Book Review: Into The Water

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Title: Into The Water
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Random House (2 May 2017)
Genre: Crime/Thriller/Mystery
Price: Rs. 299 on Amazon
Pages: 480

After 'The Girl On The Train', like many, I also was waiting for the release of the next Paula Hawkins' book. While her debut novel had a brilliant mystery and ending, the novel in itself was hard to read. Boring narration, multiple point of views and a slow paced track, nothing was working for it. But towards the second half, when the book picked up, it went on in full steam. What a story it turned out to be in the end! When 'Into The Water' came out, I heard a lot of negative reviews about the book. Most called it even more boring than the first one. Still, not the one to fall for the opinions of others, I went ahead and bought this book. This was an easy book to read and I finished it in just about two days.

Danielle Abbot or Nel is found dead by the river in Beckford, in an area that is called the "Drowning Pool". While every one thinks that it is an accident, her daughter Lena, thinks that it is a suicide. Nel is not the only woman claimed by the drowning pool. Katie, Lena's best friend also drowned in the very pool a few months earlier. Turns out, Nel was working on a book about the drowning pool and looking into the history of the other women who drowned there. Jules Abbot, Nel's estranged sister comes down to Beckford to identify her sister's body and becomes guardian to her grieving niece, Lena. Jules does not believe Lena's story and thinks that her wild sister who enjoyed swimming in the river would never throw herself off the cliff for a watery demise. What exactly happened to Nel? And the other women who drowned in the same river? Are their deaths related? Is this a serial killer on the loose?

Let us start with the negatives first. While the author's first book was a story told from the point of view of three women, this book has eleven POVs. Yes, eleven! While most of the characters are very integral to the story, some of them are just there to fill in the space and drag the tale bit by bit. While the number of POVs did not bother me much as their tales were crisp and in brief, what bothered me the most was the tone. While some POVs are in first person, some were in third. Also, some of them were so similar that at one point of time, it seemed impossible to tell them apart and I had to go back to check the name of the chapter to know who I am reading. This ended up being really monotonous and confusing. Also, the multiple use of metaphors and trying to beautify even a harrowing experience was too much to take.

Still, I somehow enjoyed this book.

I don't know if it was the quick pace with which I read this book or the terrible need to read mystery after constantly reading Harry Potter for a long while, but something about this book said "Hell, yeah!" to me. Maybe it was the relatable differences between the two sisters or the much relatable character that Nel was to me. The setting is limited and the whole story takes place in a single location which made the description easy to digest. While I did like the take on the past involving Jules and one of Nel's boyfriend, the realist in me questioned as to how realistic this situation was. This book was far more better paced than her previous one, while the mystery was more impactful in the first one. I did a fairly good job at keeping up with the multiple POVs, even though I had to go back and forth quite a number of times. Almost through half the book and thanks to the POVs of a father, son and a daughter-in-law, I figured out the ending by myself.

Yes, the book is predictable but the way the mystery unfolds is interesting. A lot of characters have a lot to say in the book to lead to the conclusion, but somehow it all came together well. The inclusion of one particular "psychic" character seemed troublesome and totally out of context, but someone she is the one who holds the key to the mystery. The female police officer who is asked to investigate the case should have been the the sole narrator of the book and we would have had a winner here. Character-wise, Nel was someone who stood up for what she believed in and I loved that! Jules is a very confused and angry character but it is Lena who comes out the winner here. A snooty, troubled, lonely kid who first lost her best friend and then her mother, somehow develops the emotional strength to learn the truth and love her guardian. While the book could have done with fewer characters, all of them do get linked and hold a piece of the puzzle that finally makes sense in the end. Maybe this was not every one's cup of tea, but I did enjoy this with a hot green one.


Verdict: Read this without any bias of the existing reviews.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

14 comments:

  1. I enjoyed 'The girl on the train' a lot. So, going by your review, I think I will pick up this one, as well!
    Well done on the review, Soumya!

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    1. It was a pretty good book, I hope you enjoy it Shilpa :)

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  2. I had watched the movie on the first book and hated it, making me glad I didnt spend time reading it. This book too has very bad reviews and yours didnt read very encouraing to me, though you have been nice about it! I think this haphazard style of story telling is just not a comfy read for me and I for one will give this book a amiss as well.

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    1. The bad reviews did me in too initially, but after reading it I kinda enjoyed the book. Yes, it had its flaws but some how the mystery and the POVs came together in the end.

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  3. I will pick this one solely because I loved the previous one. 11 povs! That's too much. Like you, I enjoy my did of mysteries hence will read this.

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    1. If you enjoy mysteries then you should enjoy this one too. But, please be patient with it.

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  4. I loved the earlier book of hers. If this is considered more boring than that I can only assume it is more engrossing a novel than that. ;) Will pick it up

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    1. Boring? Not exactly! But yeah it does drag in parts. Mysterywise it is pretty good. I hope you enjoy it Sujani, and welcome to my blog :)

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  5. I totally agree with your review of the first book. For me, while the story was great, I enjoy simple narration and so many POVs just confuse me. Having said that. I would like to read how Hawkins has dealt with 11 :)
    Thanks for sharing an honest review.

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    1. All the best, Parul! Let me know how you like it :)

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  6. I loveddd The Girl on the Train. Now reading Big, Little Lies from a similar genre. Will pick this one soon. 4/5 sounds good.

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    1. Do let me know what you feel about this one. For now, I'm adding Big, Little Lies to my TBR.

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  7. I loved this book too. though not as much as girl on the train. Nevertheless for me it was an enjoyable read.

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    1. Yay! Finally I met someone who liked this book :)

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