Well.. This ones been highly anticipated… Named ‘The most shocking thriller you’ll read this year’ compared to the likes of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Paula Hawkins The Girl on the Train. Let me start by saying that this is not the case. Gone Girl is without a doubt a superior novel for one and for two Maestra just doesn’t have any of the intrigue and mystery which surrounds the other two novels and to be honest I’m not even sure I’d describe it as a thriller.
Thriller – a novel, play or film with an exciting plot, usually featuring crime or espionage.
Ok so there’s crime. But there’s certainly no mystery to it. Far from it in fact, with the first person narration from the main character Judith ‘Lauren’ Rashleigh it’s impossible not to know exactly whose committing the crimes as well as where, when and how.
The first question I’d like to answer is did I actually like this book? Well the answers not as simple as yes or no. I was excited to read it don’t get me wrong and I can’t say I was exactly disappointed but being lead to believe it was on Flynn’s level was admittedly a let down. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good book, it was ok and I didn’t hate it, the writing style wasn’t too bad but it wasn’t a novel I couldn’t put down. I read it in short bursts on the train and before bed and didn’t feel the need to think about it or the urge to pick it up at any other time.
So what didn’t I like? Well firstly the main character. Judith is a strange character, I see where the idea came from but that doesn’t mean I understood it. So firstly when we meet her she’s little more than a dogsbody at a famous art gallery in London pretty much picking up dry cleaning and other odd jobs nobody else wants to do. This is despite her Oxbridge degree and her extensive knowledge from travelling through Italy and Paris. There doesn’t seem to be anything special about her ‘next to Mercedes I looked like a depressed cow’ but as the novel progresses it turns out she’s in to all kinds of things. I guess that was my main issue with it as well, time seemed to move too rapidly one minute she was doing one thing and then a whole chunk of time had passed by with no warning and I found myself skipping back through pages to make sure I’d not accidentally missed something.
One minute she’s the innocent assistant almost being raped by a lechy old man and the next she’s having sex with clients ‘I hadn’t met her; she had been visiting her sister in Bath, which was perhaps just as well, given what Tiger could do with a riding crop.’ Is her callous comment after speaking to a potential clients wife on the phone. Then she’s at some sex party involved in a threesome with a man and a woman ‘I bent down to kiss her, taking her tongue, slightly sour with champagne into my mouth’.
There’s just no warning for it and not in a good way it’s as if these are things you should have known already and they don’t make sense. As if your reading the second book in a series. It’s as if the author tried to do two things at once.
- Produce a cute little Oxbridge student badly treated in her job who ends up bumping into an old school friend and becoming a sort of escort in a tacky champagne bar to make ends meet on her crummy flat.
- At the same time a femme fatale who attends sex parties and will literally kill for what she wants.
It’s just too far fetched. It’s full of sex, too much sex really. I am by no means a prude but when a guy sticks a finger in her ass and tells her to smell his finger ‘you smell like oysters’ I sicked a little bit in my mouth. Add that to when he pulls ‘a gossamer thread of cum’ from her vagina and puts it in his mouth and I was full on gipping. Just nasty.
Judith’s crimes go unnoticed seemingly and she travels across the world with her own identity with nobody picking up on it bouncing from place to place and sex party to sex party. The whole book is focuses on fashion and fifty shades style sex with a little murder thrown in. In fact I’m finding the more I write about it the more I realise I didn’t actually enjoy it at all.
The other thing with Judith is that she’s impossible to like, and not even in a way that you think well you could hate her like Amy Dunne she’s just someone you couldn’t care less about. Not likeable not unlikeable. She’s a WAG style girl hanging on the arms of rich men with her Flicky hair and designer clothes but she’s also Oxbridge educated, speaks more than one language and is smart she doesn’t fit in to any category and while we’d love people like that in person, in a book you want a character the readers relate to. Even the title doesn’t make sense ‘Maestra’ female version of Maestro meaning composer, conductor and teacher. She’s an art dealer come prostitute come femme fatale nothing to do with music or teaching at all.
A low 3 stars for me I’m afraid and I hear they’re making the movie already…