Monday, 6 February 2012

Monday Musings - Review of Torn by Cat Clarke

When Jack Chambers approaches Alice King just after his sister Tara's funeral, he wants to talk to her about Tara. He needs to know more about his sister, and about the tragic night on which she died, and Alice - who'd shared a cabin with her on that fatal trip to the Scottish Highlands - is the obvious person to ask. Alice likes Jack, but she's not sure she should talk to him. Part of her wants to walk away. On the other hand, that might look suspicious... and Alice can't afford to look suspicious. Because she knows much more about the night that Tara died than Jack could ever have imagined.

This is one of the most pleasant surprises of the year so far for me, as I found it absolutely stunning. On reading Clarke's debut Entangled, I enjoyed her writing style but found it too predictable and the characters didn't engage me. Neither of those criticisms can be levelled at this book - there are twists and turns throughout, with several characters turning out to be very different from how they first appear, while her characterisation is superb. I particularly liked the way Clarke portrayed Tara, who continued to haunt Alice after her death, and loved the way that she was developed into much more than a stereotypical mean girl as we learnt about her. Alice herself, struggling to cope with the burden of her guilt, is a fantastic narrator, and the blossoming relationship between her and Jack is handled very well.

I love Clarke's writing style even more after reading this one - it's incredibly readable and just begs you to carry on for one more chapter - and another - and another. I'm definitely really looking forward to her next novel, and this is a massive recommendation.

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