Published by Little, Brown on July 1st 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fiction, General, Historical, Mystery & Detective, Occult & Supernatural, Thrillers, Women Sleuths
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A family is hunted by a centuries-old monster: a man with a relentless obsession who can take on any identity.The String Diaries opens with Hannah frantically driving through the night--her daughter asleep in the back, her husband bleeding out in the seat beside her. In the trunk of the car rests a cache of diaries dating back 200 years, tied and retied with strings through generations. The diaries carry the rules for survival that have been handed down from mother to daughter since the 19th century. But how can Hannah escape an enemy with the ability to look and sound like the people she loves?Stephen Lloyd Jones's debut novel is a sweeping thriller that extends from the present day, to Oxford in the 1970s, to Hungary at the turn of the 19th century, all tracing back to a man from an ancient royal family with a consuming passion--a boy who can change his shape, insert himself into the intimate lives of his victims, and destroy them.If Hannah fails to end the chase now, her daughter is next in line. Only Hannah can decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to finally put a centuries-old curse to rest.
I really enjoyed this novel. The pacing is excellent as it is slowly revealed who (and what) is hunting Hannah and her family. This is a thriller in every sense of the word.
I’ll admit that as an ignorant American that with the fantasy element of this book, it probably took me at least a quarter of the narrative before I realized that Snowdonia was in Wales and not some alternate reality. Yes, I am embarrassed.
I would have liked to see the diaries themselves more thoroughly fleshed out, though we did experience much of the diaries through the point of view of the monster. Jakab is sympathetic – to an extent. Jones does interesting things with his characters that isn’t always palatable, but I think that this enhances the narrative rather than detracts from it.
Look, this isn’t going to make the best of lists, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable read that winds through decades of family drama with a villain that I can’t quite decide if I sympathize with or not.
Have you read any books with sympathetic villains lately, Reader? Did you know Snowdonia was in Wales?