By Koethi Zan
Source: Net Galley
Published by – Pamela Dorman Books/Penguin Group
Pub. Date- July 18, 2013
Genre – Thriller
Rating 2 of 5 stars
The Never List starts with a bang and ends with barely a fizzle. The first paragraph immediately grabbed me and drew me into the story. I wanted to empathize with these women who had been so unspeakably abused that their lives for years later was still affected. The main character found it difficult to even leave her house for groceries and couldn't bear human contact, not so much as a handshake...at first. But the erratic writing made it impossible for me to care about any of them. I felt like I was the one being tortured. Well....maybe not tortured, but definitely irritated.
I think SOME of my disappointment with The Never List stems from the fact that it had been compared favorably with Gillian Flynn's thrillers. That was not the case, the only similarity was perhaps in the darker theme of the story. Otherwise, nothing about this book could be compared with Flynn's writing. One of the things I love about Flynn is the way she explores down to the darkest part of her damaged characters to find the things that motivate them. I found nothing resembling this kind of character depth in The Never List. These characters not only lacked depth, they lacked even the slightest bit of consistency. They acted in ways that made no sense whatsoever.
I have so many gripes, this review is probably going to be a bit all over the place. But then, so was most of this story. It bounced back and forth between past and present seemingly at random. Even though the reader is given glimpses of these women during and after their ordeal, the relationships between them is never effectively demonstrated. I did not have any grasp on their individual personalities or where their relationships with one another stood.
After one absurdly contrived plot twist too many, I gave up even trying to enjoy this book. With the character inconsistencies, the contrived plot twists, convenient rescues (deus ex machina much?), info dumping, and a completely far-fetched and over reaching ending, it's easy to see that this is not a book I would recommend. Although I will say that my friend read it in a day and a half and loved it and I've read many other reviews that also rate it highly. Unfortunately, I am not a fan. I wish, with this fascinating premise, that the story would have been more cohesive because I can see where this could have been, in the right hands, an incredible book.
Rating 2 of 5 stars