Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I’d heard The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware mentioned a few times before it popped up as the Audible Daily Deal, and it actually turned out my Mum read it on holiday last year! I love a good thriller/mystery so I downloaded it straight away for when I’d finished The Raven King and needed to dive straight into something easy-listening to stave off the book hangover. It definitely did the trick.

TL;DR Lo Blacklock is a travel journalist on a private, luxury cruise who thinks she witnesses a murder. The only problem is, cabin 10 was always supposed to be empty, and no one else saw the woman before she vanished. Is Lo losing her mind, or is something more sinister going on in the Fjords?

The Woman in Cabin 10 Ruth Ware

3.5 stars

As a big cruise fan I couldn’t wait to listen to this audio book and imagine myself on board the ship, cruising the Norwegian Fjords with the characters. I haven’t done a Fjords cruise yet, but my Mum’s been a few times and I’ve seen the photos, so I could picture the setting no problem. The ship was a little more difficult, as it’s only a ten cabin mini cruise ship, like a large yacht really, but with the same finery inside, just on a smaller scale. I don’t get claustrophobic on cruises, but I can imagine feeling really uncomfortable and panicky on a ship that small with the same ten other people every day, and that’s before the events of the story take place!

The overall feel of the story is very Agatha Christie – a small number of people in a remote location with nowhere to go and no escape from the murderer in their midst. Think And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express. There are also elements of The Girl on the Train, Lo is quite a heavy drinker to begin with and it’s her drinking that leads her to question what she saw and whether she imagined or dreamed the whole thing. It’s well paced and tense throughout, and there are a couple of really surprising twists that I didn’t see coming!

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At the beginning of the story, Lo’s flat is burgled while she’s sleeping, and when she gets up to see what’s going on the burglar slams the bedroom door in her face and locks her in. This encounter is pretty terrifying, especially for a woman who often sleeps alone when my husband is away with work (luckily we have a dog so I live in hope she’d scare off any potential attackers). I wanted the burglary at the beginning to have deeper implications than it did, but ultimately it served to put Lo on edge from the very beginning, seeing danger and threats everywhere and explaining some of her reactions later.

In addition, Lo suffers from anxiety and takes medication, which has no bearing on her state of mind at the time of the incident, but is used against her by some of the other characters when they find out. I think this is quite a good representation of the stigma mental health issues can suffer, as well as showing that her mental illness doesn’t impact on the plot or make her an unreliable narrator.

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The Woman in Cabin 10 is a pretty easy read, perfect for holiday reading and anyone who likes a good murder mystery a la Christie and Hawkins. Lo isn’t always a very likeable character, she’s quite standoffish and rude, and coupled with her heavy drinking she did remind me of Rachel from The Girl on the Train. Ultimately though, I did find myself rooting for her, as I wanted to know what was really going on onboard the cruise ship and whether she was going to be the next victim, or if it was all an elaborate hoax.

I gave the book 3.5 stars, because I did enjoy it and got through it quite quickly, and the twists towards the end were surprising to me, but it wasn’t quite up to the standard of Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train.

Have you read The Woman in Cabin 10? What did you think? Am I the only one who obsessed over Judah? Please tell me I’m not alone!

 

Lyndsey

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I am a member of the Book Depository affiliate program, so if you click through and buy any of the books mentioned in this blog I might make a little commission, but I am not paid to review books and all reviews are my own opinions!

Feeding my book addiction

I did it. I joined my local library. I was popping to Tesco, and the library is just round the corner, and I had something with my name and address on it in my handbag. Basically, the stars aligned, and I am now the proud owner of a library card and three – yes, three more! – books.

I can hear you shaking your head at me. It’s an addiction, I can’t help it. Fortunately, I get to borrow books for 3 weeks, and renew up to 3 times online, so I could technically keep them for 3 months and that’s plenty of time to read them…

Want to know what I got? It’s a pretty eclectic selection. To be honest, I was disappointed with the small YA section, but being a tiny, rural village library, I can’t really complain. Plus, I can order any book I want them to get in, reserve any book that is already on loan, and do everything online except picking up the actual physical book. But, they also have e-books and audiobooks for rent! So I could borrow books without every leaving my house! Winner.

Here’s what I picked up.

 

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Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

If you saw my post about My growing TBR, you’ll know I recently acquired and ARC of Red Sister. Having never read anything by Mark Lawrence, I wanted to start at the beginning with Prince of Thorns. I saw the second book in the series on the shelf as well, so I’ll pick that up when I return this.

So, the book is about Jorg Ancrath, the titular Prince of Thorns, who sounds almost like a dark and murderous version of Robin Hood. He leads a band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities, and has the ability to master the living and the dead. But, he will have to face his nightmares and the ghosts of his past when he returns to his father’s castle.

It sounds like it’s set in the future, but after an unsubscribed catastrophe the world has regressed to a medieval style society. Similar to The Queen of the Tearling, perhaps, which I really enjoyed. Either way, this one should be good!

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Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

This one is by the author of the Hush, Hush saga, which I loved, so I’ve had this on my radar for a while. It’s got very mixed reviews on Goodreads, it’s got almost 4 stars, but the top reviews are all very negative, so I’m going to give it a chance, but I don’t have the highest hopes. I think I’m less critical than some, so I’ll probably end up enjoying it.

It’s billed as a YA thriller, and I don’t think I’ve read many of those, plus it’s a standalone, and I definitely don’t read many of those (in YA) so it’ll be interesting.

It seems to be about a girl who has been training to climb a mountain, and before she sets off her ex-boyfriend asks if he can join her. They get separated by a blizzard and she takes refuge in a cabin, where two fugitives hold her hostage. She discovers evidence of a series of murders, and starts to wonder if she is next, but one of the fugitives shows her kindness. Could he be an ally?

I do love a good thriller, so I’ll let you know how I like this one.

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The Girl with all the Gifts by M. R. Carey

I remember hearing about this one a while ago, it has a really fascinating premise and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Mark Lawrence (of Prince of Thorns fame) has actually given if 5 stars on Goodreads, so I’m looking forward to this one.

I’m not sure if this is a spoiler, but I read a review that says it’s a zombie book, the little girl, Melanie, is infected and kept in a prison/science lab to be tested as they hope her blood will lead to a cure. I don’t know how far into the book you find this out, so I might have completely spoiled you – sorry! I’ll pop a review up of this one as well when I’m done, I have high hopes for it as it was quite widely publicised when it was released and has lots of positive reviews.

So, there you have it – my library book haul. Increasing my current TBR to 9 paperbacks and five audiobooks…excuse me while I go and build a fort in my spare bedroom and not come out for six months. I’m sure my husband will bring me food, and the dog will probably keep me company.

Have you read any of these? Loved them? Loathed them? Tell me in the comments, and I’ll be back with some reviews soon!

Lyndsey

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Current word count (second draft): 28,954

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Phew! That was a bit of a whirlwind read, I haven’t read a paperback that fast in months, especially when I’m not even on holiday.

I’m a bit late to the party with this one, but if you haven’t read The Girl on the Train yet, here’s my little review. It’s a tense, twisty roller coaster of a book where no one comes out unscathed, and I loved it! I went in knowing relatively little, I wanted to read the book before watching the film, so if you want to avoid knowing too much, don’t read on. I try not to include spoilers, but this is one book where you’re best off starting with absolutely no idea what will happen.

If spoilers don’t scare you, read on!

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4 stars

In a nutshell, Rachel takes the same train into London at 8:04am every morning, and back to Ashbury every evening where she rents a room from an old friend. On the way she passes Witney station, and the house she used to share with her ex-husband before their divorce, two years ago.

The train usually stops at a signal, allowing Rachel to spend a few minutes looking into the back gardens of the houses by the tracks, including her old home. A few doors down, a young, attractive couple are often sitting on their roof terrace or patio drinking coffee, and Rachel likes to imagine who they are and what they might do for work, etc. One day, she sees the wife with another man, and a few days later she sees an article in a newspaper stating that the woman has been reported missing. Feeling like she knows these people after months of watching them from the train window, and knowing that suspicion usually falls on the husband when a woman goes missing, she decides to tell the police and the husband that his wife was having an affair.

The thing is, Rachel is an alcoholic. And she’s been harassing her ex-husband and his new wife for over a year. When Anna, the new Mrs Watson, sees Rachel on the day of the missing woman’s disappearance, she reports it to the police, and as a result Rachel becomes embroiled in the investigation. Suffering from blackouts caused by her heavy drinking, Rachel remembers being outside her old home on that night, she remembers an argument and having blood on her hands, but nothing else.

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I’ll leave it at that for fear of giving too much away, but suffice it to say this was a book filled with twists and turns, an unreliable narrator who can’t remember crucial events, and a supporting cast of very flawed, complex characters, none of which are completely innocent.

I’m giving it four stars because I really enjoyed it, I was gripped and got through it quite quickly, but there were some slightly frustrating parts. It wasn’t a completely satisfying read for this reason. I feel like the climax could have been even more tense and exciting as the whole book built up towards it and I was so ready to find out what really happened by the end.

I really enjoyed the writing style, it’s written almost like diary entries from the points of view of Rachel, Anna (Rachel’s ex’s new wife) and the woman who is missing, herself. We see the day-to-day run up to ‘that night’ and the aftermath from Rachel, with the occasional counter from Anna, and the events that lead up to it over the course of the last year from the missing woman.

I loved seeing the story from all three sides, each woman was completely different – they were all such fully formed and layered characters, each with their own traits and flaws. Hawkins is a brilliant writer, the story is well crafted, and I found the pacing was just slow enough for me to be desperate for more every time I read, but satisfied with what I had discovered so far.

If you like a good thriller, you’ll love The Girl on the Train. Even if you saw the film and weren’t convinced, I’ve heard it’s nowhere as good as the book and that they changed a few things – I’ll have to watch it now to compare!

Go and get the book, and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Lyndsey

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PS. Paula Hawkins has a new book coming out soon, Into the Water, and it sounds just as suspenseful and thrilling as The Girl on the Train!

I am a member of the Book Depository affiliate program, so if you click through and buy any of the books mentioned in this blog I might make a little commission, but I am not paid to review books and all reviews are my own opinions!

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Currently Reading:

Paperback

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

I just started reading this last night and only managed the prologue so far as I was really tired, but I love a good fairy tale retelling so I’m anticipating enjoying this one. I ran a Twitter poll to see what I should pick up next and this won so there are lots of you out there who loved it!

Audiobook

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I am so in love with this book! I’ve enjoyed everything by Ms. Stiefvater that I’ve read so far, I’ve got The Raven Boys lined up on Audible next and I know that’s most people’s favourite of her series, so I’m really excited to get stuck in, especially after loving this one. The voice actors who play Puck and Sean are absolutely fantastic, they really bring the characters and the whole world she has created to life. I’ll do a review of this when I’m finished as it’s a standalone and I honestly can’t praise it enough!

Second draft word count: 11,066

(I’m about 1/7th through my second draft and it’s going really well so far, keep your fingers crossed for me! I’m writing a post about second drafts so I’ll be sharing that soon.)