Sunday 5 June 2011

Book Review - Beautiful Malice

Title: Beautiful Malice
Author: Rebecca James
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Release Date: 1 July 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0571255238

So. Were you glad, deep down? Were you glad to be rid of her? Your perfect sister? Were you secretly glad when she was killed? Following a horrific tragedy that leaves her once perfect family devastated, Katherine Patterson moves to a new city, starts at a new school, and looks forward to a new life of quiet anonymity. But when Katherine meets the gregarious and beautiful Alice Parrie her resolution to live a solitary life becomes difficult. Katherine is unable to resist the flattering attention that Alice pays her and is so charmed by Alice’s contagious enthusiasm that the two girls soon become firm friends. Alice’s joie de vivre is transformative; it helps Katherine forget her painful past and slowly, tentatively, Katherine allows herself to start enjoying life again. But being friends with Alice is complicated – and as Katherine gets to know her better she discovers that although Alice can be charming and generous she can also be selfish and egocentric. Sometimes, even, Alice is cruel. And when Katherine starts to wonder if Alice is really the kind of person she wants as a friend, she discovers something else about Alice – she doesn’t like being cast off. 

My Review
I bought this book quite a while ago when it was fairly new out, and I have to admit that it was mainly the cover that drew me to it. The lettering on the front sort of shimmers and glitters in the light and was so simple it's kind of pretty. The blurb on the back is very short and had me intrigued so I decided to buy it, but have only just got rounf to reading it. 
I picked this up at 1.00 this afternoon and had finished it by 6.00, with a break in the middle to visit my grandad.
The book starts off very strong and immediately had me hooked. It doesn't start at the beginning but with an extract that would come about 85% into the book later. The story flicks between three times really - before Alice, meeting Alice and after Alice.
Katherine Patterson is at a new school in a new city, trying to forget her past. After her sister died in a tragedy she wants to restart her life and seems to be doing well. She meets Alice, who is lively, hyper, caring and generous and the pair become fast friends. but Alice has a darker side and can be very cruel. Katherine can't figure out what makes Alice that way and tries to deal with her moods.
Some of the time jumps caught me off guard I'd be so into what was happening and then it would shift to another time and I'd be like 'oh, what's happening, oh right ok." But it kind of suited the book. Haunting and chilling and disjointed as Katherine reveals exactly what happened to her sister and the connection between her and Alice and her struggle to find happiness.
In some ways I really liked this book, the writing is very good and flows nicely, the characters are well formed and described and I could picture them all perfectly. The story idea was very good, the air of mystery continues throughout the book and I was desperate to know exactly what had happened and I could sympathize with Katherine. Alice was completely crazy but in some ways I felt for her too. Robbie was adorable and I hated how he was treated in the book. They all seemed so real and I felt totally involved with all of them. I like a book that can take me to another world.
I'm not sure why but this book sent chills down by spine. Maybe it was just a little too real, I was so immersed in the book that every time the main character jumped at a noise, I sort of jumped, it's like I was there too. This is sort of a good thing, it shows the book is well written, but I felt a little freaked out too.
It's not the normal sort of book I would read and deals with a lot of issues - kidnap, rape, drinking, pregnancy, mental illness, death. It's good to see a book deal with these things so honestly and tactfully. I can see why so many people have said such good things about it.
Overall I liked it more than I didn't and I'm glad I read it. 

My Review
I would give this book 7.5/10, Original and captivating, it sent chills down my spine and stayed with me after I had finished it. 


Nina B. said...

That 'dark side' you mentioned got my attention. Thanks for sharing this review, I'll watch out for this one, I think :D

Cory K said...

Never heard of this, but GREAT review! Don't be a stranger; stop by my blog and say hi! I'm not sure if we're fellow followers, but I follow you!

Looking forward to hearing back from you,
Cory @ Anti-Drug Reads

barmybex said...

Give it a go. I'm still torn on this one, but you may love it.
thanks for the comments. :D