Thursday, 30 July 2020

The Guest List by Lucy Foley Book Review + A MINI Announcement!

Hi Readers! I am on a roll! Ever since the weight of my 2020 Reading Challenge has been lifted, I feel invincible. Okay, the Challenge is not technically completed. I did read 52 books, but I have only read 42 out of the 52 categories. The remaining 10 books are random. But, it is as good as done because it’s only July & I’ve got a ton of time to complete it.

This brings me to my ANNOUNCEMENT. I have decided to read a total of 75 BOOKS this year!! It sounds overwhelming, but it basically means I just have to read 22 more books in the remaining FIVE MONTHS! That’s nothing! So, there you have it! The mini announcement! Now, feel free to head on to the book review!



~~INTRODUCTION~~

Lucy Foley’s ‘The Guest List’ kept popping all over my Goodreads account, but so do a lot of other books. The funny thing was the mixed reviews. Some people had rated it 5, many at 3 & a few at 1, which was all so misleading yet intriguing! So, I decided why not read it & decide for myself? Anyway, it was a thriller, so it had to have some SHOCKING potential in it, right? That’s why I finally read it. And, I am with the many people who rated it at 3/5!

The Guest List is set on a spooky island near Ireland where a famous couple decide to have their wedding. The groom Will Slater is an actor on a show called Survive the Night while the bride Julia Keegan is the founder/owner of an online magazine called The Download. Both the parties are obscenely rich. The book is divided into two story lines; one is the NOW where the setting is of the wedding night, and second is THE DAY BEFORE until it catches up to NOW. The story is told through FIVE different people Aoife (The Wedding Planner), Hannah (The Plus-One), Jules (The Bride), Johnno (The Best Man) and Olivia (The Bridesmaid). From a thriller standpoint, you get a lot in this. An isolated creepy island, a dead body, messed up characters & many secrets from the past!


~~OVERALL THOUGHTS~~

~~Narrative Division~~

The ‘NOW’ part is obviously the one where the chapters are basically one page giving very little away until we are close to the end, which I really LIKED. All we know that has happened in the NOW is that there is a body, which makes it all the more interesting.

 In ‘The DAY BEFORE’, we get to meet all these MANY characters, listen to their stories & learn their lifestyles. The most amazing thing is that there is AT LEAST one cliffhanger in every person’s story which always keeps hanging. I suppose that was a bit of a different take which I also LIKED. Because of this take, there was always a lot going on on every front. This made me continue reading it obsessively.

Were Jules & Charlie ever together?

What is Olivia’s past?

Why is this month bothering Hannah?

What is the long past secret between Johnno & Will?

Every single character has something hidden, which was probably the x-factor of this novel. Other than that, I’d say it was quite an average read.

 

~~Well-Balanced Characters~~

The Guest List is a character-driven novel & I loved that about it. I got a lot of insight into the characters because of this narrative. I found a common trend among the male characters in this story – they are all assholes! All of them are so toxic when they are together, especially Will, Johnno & the ushers. Next is Charlie, a married man with kids, who keeps flirting with Jules, the bride, a day before her wedding. We also have Jules’ & Will’s fathers who are both poor examples of parenting. We also see Will with his polite (read flirtatious) talks with Hannah & Aoife. There are just no examples of good men in the story which became a bit notorious to read. It was well-balanced with all the amazing female characters though. Jules being the strong & take-charge woman. We also see Hannah & Olivia sharing their stories in the vulnerable darkness of the cave. I would’ve liked to see more of their power together after seeing them being sad together. Given that we have so specific characters, it was fun at times, but also dull at other times.

~~Predictability & Probability~~

In thrillers, the most fun part for readers is to guess who is the murderer & to connect the very blurry dots along the story. In this novel, there were two BIG REVEALS relating to Will, which I was able to guess pretty easily. Because Will is not one of the narrators, there was always an aura of mystery to him & I knew from the beginning there had to be something about him. But I always hate it when my guesses are right because it just means that the writing is not that great. Another thing about those two things was how low the probability was of Will being connected to them both. I know it’s a novel, but the probability is so unimaginably low, which also disappointed me.


~~The Ending~~

I was finally happy when the ending was unpredictable. I should have seen it coming if I had put a LOT of thought & logic behind it. So, just the last 20 pages or so were thrilling in the whole novel. Even though I liked the ending & how it nicely connected the dots, I felt like it was incomplete. There was so much happening in that wedding that I think somehow think that all the loose ends did not tie up at the end.

 

~~CONCLUSION~~

I read thrillers awfully quickly & usually tend to guess what’s coming. In The Guest List, some factors were really amazing, such as the island setting, narrative division, each person’s hidden secret with so much drama & the ending. What did not fit with me was how easy it was to predict things. Also, I got a bit of a ‘Big Little Lies’ vibe toward the end when all these women are pissed at Will. Given the build-up, the end didn’t feel as complete as expected. Overall, it was a good attempt, but not the best I have read.

I have rated The Guest List by Lucy Foley at 3/5 stars! By reading this, I have completed the category of ‘A book written by a British author’ from my 2020 Reading Challenge!


Until next time,


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