Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Released: July 19th 2016
With The Lying Game’s recent release, I decided there was no time like the present to finally read the Woman in Cabin 10 (a book I’ve been meaning to read for almost a year now). First I would just like to say that this cover isn’t like any other I’ve owned – the image alone is beautiful, but then you add on the texture, yes texture, and it’s just amazing! The raindrops running down the “glass” on the book cover are actually 3D, and it’s pretty phenomenal. I love it when risks like that are taken.
It’s probably worth noting that I have yet to read Ruth Ware’s debut novel, In a Dark, Dark World. There are a few reasons for this, but mostly because I happened to accidentally come across the ending online. Womp womp. I’m hoping with time I’ll forget it and it’ll become a safe read again (the advantage of having a poor memory!).
I had a lot of trouble getting into this book. This was partially a timing problem on my part. The one week my husband is out of town, leaving me home alone, I decide to pick up a novel when it starts off with a woman home alone getting burgled. I may have had to put the book back down for a couple days (I swear I didn’t wait until he got back home or anything…). It was also that I had a lot of trouble connecting with the main character, Lo Blacklock. Her way of coping with problems was to drink excessively and push people away. While I can see how this may be realistic for some people, it had the unfortunate side effect of pushing away the readers too (at least it did in my case). Though it was nice seeing Lo try and pull herself together for the sake of saving herself and another person (I won’t say whom, for obvious reasons).
The Woman in Cabin 10 starts off with a teaser (from about halfway through the book? Maybe a little bit more). I’m personally not a fan of this sort of beginning – not only does it feel like a spoiler, but it usually indicates a slower start for the novel (why else would they need to throw a hook at the beginning?). Admittedly I was partially wrong about that – there’s a bit of action right away at the beginning. From there things droop back down to the slow start I anticipated.
The pace of the Woman in Cabin 10 is inconsistent, with lots of build-up and then a sudden flurry of events, and then back again. While I appreciated the build-up (how else are we to appreciate that major events if we’re not given meaning for them?) I felt there was a bit much of it for my liking. One thing Ware is very talented at, despite everything else, is setting up a scene so it’s utterly disturbing. And I don’t mean that in the graphic sense. There are events that happen to Lo where you know she could have been hurt, had the antagonist felt the desire to do so, but chose not to. This sense of her powerlessness versus their ability to sneak around adds a whole new level of intimidation to the game.
I think the real reason I didn’t love this novel, and thus didn’t rate this higher than three and a half stars is that I was so excited to read it that I raised my expectations too high. Because honestly? The Woman in Cabin 10 had a fantastic core concept and a lot of potential. Plus, once the plot actually started moving along (and Lo started getting/acting a little less drunk) I did find myself enjoying it. It was close to meeting my expectations, but not quite.
I will admit I was very surprised by the ending – I thought I had it all figured out and everything, but I was so very wrong. It was actually really nice to have my theories thrown out the window. Though I wish there had been more hinting for what was actually going on – just a breadcrumb or two so I could have potentially pieced it together myself (I enjoy it when a puzzle is difficult to solve, but not impossible). My only real regret about the ending was it didn’t tie up everything as neatly as I had hoped (the break-in in the beginning was a totally unrelated incident, despite what I had been thinking), but perhaps that’s just wishful thinking.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Ware does next in The Lying Game. It should be interesting to see how she improves and changes as a write, as I think Ruth Ware has a lot of potential that she still hasn’t revealed, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Luckily for me it’ll be delivered at some point today!