Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Review: Beautiful Malice

Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

Pages: 304, paperback

ISBN: 9781742373003

Publisher: Allen and Unwin

Date Released: May 1st, 2010

Genre: YA / romance / thriller / mystery / contemporary

Source: library

Katherine has moved away from her shattered family to start afresh in Sydney. There she keeps her head down until she is befriended by the charismatic, party-loving Alice, who brings her out of her shell. But there is a dark side to Alice, something seductive yet threatening. And as Katherine learns the truth about Alice, their tangled destinies spiral to an explosive and devastating finale.

An intense and addictive psychological thriller
Buy it now from The Book Depository

It was hard for me to decide if I had liked this book or not. At first, the writing was awkward and annoying. It mostly consisted of the tortured inner monologue of the main character, Katherine. There isn't much action, and far too often, there's the painful scrutinising over the same details, hammering it into the readers head that her sister is dead and that Katherine is suffering greatly for it. At first, it was interesting, but 130 pages in, and it's been repeated about forty times. Ugh. It started to get boring, and I had very little sympathy for her.

There is little plot, just Katherine hanging out with her friends, Alice and Robbie, doing random things. After about 100 pages, the idea that there's next to no plot makes it okay, since there is a great deal of character growth, for all of the main characters.

Katherine, I couldn't find myself liking, mostly because after being stuck in her head for 300 pages, I grew tired of her inner monologue repeating how life-changing her sisters death was every few pages. Yes, Katherine, we know that it hurts and it sucks. No need to tell us so often.

Alice, I have mixed feelings about. She's very contradictory, doesn't have a stable personality, and is the kind of person that I wouldn't want to involve myself with. BUT, despite all that, while we get to know her, we see what really goes on in her head. She's a manipulative bitch (and I use this term sparingly, but really, she is one), who only lives to cause trouble for others. It's this bitchiness that makes her character so interesting, and she fuels the story. Everything that goes wrong is done by her hand. And believe me, a lot of things go wrong in this story.

Finally, Robbie. He sort of read more like a middle-aged woman's wet dream than a sexy 20 year old. Half the time, he's described as being sensitive and having tears in his eyes, and it's just pathetic seeing him like this. He's emotional to the point where he barely contributes much to the story.

Now, this story found a place in my heart for two reasons:
1, it's a story about rape and loss, and dealing with that loss. Katherine is bothered by guilt that it's HER fault that her sister was raped and killed, which shows that it's not just the rape victims themselves that are affected.
2, it's also about betrayal, and learning to cope with this betrayal, even if it means having to do it alone.

As the story progressed, and as Katherine found herself having to deal with Alice's horrible ways--which include the death of someone she deeply cares for--the story becomes gripping, as we delve into the past and find out what really happened back at the party that Katherine's sister was drugged at, leading to her rape. And we find out why Alice is so intent on destroying Katherine's life, though her reasons mightn't be completely logical or moral.

Cover Art: 4
Plot: 2
Characters: 5
Writing: 3
Level of Interest: 4

Total Rating: 4/5 stars

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