And then there were none by Agatha Christie

Title: And then there were none
Author: Agatha Christie
Length: 247 pages
Genre: Mystery
Format: Paperback
Rating: 4/5
Why I read it: Book club, a love for all things Christie

What it’s about: Ten strangers are summoned to a remote island by a Mr. U. N. Owen. Once there, they hear a gramophone message stating that they were each guilty of past murders. Shortly thereafter, they all begin to die one by one.

The good: First off, Christie is a master of building suspense. In this book, it was done brilliantly. One of the girls in my book club pointed out that, one of the best things Christie did was keep the characters strangers. Not only to each other, but to the reader. By doing this, you wouldn’t know if you could trust anyone. Second, the fact that as the murders progressed, they got more violent, which was both horrifying and exciting. By not really knowing the cast of characters, Christie made it so that you didn’t get emotionally invested in a character, and you couldn’t help but wonder who was going to die next and how. I honestly couldn’t figure out who the killer was. It was a lot of fun to discuss some of the characters and why we thought they could be the killer. We then went on to discuss just how much thought the killer went to to pick out the people he brought to the island. Or if the accused were actually guilty, and if they were how they could go for years, seemingly without feeling that guilt.

The bad: The ending. In most cases, I hate when the author ends the book without us knowing who the killer was. But this is one of the rare cases that I think the story would benefit from such and ending. Christie could have kept readers guessing for generations. I mean it got to the point when I was reading that I had to make charts reasoning out why it could be each person on the island. That it the one flaw with the book. That one flaw is the reason I didn’t give the book a rating of five.

Final thoughts: Despite the one flaw, I would definitely recommend the book to anyone. Especially anyone who is new to Christie or mysteries.

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Debut Author Challenge: THe madman’s daughter by Megan Shepherd

Title: The Madman’s daughter
Author: Megan Shepherd
Length: 306 pages
Genre: YA
Format: ePUB
Rating: 4/5
Why I read it: Blog challenge

What it’s about: Juliet was once part of a rich, well respected family in London. Then a scandal involving her father broke, and he fled leaving Juliet and her mother poor. Now six years later, Juliet’s mother has died and she’s taken a job as a maid at the university her father used to work. When she learns that her family’s former servant is in London as well, Juliet persuades him to take her with him so she can be reunited with her father. While on board the ship, Juliet finds a castaway and they agree to let him come with them to the island until another ship arrives. Once on the island, Juliet is indeed reunited with her father, but as she spends more time on the island with him, she finds out the truth about him.

The good: I loved the retelling of H.G. Wells’ The island of Dr. Moreau. It was written so beautifully and so vividly, and very real. Not to mention Juliet was a kick-ass, strong, smart, rebellious heroine. Seriously, the islanders, Montgomery, even Edward at times, spent a lot of time pussy-footing around the Doctor, and Juliet either called him out, or she disobeyed him altogether. Did I mention that the writing could be gruesome at times? I mean, at some points, I got chills. I had nightmares. When Shepherd wrote about the animal’s screams, I heard them, when she wrote about the smell of formaldehyde, I smelled it, I could see Juliet when she cut off a rabbit’s head. Yet, at the same time, Shepherd blended some beauty. It made me want to read Wells’ original work, so much so that I found a free nook book copy and downloaded it to my nook.

The bad: As someone who has never read The island of Dr. Moreau, there was no way of knowing how true to the original story it was, but that’s more my fault than anything. While I loved Juliet, I wanted to slap her every time she brought up her impropriety. I got annoyed every time she said, “if I were in London, people would talk”. I get it, women being alone in the company of men, and exposing skin to them was very taboo in those days, but 1. she was the daughter of a man who fled the country because of a scandal he was the cause of. She was now a maid. Yes, people would talk, but it wouldn’t be as bad as it would be if she was still rich. 2. She was on an island where it was her, her father, two men, and the islanders. Who would care? And if she made it back to London, who would have to know? And while I’m on the subject of her impropriety, I must address the love triangle. It was unnecessary in my opinion. Not because it’s overdone, but because it was pretty obvious early on who she would fall for.

Final thoughts: After all is said and done, it was a wonderful book. I love a book that inspires me to read more books, just for the sake of comparing it to a modern counterpart or inspiration. It is definitely one worth raving about and recommending to my book club.