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J.K. Rowling is the real deal. I have a new favorite series!!!
on May 25, 2016
So, despite being absolutely obsessed with books and usually up-to-date on the happenings in the literary world, I somehow had not heard any buzz on Robert Galbraith’s “Cormoran Strike” series. It is not a secret that Robert Galbraith is a pen name for J.K. Rowling. Perhaps this was just a method to help separate this series of adult books from the iconic Harry Potter series. And, as someone who grew up with the Harry Potter books and loves them like they were my own children, reading any novels by the same author made me rather fraught with anxiety that they would completely pale in comparison to her previous works. I always knew she was an incredibly talented writer, as evident in how perfectly she organized the seven HP books from the very beginning to have subtle clues throughout the series that eventually culminated in the incredible finale. But I just wasn’t sure if I would be able to read any future JK Rowling books without hoping greatly that they would be equally as awesome and then experiencing the disappointment that would eventually set in when I realized they wouldn’t be (because really, when a series is as amazing as Harry Potter, who knows when, if ever, I would be able to find another book or series that could ever be that amazing and could evoke such emotion in me). As it turns out, J.K. Rowling is the real deal. (If you are looking for another "magical world" you won't get that here, but the writing is just as excellent).
I started with the first book in the series, The Cuckoo’s Calling. Going into it, I knew basically nothing about the series, other than that it was about a detective with an unusual name, that Robert Galbraith was a thinly veiled pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, and that it was a series aimed more for adults. By the time I had gotten 1/3 of the way through, I immediately logged onto my library online account to request the next two books in the series. I never want to give too much away with my reviews so it’s hard to accurately explain how I feel about certain books without spoilers, but I’ll do my best. Do you ever start reading a book and realize that you’re completely and utterly immersed in the world created by the author, and that every time you have to leave it and enter the real world is just a rude interruption, and that you’re just counting down the minutes until you can pick up the book and dive back in? Do you ever start reading a book and realize that it’s not just any delightful book, but one that can speak to your whole being and will become one of your most-loved novels? Maybe I’m being overly emotive, but this is how I felt when I realized that The Cuckoo’s Calling was special. I was SO excited that I had found a new series that was so gripping and well-written and enthralling…knowing that I would have some new books to add to my “favorites” shelf (few get the honor) and that I had two full books to read after it was such a joyous feeling. But alas, there are times when speed reading is a curse. I devoured the book in less than 24 hours, feeling rueful afterwards that I hadn’t savored it more. J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith is some kind of genius. There are so many books with a great story, but where the writing style can leave a little bit to be desired. Sometimes authors just try too hard. Sometimes the writing can be a bit too corny, a bit too cliché. Sometimes the skill level is just not there. It is not always easy to write in a descriptive way without overdoing it. For these reasons, I often find books that are good, not great. But yet, J.K. Rowling has the skills to dream up a great story/plot, and then execute it to perfection. With The Cuckoo’s Calling, she introduces us to Cormoran Strike, a protagonist with great abilities and also flaws (in other words, he is believable, a real human), and his clever assistant Robin. She weaves snippets of his backstory seamlessly into the rest of the plot, including the story behind his unusual name. Character development is fantastic throughout the novel. The plot itself is gripping, and keeps you on your toes. It is never predictable. It is so cleverly and skillfully written. She is never cliché, or corny. There are never any feelings throughout that she is trying too hard. And while the mystery is compelling, it also feels like real life. I cannot speak enough volumes about how well this book is written and how incredible the plot is.
Within the next few days I had also completely consumed the sequel, The Silkworm, and the third book in the series, Career of Evil. There were absolutely no issues with the follow-ups falling short of the first novel. Rather, they continued to develop Strike’s character and his background, and one begins to feel that he and Robin are friends instead of fictional characters (or am I the only one who can get so lost in a book that I feel that well-written characters are actually my friends instead of figments of imagination??). The individual cases to be solved in each book are equally as compelling and are again not predictable. She infuses a great sense of realism into these novels and perhaps this is one reason I can get so lost in them.
I really cannot say too much about these novels. Wonderfully written, incredible plots, great and realistic characters. There was not a SINGLE thing that I dislike or can say was a downside. My only concern is that I have built them up too much in this review for them to match anyone’s expectations, but then I remember how amazing they were and my concern crumbles to dust:) Will they be everyone’s cup of tea? No…everyone has different tastes. But I truly believe that any book lover will find them to be excellently written and compelling.
After voraciously consuming the three novels in less than a week, I frantically searched online for more information. Firstly, I can’t believe there hasn’t been a big fuss about these books (or maybe there was and somehow I missed it??). I spend so much time researching books and getting excited about them (I’ve read untold numbers of delightful books), but rarely does a book or series feel so incredible to me. Secondly, I found the best news. Apparently J.K. Rowling immensely enjoys writing the Cormoran Strike novels and is planning A MINIMUM of nine Strike novels (meaning at LEAST 6 more!!!!!!!!). The only downside to this is the agonizing wait for each one to be published…but hey, delayed gratification apparently makes things much tastier. Thirdly, BBC One is developing a television series based on the novels. Normally I become disgruntled when a favorite novel or series is turned into a movie or show, because they never do the written works justice and my imagination always develops people and places in a far better way than is ever shown on the screen. But I have also learned that British television is done in a far superior way to American television (maybe I’m British at heart?) and so if anyone is going to make a great series out of this, it would be the BBC. So I’m excited to see where this goes.
I apologize for making this review so lengthy! Sometimes when I get so excited to share something great with others, I tend to ramble in the hopes that my passion shines through. Hopefully I have inspired some to give this great series a read, and I feel confident that you will love them too! Now I just have to manage to wait until the next book is published! Happy reading!