06 January 2010

The Likeness (#1)

The Likeness is Tana French's second novel, and it kind of takes Cassie Maddox, Rob Ryan's partner from In the Woods, and gives her a story of her own. The Likeness is much richer, both in characters and in story, than its predecessor.  As in French's previous work, the protagonist is possibly too connected to the case she is trying to solve, but Cassie's story is almost more intriguing than Rob's was, because she is more willing to let us in to what happened to her than Rob was.  Sure, there were still some minor hiccups in the story, but overall the book was a much better read.

Where In the Woods failed to give a collection of well-created, multi-dimensional characters aside from the two principals, The Likeness is full of them.  Most of the characters manage to get under your skin and pull you into their narratives, even though we only get these narratives in bits and pieces.

Maybe part of the reason I enjoyed the book so much is that the core group of characters are all literature grad students, but I think that was just part of it. The ending was appropriate for the rest of the story, French never lost sight of the end game throughout the novel (one of her mistakes in the first book) and the unfolding of the mystery was also well thought out and well-written.

Where I was a bit hesitant to recommend French's previous book to friends, I have no reservations with this one.  A good friend and fellow bibliophile/gradstudent/bookworm, who had recommended I read In the Woods, when she found out I was about to read The Likeness, said, "Let me know what you think of it. I need to talk about it with you." We both reached the same conclusion: the second book was just, at the end of the day, way better than the first.

The Likeness, Tana French (2008)
Writing: 9.5
Story: 9.5
Overall: 9.5

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the 100+ Reading Challenge of 2010. I’m so excited to get this new year underway. I think there is going to be lots of great books published this year.