Sunday, 8 June 2014

Review: Flashes by Tim O'Rourke

Huge thanks to Chicken House for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Flashes is the first in a new series of YA paranormal crime novels in which a 17-year-old girl cannot help seeing glimpses of dead people who seem to want her aid - much to the consternation of her boyfriend, who has just started work for the local CID.
This review is for the full paperback version rather than the three separate releases.

I think I am in the minority when I say that I really didn’t enjoy ‘Flashes’. It’s an exciting premise, and Charley had the potential to be a truly fascinating character, but unfortunately what was a brilliant idea never really took off for me.

The biggest problem was the obviousness of the plot, within the first twenty odd pages I had already worked out who the killer was, and whenever a large plot point like that is obvious it ruins my enjoyment of the rest of the book.

The second problem was the flatness of the characters. I wanted to like them, I wanted to feel involved, and Charley had the potential to be a fantastic heroine. Unfortunately the characters never felt fully realized, whether due to the length of the book or the concentration on the mystery elements I am not entirely sure.

It just didn’t sit quite right with me. The dialogue was awkward, particularly between any female characters where it felt contrived and stereotyped. The characters never really came alive from the page, and where it could have been saved by the plot it fell again by, in my opinion, making the villain of the story far too obvious from the start.

The idea was fantastic, and the tension at points was brilliantly done, which makes me wonder whether if I had read this story in the original three parts instead of all at once, whether I would have enjoyed it more.

If you’re after a quick, paranormal crime to read then I do definitely recommend giving this a go, because it has had a good reception from most. However I personally didn’t find it to be as good as I had expected from the blurb and felt let down by the characterization and plot.

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