for his reaction. He’s a crime novel aficionado. I would recommend the read. This was a new-to-me author and I feel she demonstrates remarkable writing talent, skill and a commitment to her writing process and the challenges it poses.

On a final note, I would like to say thanks to the publishers who set the price for the book. I think it was fair and so often that’s not the case with the traditionally published. That’s to be respected. I am giving one star for two reasons: You didn’t jack up the price for a book in demand, and the digital copy was very well done!
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on September 22, 2014
Like many of the previous reviews, I must say that the story-line, twists and intrigue is solid - until the end. Below, is a recap of my experience:
What I liked: character development; first-person story telling; suspenseful writing; random humorous fact tidbits (i.e., pointing out the proper use of the pronoun "I".)
What I didn't like: the ending! Really? For such a in-depth character development, thought provoking, and suspenseful first 90%, the ending seemed like the author had two weeks to come up with a conclusion and randomly hammered one out, between doing a load of laundry and going for a run. I was also disappointed, and at one point just played annoyed, by of the use of vulgarity. I am in no way a prude, and used to the "usual suspects" of today's mystery, crime and legal writing. I also got the impression the excessive use of vulgarity was supposed to make (at least) Amy's character believable, once you found out her true identity. But really. After awhile it felt like I was back in kindergarten hearing immature "pee, pee, poo, poo" child-speak. I don't understand why in today's literary world, writers have to include stuff of NC-17 (and beyond) ratings. I don't want to read C***, B****, F***, C***, etc. over, and over again. I get it! You are trying to hammer home the fact that the character is unstable. I don't need to be offended as a human being, and as a woman, to catch on. The overly excessive obscenities forced me to lose respect for you as a writer, Gillian.

All in all, a creative and suspenseful read. Just be prepared for a lot of "pee pee, poo poo" slang and a ridiculously disappointing ending.
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on May 13, 2017
This book blew me away. It starts out as a murder mystery, then becomes so much more. There are a lot of little clues and red herrings along the way, leading you through an excellent mystery. The writing was great. There's some really awesome imagery, but I didn't like all the parenthesis.

I have to recommend not spoiling this book before you read it. Don't see the movie, just read the book. It's a mystery and the fun in reading it came from trying to figure out what was going on.

The beginning is a little slow. There's lots of backstory, and a lot of information to set the scene. There were things to keep me interested, things I noticed that I wondered about, but it wasn't until the half-way point that I couldn't put this down. Everything in the first half of this book it building to a serious turning point in the middle. Once I reached that part, everything changed.

I didn't like Amy at first because she sounded pretentious. You hear her side of the story, and get flashbacks of her and Nick's past through diary entries. As the first half of the book went on I started to like her and I started to believe that Nick had killed her. By the end, I was rooting for Nick.

The ending was satisfactory, but not entirely satisfying. <Spoiler> I really really wanted Nick to kill Amy in the end. It felt like she deserved it, but doing so wouldn't have given him a happy ending. There was a part of me that rooted for Amy at times, and there were even parts that wished Nick and Amy could have what they used to -- so a part of me was very satisfied with the ending, but at the same time, I know its all fake and so it's not really. </Spoiler> It's a very twisted book, but I loved it.
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on February 18, 2014
I have to say, the first 1/3 of the book was pretty good and gets you into the story. By the middle, I felt like I was reading a Lifetime movie script that someone had written after watching "Sleeping With The Enemy". The end was horrible- really. It was like she had only a couple of pieces of paper left and decided to end the story half-hearted and without any real resolution. Not like "oh, wow, what a cliffhanger" resolution, but an "oh, I read this whole book for that?" resolution.
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on March 30, 2015
This book was the first book I had read from this author. I kept hearing people talk about the movie (which I have not seen) and decided to read the book. I always like books better than movies! The story jumps right in, no waiting for the part where Amy turns up missing, and keeps you guessing until the end. I loved how the story flowed between Nick in the present and Amy's diary and then at about half way through the plot twist and you get another perspective and just when you think you got it all figured out, another twist and perspective! I will admit the ending shocked me and my opinions of the characters changed each time something new was revealed. I can't say a whole lot without giving away parts of the book. I would have given this book 5 stars but I just can't decide if I liked the ending or not. I fully understand why the book ended the way it did, but it just wasn't what I wanted (or maybe what I expected?) I will say that this book does a great job of revealing the fact that just because you are friends with someone or love someone doesn't mean you truly know and understand them.
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on September 29, 2014
The stories of Amy and Nick are told in alternate chapters. The marriage of Nick and Amy turns toxic when they lose their jobs in New York and move back to their hometown in Missouri. Amy is unhappy, disappears and is presumed dead, with Nick the prime suspect.

SPOILER ALERT for description that follows. On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing. At first Nick is worried, then becomes alarmed, as does the rest of the town. Told from alternating points of view, Nick and Amy tell their stories through conversation (Nick) and a diary (Amy). However, their stories do not match. Amy is hiding out and uses her fake diary to lead police to believe Nick is her killer since she has "disappeared." Amy is running low on money when she is robbed by fellow guests of a motel. Desperate, she seeks help from her first boyfriend, Desi. He agrees to hide her but keeps her almost a prisoner.

Amy disappears under very disturbing circumstances. Nick and Amy Dunne were the golden couple when they first began their courtship. Soul mates. They could complete each other's sentences, guess each other's reactions. They could push each other's buttons. They are smart, charming, gorgeous, and also narcissistic, selfish, and cruel. The book ends with Amy writing that she is about to give birth to her son, and that she has written a memoir about her abduction by Desi. Nick had begun writing his own memoir exposing Amy's murderous, manipulative tendencies, but he deleted it when Amy (who knew he had wanted a child for years), revealed her pregnancy. The ending shows Nick and Amy back together, with Nick being kind and gentle, loving the thought of becoming a father. He decides that if he can return to being the man Amy fell in love with, he could be happy and make himself happy.

Things I liked are: Fresh language, humor, irony. Also the anniversary stories Amy conjures up to amuse Nick
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