Monday, March 19, 2012

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

I couldn't wait to read this book.  Everyone told me exactly how great it was, refusing to give away any story information with all the furtiveness of secret squirells unable to give away where the nuts are hid.

The protagonist seems likeable enough and is in the horrendous situation of having her boyfriend die... and then it all unravels just like the rest of her life of lies.  At least that's possibly how it was supposed to work.  But for me it just didn't.

Micah seems pathologically unable to tell the truth - and I love that because it keeps a reader on their toes, but what I don't love is...
SPOLIER ALERT - read no further if you hate spoilers - (and those people who read my reviews know I normally go out of my way not to divulge plot - but while enjoyment possibly doesn't need detailed explanation, I beleive criticism should be as specific as possible.)
...that nothing really seems to be the truth, and then suddenly in what seems like a perfectly normal mainstream book suddenly we are supposed to believe even for an instant that the main character is a werewolf.  Not on your life.  I read that part of the book completely without my usually ample willing suspension of disbelief and it all crashed downhill from there.   I mean if she really was supposed to be a werewolf where were the signposts previously in the story to indicate it was a fantasy?  At no point was I convinced or even willing to contemplate the idea was true, and the whole section fell down around its ears - or its fangs if you prefer.  

All in all there is no guiding rudder, at the end she could have said the whole thing was a lie and her boyfriend didn't die and it would have been as believable as anything else.

So no, I don't think it was a great story showcasing how an unreliable narrator should be written, but on the other hand it did illustrate very well for aspiring authors both the benefits and the pitfalls of the unreliable narrator and of how to write a character driven story.  In that respect it was right on the button.

Review by Alicia Ponder


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