Book Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

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A (very) Brief Plot Overview

Quincy is the lone survivor of the Pine Cottage massacre that claimed the lives of her friends. She joins two other women, Lisa and Samantha, with claiming the unwanted title of being a Final Girl – the last and only survivor of an atrocity. Fast forward 10 years later and Quincy is trying her very best to lead a normal life with her defence lawyer boyfriend Jeff… Until Lisa dies unexpectedly and Samantha shows up on her doorstep, anyway.

What’s great about it?

I’m not usually someone who is into ‘scary’ books, but I was one of the ‘gone wild over Gone Girl’ crowd so I tend to dip my toe in the water of thrillers these days. And this one didn’t disappoint. It was thrilling enough to keep me gripped but not so horrifying that I had nightmares and never wanted to answer the door again.

It’s incredibly fast paced, with short chapters that flit back and forth between now and the timeline of Quincy’s Pine Cottage lone survivor experience. These shorts chapters help the I-can’t-put-it-down feeling because you tell yourself ‘just one more chapter’ and then ‘the other is only a few pages… I’ll read it’. With that in mind, it took me just over a day to read it.

The plot has lots of turns that come thick and fast about two thirds into the story and, unlike a lot of thrillers I have read, the big ‘twist’ actually was a twist for me. I only guessed it right before the unveiling of it, which was annoying for someone who likes to smugly predict things correctly but also a compliment to the writer for managing to keep it all under wraps so well.

I liked the character of Quincy and felt like her ‘unravelling’ was really well told. Even though the book was fast paced, I don’t feel like Quincy’s changes felt rushed or unexpected. When she made a bad judgement call or something happened to her that made me think she was in danger or that someone was being unfair to her, I genuinely felt for her. She was a well developed protagonist from the start that you willed to find her feet in life again all the way through the book. I felt that she was a trustworthy narrator, despite the fact that you know she isn’t disclosing all that she remembers of Pine Cottage until near the end.

This book genuinely had me with it every page which isn’t always the case. My mind didn’t wander or have me wondering if I could skim read ahead. I genuinely wanted to know what had happened at Pine Cottage as well as if the characters in it were going to be okay at the end. There’s a lot to say for thrillers that can keep you on side for every page from start to finish and this was one of them.

What’s not so great about it?

This one is not on the author, but I had a terrible copy where the lettering was blurred so reading it was not the most pleasurable experience for my eyes!

For anyone really into thrillers, I feel like this one might not be ‘thrilling’ enough. A lot of the twists come near the end of the book, so if you’re wanting a head spinning novel from the get go then this one might not be the one for you. I personally liked the build up and flitting from present to past, but I understand that for some people, the action might be too little, too late.

I found myself wishing that Quincy had had a really big row with her boyfriend Jeff about his role as a defence lawyer. As a survivor of a massacre dating someone who would defend the serial killer, I felt like Quincy as the story developed and she confronted her past would have had more to say than a few words muttered under her breath. I felt like it was a part of the narrative that wasn’t fully explored.

I also found the ending a bit flat after everything that had happened before. Maybe I’m a sucker for a happy ending or an ending with a bit of a kick to it, but it all felt a bit flat and a bit neat.

Rate Me:

8/10. The negatives I felt were only niggling ones and I can say that I genuinely enjoyed reading this book. I can imagine this making a great Gone Girl/Girl On The Train kind of film.

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