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Solitary: A Novel (Solitary Tales Series) Paperback – Bargain Price, August 1, 2010
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"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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About the Author
The author of a dozen works of fiction, including Isolation and Ghostwriter, Travis Thrasher has been writing since he was in the third grade. His writing is known for its honesty, depth, and surprising twists. Thrasher lives with his wife and daughter near Chicago.
- Paperback : 400 pages
- Product Dimensions : 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.3 inches
- Reading level : 13 and up
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Publisher : David C. Cook; New Edition (August 1, 2010)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B004IEA342
- Best Sellers Rank: #7,594,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Now my complaints:
1. After finishing it I was left with the impression that it was like a WB show that ended with the much hyped season finale (where not much gets resolved, but there is plenty of shock and awe) and you're supposed to be looking forward to the next season where all of your questions are answered... but it gets cancelled because the first season just wasn't that great. I'm still a little annoyed after watching Lost and having the prospect of it all making sense in the end dangled before me, only to have to suffer through the fiasco that was season six. And I'm more generous with TV. I'm resistant to authors who can't write a coherent novel in and of itself, and need you to sign up for their eight planned installments to get the whole story. That is just too much hubris on the front end for me.
2. The dialogue got really repetitive after about 50 pages.
Half the book consists of conversations that go like this:
"What's going on?"
"I can't tell you."
"Can't tell me what?"
"Just be careful, that's all."
"What are you talking about?"
"Not now, just trust me."
Super lame. You cannot effectively develop any kind of multi-dimensional character when they are incapable of revealing any of their thoughts, everything they say must fit in a five word phrase, and the narrator is not omniscient.
3. Overall, it comes across as a pretty misogynistic book. There is not a single admirable female character. The girl protagonist is consistently portrayed as a helpless victim with major emotional issues, the mom is a drunk, the one aunt is a crazy witch-lady, the other aunt is shacked up with a drunk pedophile, the side-kick girls are flaky and one-dimensional. The narrator falls in love with a girl who has nothing going for her other then her flawless beauty and never-ending vulnerability, but this evidently makes her the Christian boy fantasy girl (I listen to Christian music, every guy band has their song about that girl.) Gag me.
4. Maybe I'm a snob, but a novel is supposed to have themes and characters that develop, come to a critical point and then resolve. I don't need a happy ending, but I do need some sense that the characters have learned and grown and there is some identifiable theme or question the novel is trying to explore. I missed what I was supposed to take away from this book. Unless it was that all an abused and victimized young woman needs to find hope in eternal life is a nice guy who is blown away by her porcelain doll face and flowing dark hair. Again, gag me.
First of all, let me say that I think Solitary is beautifully and elegantly written. Unlike some, the nouveau paragraphing doesn't bother me. If anything, it makes the book easier to read. In addition, I wasn't annoyed by the insertion of Christian undertones in this novel like some other reviewers have criticized (or praised). My problem with this novel is with the ending ... The First 90% of the book is brilliant, the last 10% is just ridiculous. I get that this is the first book in a series, but the author spent so much time interweaving action, mystery, and intrigue only to leave the reader with even more questions than when the book first began. I found myself almost angered by the denouement.
Ok, I get it. The author wanted to write a dramatic, up-in-the-air ending that foreshadowed, "This is a series!" I get it. I just think it could have been done in a less annoying way. I felt cheated at the end of the book. Who is behind all of the killing? Why did the killing start in the first place? Did Jocelyn die in vain? How can they make such a threat against his father? (His mother I get, since she lives in Solitary, but how can their crazy, unexplained plans and ruthlessness reach all the way to Chicago?) Is Chris just going to keep quiet, or will he finally understand the value of faith? And, does the murderer(s) just get away with everything?
The ending frustrated me, to say the least. It's like the writer lacked the conviction to answer at least one or two of these questions. Why leave the reader in such a confused state at the end of the first installment, especially when you've taken so much trouble to develop characters and build up to an amazing climatic scene. I think the author should have trusted the reader with at least a little bit of information at the end of the novel. Instead of leaving every single thing a mystery (even at the end of the novel), the writer should have at least tied up a couple of the loose ends for the reader. However, the author decided not to do this, so I just finished reading the book feeling cheated and unsatisfied and uninspired to continue the series.
Don't get me wrong, I was hooked from the beginning ... The author does a great job of story-telling (although some scenes are excruciatingly overdone and over-the-top ridiculous). Yet, still, I had great hopes for this novel.
Well-written book ... just not sure I have the courage to delve into the second installment just to be let down again. This book had great potential and held my interest until the last five to ten pages. Unfortunately, it fell FLAT at the end ... 3/5 stars
The author filled in the background of Solitary, NC with just enough hints to show that something weird was going on. I didn't really connect or trust many characters here and some of the situation didn't always ring true to me. But then I remind myself that this is book 1 of 4, so not all my questions/doubts will be answered right away.
All in all a solid start to this series.
Top reviews from other countries
Chris meets and Obsesses about the beautiful and tragically damaged Jocelyn whilst incurring the wrath of local bully Gus.
This book has a lot to recommend it and a lot to put you off. Its a fast easy read which sucks you into the character of Chris.
The title is also a nice bit of wordplay. Chris is the only well developed character in the book , the rest are bare sketches , and Jocelyn is so scatty that its difficult to get a good impression of her until the end of the book when things come to a head. The ending is not for the faint hearted and though its an emotional conclusion, its not a storyline conclusion. You may feel be left feeling you have watched the pilot to a David Lynch tv show from the mid 80's. Im torn - its obviously contined in later installments , but im not sure that any of the later books will leave mewith a satisfying conclusion.
The prose is entirely first person and heavily dialog driven , leaving the text on page disconcertingly full of white space in the kindle edition. The story does take a huge turn at the halfway point where the plot starts to develop. The gist of the story changes from a teen bullying story to a much more sinister horror story with strong christian faith overtones. Its heavy enough that it will obviously become a major part in the later books , but as the book is very much installment one of many its hard to tell what the focus will be of later books.
I enjoyed the story and the ending was a shock. Id mark this as a higher 4 star if i was interested in christian/horror. Too inconclusive as to what the series has in store for me to commit to further reading.