Monday, June 23, 2014

ARC Mini-Review: Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn


Title: Complicit

Author: Stephanie Kuehn

Rating: 3 Stars

Release Date: June 24th, 2014

Kuehn's Charm & Strange burst upon my radar like a splash of color, surprising me not only with its vivid portrayal of psychological illness but also with its all-too-real characterization, forcing my heart into the story. Complicit, on the other hand, is far too emotionally jarring. While its premises is fascinating, I felt starkly removed from the novel until the last quarter. Jamie, our protagonist, is battling a sea of problems in Complicit, most notably that his older sister is finally out of jail. Crazy Cate, as his sister is called, is after Jamie with the sole intent that he know the truth; the truth about their dead mother, the truth about their past, and the truth about her crimes. Jamie and Cate are adopted and the journey Jamie undertakes to discover as much as he can about his mother, all while battling the anxiety disorders he lives through, pull at our heartstrings. While the synopsis of this tale makes the plot twist at the end abundantly clear, Jamie's voice is endearing and, as readers, we cannot help but root for him as he rummages for the truth in his memories.

Yet, despite this seeming connection, the bulk of Complicit felt too slow, too dull, and simply couldn't keep my attention. While Charm & Strange had me utterly engrossed, Kuehn's latest found me mentally checking out from time to time, eager to complete this story but lacking the motivation to barrel through. Despite the fact that it's a short novel, it feels long. Nevertheless, that hurdle aside, the ending of this story still manages to be explosive. Like I mentioned before, the synopsis of this novel hints at the reveal towards the end, but though I thought I had it all figured out, the minute details of what I didn't know made all the difference. What's more, the last few pages of this novel are haunting; chilling to the bone. Kuehn never fails to leave her readers with so much to contemplate, digest, and carefully think through. Like any good psychological thriller, Complicit does, eventually, get into your head.

Although Kuehn's latest did not enthrall me to the extent her debut did, it manages to remain a testament to her skill, knowledge, and prowess as a writer of both contemporary fiction and the male perspective. I cannot wait to see what she has up her sleeve next.

You can enter to win a hardcover of both Complicit and Charm & Strange HERE.

15 comments:

  1. Ack, that doesn't sound good at all, which is too bad because I really liked the sound of this one.

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  2. It's got to be so hard to follow up a stellar debut like Charm & Strange. The pressure to write a story that's as intriguing has got to be enormous! Too bad this one didn't quite work as well as you'd hoped. Slow and dull are not good things.

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  3. I really enjoyed Kuehn's Charm & Strange! It was certainly a different and refreshing change of a psychological thriller with a hint of paranormal. I didn't know she had another book in the pipeline. It certainly does hold me interest so I will make sure I will look out for this one. Lovely mini review, Keertana! :)

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  4. This book seems to be inspiring a wide variety of responses which of course only makes me more curious to read it. I'm a little concerned about the slowness you mentioned though, I do struggle with books that crawl instead of run, but I'm glad the ending made up for a lot of the book's faults up until that point. Lovely review Keertana!

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  5. I haven't read her debut, but I am curious now. Sorry you didn't enjoy Complicit as much. I actually really liked it. It was easy to guess in places, but I did find the end very shocking.

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  6. I'm not sure I'll check this out. I don't really like slow books. lovely review ;)

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  7. I'm not sure Complicit is for me, even though I am loving that cover. I definitely plan on reading Charm & Strange sometime soon, as it waits for me on my bookshelf, but this synopsis just doesn't seem to intrigue me as much as that one. And after reading that you found this one to be a slow read, well, I just don't think this is my type of book. Great review, Keertana!

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  8. Hmm, I recently read this one and I actually thought it was so intriguing and I couldn't put it down! I guess it really depends on the reader, because I was hooked the entire time and felt like the novel flew by. I agree with you on the ending though, Kuehn does SUCH a good job making it chilling! I'll have to check out Charm & Strange since I enjoyed Complicit so much. Great review, Keertana!

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  9. Shoot. Dull is never good. Still you have me convinced to try this author. I really might have to read Charm and Strange. :)

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  10. Ha! I have been wondering about this one. I have never read Stephanie Kuehn but heard lots of good about her previous novel. I think I'll wait before getting to it!

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  11. Dull reading is never good. And yet, I've just read another review where the reader was totally taken with this book. Hmmm… I don't know.

    Great review, Keertana!

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  12. Sounds too harsh and dark for me. If its going to be dark, give me horror...

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  13. I find it interesting that an author can really get it right with one novel then lose a little steam with the next. I like darker novels, which intrigues me about this, but I'm not sure I'm convinced. Thanks for your honest take on it, Keertana!

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  14. Aw, I'm sorry this one didn't end up having quite the same effect on you that Charm & Strange had, Keertana! Still, though, it sounds like a powerful novel - perhaps the sort of novel you would have appreciated a fraction of a bit more if you hadn't been so blown away by the first book? I admit I haven't really read the premise of this one, although the vague tidbits I do know sound interesting. I do think I'm going to make an effort to read Kuehn - but at this point, I'll stick with her debut.

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