"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R Martin

31 March 2014

REVIEW: The Shining Girls - Lauren Beukes

The girl who wouldn’t die, hunting a killer who shouldn’t exist…

A terrifying and original serial-killer thriller from award-winning author, Lauren Beukes.

1930’s America: Lee Curtis Harper is a delusional, violent drifter who stumbles on a house that opens onto other times.

Driven by visions, he begins a killing spree over the next 60 years, using an undetectable MO and leaving anachronistic clues on his victims’ bodies.

But when one of his intended ‘shining girls’, Kirby Mazrachi, survives a brutal stabbing, she becomes determined to unravel the mystery behind her would-be killer. While the authorities are trying to discredit her, Kirby is getting closer to the truth, as Harper returns again and again…

My review of The Shining Girls:

The Shining Girls shocked me. Not because it's graphic. Not because it's bloody. No, The Shining Girls shocked me because I absolutely loved and enjoyed it from start to finish. I consumed it in just a day or two - it was a thoroughly thrilling and gripping story with an engaging storyline and captivating characters. The Shining Girls is a dramatic thriller, a completely goose-bump inducing story with nail biting, edge of your seat action and plenty of shocking moments. It's a dramatic thriller with a chilling twist - it is a sci-fi murder mystery centring on a time travelling serial killer. This premise grabbed me from the start - a murderer who travels through time (!) - it sounded amazing and so different and unique.  

The story centres on a time travelling serial killer and our protagonist, Kirby who luckily escaped his murderous clutches - the only girl to do so, ever. The characterisation in this book was top notch - so well developed, realistic and engaging. The killer, Harper - a lonely man is a clearly sadistic human being; devoid of any feeling, emotions or compassion. His only way to feel anything is to kill these "shining girls" through the ages; he stalks them throughout time, throughout their lives in order to snuff out their potential to breathe it in himself, to claim their potential as his own. His only chance to feel bliss and power is through murdering talented individuals. If he wasn't such a monster he might  be a little pitiful but sadly his actions are just too despicable to ignore. His methods of stalking, of possessing the ability to appear in different times in order to murder is so completely sinister and frightening. The fact that he keeps a souvenir, a keepsake from his travels and kills - is also spine chilling, disturbing and utterly macabre. It is all just a sick and twisted game in his eyes; going back in time to mark his potential kills and then stalking them as the years pass.  

The female protagonist Kirby, is a remarkably strong and fierce character. She is determined to catch the man, the monster who attempted to murder her. Her strength is apparent in the fact that she will not let the event define or destroy her and she is eager for closure, for answers. Her vulnerable side is also apparent throughout; she is haunted by what happened, by what could have happened. She is also determined to catch the killer before he realises his mistake and returns to finish the job. She slowly starts to notice something strange about the killer and she is forced to believe the unbelievable.  

Truly this book is amazing. It is jam packed full of drama, suspense and action. It is undoubtedly a graphic and bloody story with a heartbreaking and chilling premise that had me close to tears at times and also sick with disgust at others. The emotions of the characters just rolled powerfully off the pages; it's so gritty, so realistic. One thing I enjoyed was the change in narrator at different chapters - allowing the reader to view the story from different perspectives. It was especially interesting although quite chilling, to see through the killers eyes, catch a glimpse of his motivations, his reasons for killing. 

The Shining Girls is truly an amazing story that played out like a film before my eyes with its fast paced, intricate plot and fascinating characters. The story was like a jigsaw puzzle - confusing at times, fragmented in places - but once put together the whole picture is clear and brilliant. The science fiction elements mixed with mystery and crime worked brilliantly together creating a twisted, chilling and captivating story that will have you hanging on to every word, completely caught up in a fascinating story. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you liked it! I didn't personally really like it too much - I wish the time travelling part was explained a bit more in detail and some of the relationships weren't really to my liking. But you do explain your points very well and I can see why you liked it. :) Your review even made me to think about rereading it!


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