Book Review: The Book of Lies

The Book of Lies

Mary Horlock

Harper Perennial

368 pages

I should’ve told the truth from the start, but the truth is slippery, like soap in the bath.

Cat Rozier is your average teenager, in the sense that she rarely tells the truth.  Ok, ok, so maybe that is a little harsh, but I keep hearing Judge Judy in my ear harping about how you know a teenager is lying when their mouth is moving.  But I digress . . .

Cat has done a horrible thing.  She murdered her best friend Nic by pushing her off a cliff.  No one realizes it’s a murder, and it is assumes that Nic either committed suicide or accidentally fell from the cliff after imbibing in too much alcohol.  Meanwhile, Cat has made it very clear that you can’t really trust anything she has to say

I was aware, as I was saying it, that I’d got the facts slightly muddled, but I didn’t like to backtrack.

An unreliable narrator is something I usually enjoy, and I appreciated it in this instance but by the end of the book, I was starting to get irritated by Cat.  She and Nic had really bad attitudes, and their maliciousness towards one another, as well as toward their peers, disgusted me.  It was very realistic, so in the end, I though the author excelled, but Cat’s lack of growth by the end of the novel made it a bit much. I still didn’t know what to believe, so even though there seemed to be closure, I couldn’t tell if I was supposed to take it seriously.

The Book of Lies was a duel narrative, with the other portion of the book telling the story of Cat’s uncle, Charles Rozier, mostly through a manuscript but also through personal letters.  The book takes place on the island of Guernsey, and Charles’s story took place during the Nazi occupation.  Charles was a teenager who put his family in grave danger due to his naivety, but as his story unfolds and more facts come to light and it gave me much cause for reflection.

The occupation story bored me at first, and I was always anxious to get back to Cat’s narrative.  Probably about 3/4 of the way through, that all changed, and I was voracious for Charles’s story.  I wish there had been a bit more balance in that sense, and that I would have enjoyed each portion throughout!

I think The Book of Lies is a great debut, and although it had its flaws, it was a remarkable story.

Other Reviews:

Bibliophile by the Sea

Book Addiction

Jenn’s Bookshelves

I received an e-copy of this book via NetGalley.


7 Responses

  1. This sounds like a story I would love since I really enjoy unreliable narrators. (Thanks for linking to me, but The Book of Lies I reviewed was by a different author.)

  2. I don’t usually like unreliable narrators, but I thought it worked here. I really liked the book even though I would have preferred more closure. I’ve linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

  3. I’ve read a few reviews by folks who were cool toward this book, too, despite the neat premise. I’ve got in my TBR but probably won’t rush to read it.

  4. I just downloaded an e-copy of this from my local library and I am SO excited to dive into it. Call me crazy, but I love liars! 😉

  5. Hmmm. Unreliable can be good…up to a certain point. Sounds like the book needed more resolution, though.

  6. I have just started reading this one and so far I’m intrigued enough to keep going. Looking forward to seeing whether or not I agree with your review!!

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