勢いに乗ってHannah Swensen シリーズ第8作目、間髪入れず読み始め無事に読了致しました。
さて、今回の本についてですが、冒頭は面白かったです。前作の直後からストーリーが始まり、MikeとNorman二人がHannahの下す決断のプレッシャーに耐え切れずnervous breakdown を起こしかねない状況でLake Eden の住人たち、特にMikeとNormanに直接関わる人たちはよってこぞって「早く決断を下せ、いい加減この状況に終止符を打ってくれ」とHannahを責め立てます。（まぁ気持ちは分からんでもない；そもそも二股をかけ続けるHannah自体が理解できんｗ）
率直な今作の感想としては「中身の割に長くない？」でした。こちらの本は多分400ページ近くあります。先ほども書いたとおり、冒頭から30％位にかけてはむっちゃ面白い！と思った記憶とメモが残っています。Mike, Norman に加え新たなLove interest?? が投入され、ただでさえこじれている恋愛関係がさらにもつれてしまい、いい感じでヤキモキさせられました。
I initially gave this book 3.75 stars, but thinking long and hard, enumerating what was good and what was not that good about this book, I decided to change my rating. I ducked 0.75 stars from my original rating and settled with 3 stars and here are reasons why:
1. Length: I personally found this book could have been much shorter. Don't get me wrong, the story per se is entertaining. In particular, the addition of new character, Ross was especially positively unexpected and added a lot of excitement and intrigues to the book. The movie plot was also well-incorporated and interesting. So, I did enjoy the story itself.
That said though, as I said earlier, the whole story could have wrapped up in less than 300 pages, possibly less than 250 pages at tops. This is quite unusual with Fluke, but I did find there were A LOT OF what I perceived as unnecessary descriptions in this book. You don't need 3 to 4 pages of descriptions on how wonderfully Delores and Carrie set up the movie set UNLESS it integrates either romance or mystery in the scene as far as I'm concerned, and I thought there were an awful lot of such scenes in this book. This is reason number 1.
2. Verbosity: this correlates closely with reason 1, and I know I'm practically saying the same thing as I did with reason 1, but yes, I have to say this again: I felt this book is pretty much filled with unnecessarily long descriptions and I'd even go out on a limb to say that the whole story involving the mystery was stretched far too thin just to make it a full length book. This could have been more brisk, short and sweet if such descriptions had been trimmed. This is reason number 2.
3. Status quo: lastly, the whole "going-back-to-status quo" plot. This is a kind of a letdown. I was expecting some developments in this book in the romantic department, yet it was brought back to square one. Then what was the point of throwing Ross in the game?? Just an attempt to make reader go crazy and positively frustrated so that they would pick up the next book? In addition, what the heck is that analogy likening the three men to cookies?
Those might work with some hardcore fans of this series including me. Heck, I've already bought the next 10 books thus there's no way for me not to read the next installment, yet I believe some readers could be disgusted and disappointed by this obvious attempt to keep readers hanging in the air.
As I mentioned earlier in my review, the story per se is not as bad as I made it out to be, I enjoyed following what would happen between Hannah and Ross, and the whodunit mystery involving the murder of the movie crew as well as episodes with townspeople in Lake Eden. I love the warm and cozy vibe that a close-knit community Lake Eden has, I'll probably pick up the next book as well.
Nevertheless, it pains me to say this book kind of fizzled out as far as I'm concerned - this book started off really strong, making me frustrated and anxious to know whatever happens to the romantic triangle among Hannah, Mike, Norman and Ross, but as I went deeper into the book, the story became a bit blurred, extended and expanded a bit too thin and I ended up feeling there wasn't as much meat in this book as I initially anticipated. If this series is only going in this direction in terms of the length and descriptions, I am not 100% sure if I can be patient enough to be a faithful reader and stick with this series.
Delectable, cozy, indeed. But this book was a bit too long for me.